Genesis 22:1-8 (NIV2011) 1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.  2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”  3Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.  4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”  6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,  7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Sometimes clues in a scavenger hunt can be difficult to understand, and even confusing, causing you to go in a wrong direction until you realize that you made a mistake.  Isaac was Abraham and his wife Sarah’s only son, born through a promise from God.  Now things begin to get confusing. God asked Abraham to take his only son and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. How can God’s promise be fulfilled if Isaac dies? Abraham, through faith that manifests itself in obedience, took Isaac and followed through on what God had instructed him to do.

  As Isaac walked with his father, he looked at the clues and was unable to make sense of them. He saw the wood, the fire, the knife, but he did not see an animal to sacrifice. He asked, “Where is the lamb?” At times, clues can be confusing.

Abraham answered Isaac, “God will provide.”  Faith, at times, faces the impossible. The disciples could not understand how Jesus could become the Messiah if he were to die. God provided a lamb to take Isaac’s place so that the promise could be fulfilled. Isaac would grow old and have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and on and on. 

God provides the lamb for our sins - Jesus. Only God could pay the price for our sins. A perfect sacrifice was needed, and no one is perfect.  Jesus, fully God and fully human, born from woman (Mary), was able to die in our place and rise from the dead because He Himself was without sin and could pay the price of our sin.

When we celebrate a birthday, which we are doing when we celebrate Christmas, we usually are thankful for the past and we look to the future. As you prepare for Christmas this year don’t let the clues confuse you. You are celebrating the birth, life, death and life of Jesus, God with us. 

Memory Verse:  2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.