Gen 22:13-14, And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
II Samuel 22:50, Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
Abraham’s worship was compelling. We are not left to wonder if he was serious about his engagement with the Almighty. As he stood on Mount Moriah to offer his son, his sacrifice, obedience, fear, and faith make it obvious. Yet, there is one more attribute that defines his worship, a mark that is born of the previous four – Thanksgiving.
This loving father left that mountain different than when he arrived. No doubt his contenance must have conveyed the magnitude of the event. His intense brow, set jaw, and quivering chin, proceededing from a fixed, but breaking heart; had been replaced by a jubilant expression, and a triumphant spirit. The lines of sober contemplation which had previously marked his determined old face had been erased by the goodness of his loving, and all wise God. He had been refreshed, and his joy was uncontainable.
What could be the occasion of such joy, and solicit the thanksgiving of a once broken hearted father? Nothing, but a substitute!
As this resolute father raised his trembling arm, with knife in hand, a personal call came from heaven, saying, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do anything unto him.” Then looking up he saw it. It was behind him. Behold, a ram! A ram caught in a thicket by his horns; a divinely provided substitutionary sacrifice. While Abraham was worshipping the Holy One through personal sacrifice, behind him, God was providing. While he was worshipping through unreserved obedience, in a thicket, God was providing. While he worshipped the Almighty in fear and trembling, near by, God was providing. And, while he worshipped in faith, fully trusting God for the resurrection of his son, and the fulfilling of his promises; unbeknownst to him, God was providing. Hallelujah! As testimony to God’s faithfulness, and declaration of his thankfulness for God’s provision; Abraham named the place Jehovahjireh, meaning, “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”
This providential gift, this divinely appointed sacrifice, would be offered upon the same stones where Isaac had once lain; an altar that was built upon the unhewn foundational stones of sacrifice, obedience, fear, and faith. For, if Abraham’s worship had not been offered, in this way; no provision would have been supplied, and no testimony of thanksgiving given (Gen. 22:12).
Dear Christian, is your thankfulness to God lacking? Have you become bitter and critical? Do you feel neglected by God and others? Do you feel forsaken and alone? Are you discouraged and unhappy? Has your enthusiasm for sharing Christ with others been diminished? Most of us have been there, haven’t we? If, we would ask the Lord to help us retrace our steps, I believe we would discover a great truth. The problem is not rooted in God’s faithfulness to provide, but in our unwillingness to build the right kind of altar or to build an altar at all. Are our altars of worship built upon personal sacrifice, obedience, fear, and faith? If they are not, we are removing ourselves from God’s special provision; and are trying to achieve by some other means God’s divine blessings. In essence, we’re robbing ourselves of the joys that invoke and promote thankfulness. Our own disobedience shackles us in unthankfulness.
May the God of heaven forgive us for our lack of true worship, and deliver us from our bonds of unthankfulness by the power of our heavenly, substitutionary sacrifice, the Lamb of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Pastor Brooks Suttle
Royal River Baptist Church