THE THORN-CROWNED RAM
“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, ‘The Lord Will Provide’. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’”
Abraham in the Bible was known as, “The Friend of God.” He walked with God and they would speak together. One day, as recorded in Genesis 22, God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son (named Isaac) on Mount Moriah. Imagine Abraham’s grief as he trudged up that mountain with a knife and with wood and fire. As they walked, Isaac spoke, “Father, the wood and fire are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And in verse 8 of Genesis 22, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” When they reached the place of sacrifice, the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, saying, “Do not lay a hand on the boy; do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” And then, as recorded in our focus scripture, Abraham saw the ram, immobilized with its horn caught in a tangled thicket of thorns. This became the sacrifice in the place of Isaac, Abraham’s son.
1. Why do you think God sometimes asks us to sacrifice things, both good and bad, to Him? What does it mean to “sacrifice” something to God?
2. Describe what Abraham must have felt like as he trudged up Mount Moriah with Isaac that day. Why is it sometimes hard to go God’s will? Why should we do God’s will, even in the hard times?
3. God did not allow Abraham’s son to be harmed but provided a ram as a substitute sacrifice. Does God provide a substitute for us today to keep us from harm? (Hint: Read Matthew 8:17; Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:6).
1. HAVE FAITH! “God is too wise to be mistaken. He is too good to be unkind. So, even when you cannot trace His hand, you can trust God’s heart.” (Charles Spurgeon)
2. DO HARD THINGS! It is not in the easy things that our faith is proven. But instead, we prove our faith in obedience to the difficult things we are called to do.
3. ACCEPT GOD’S SACRIFICE. God has provided a sacrifice to free you from sin, guilt, obligation, death, and hell. And that sacrifice is His Son, Jesus Christ. Receive Him, follow Him, and accept His sacrifice for you.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you gave up everything to come down from heaven in order to love me, to serve me, and to sacrifice your life for me. But unlike you, I sometimes lose heart when asked to sacrifice myself and my desires. So, please give me Abraham’s faith and courage to trust you, even in the hard times. And help me to follow your Spirit to give me courage, to follow your Word to give me direction, and to embrace your Son as my substitution, taking my sins and punishment upon Yourself. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”