13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns.
Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son.
14 So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’;
as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’
Last week we ended looking at tall majestic trees like the Cedars of Lebanon that were used to build the Temple in Jerusalem. We remembered Abraham sitting under a tree with three visitors who confirmed that Sarah would have a son by the same time the following year, a miracle worth laughing at, a dream come true
Abraham did have a son the next year. He was named Isaac which means “laughter” because Sarah had laughed as she listened to the men talking about her getting pregnant. Isaac grew to the delight of his parents but God visited Abraham and told him to take his son to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice him. Child sacrifices were common in other religions then and Abraham started to Mt. Moriah with Isaac. Mt. Moriah was later known as Calgary where Christ was crucified. Abraham tied Isaac to an altar he made and was about to sacrifice him when God told him to stop. In the thicket was a ram caught that became the sacrifice.
We, of course, cannot prove the historical accuracy of the story but it is an important part of the Biblical narrative. Not only does it pre-shadow the cross and God’s provision for our sin, our separation from Him. It also speaks to times when we feel like God is testing us to see if we will obey his commands. Our “test” may not be as dramatic as Abraham’s test with his son but we run in to situations daily that cause us to reflect on what is most important in our lives. As my oldest children approached learning to drive, I often had witnesses check out my speedometer to see if I was obeying the posted signs and chirping up if I went too fast. I have also finished ringing up my bill at Walmart and paid only to discover something in the bottom basket I had forgotten to include. I could pop it in a bag but….
Perhaps we think God’s solution should appear like a tall tree, a Cedar of Lebanon, where God obviously gets the credit. But I suspect God’s solution often comes in thickets in our life where we don’t see a solution at first but then God opens our eyes. There is a ram in the thicket that resolves our dilemma. This week may our eyes be opened to remember all the times God provides a ram to resolve our dilemmas and may we praise God as our provider!