So God is going to climb inside Abraham’s world and speak sacrifice, appeasement, and magic. Because that’s the language Abraham knows.
So what’s one of the first things God tells Abraham? “Sacrifice your son.” See we have a little bit of an advantage because we can step outside of this process for Abraham. We can stand on the other side of Jesus and we can look right back through Jesus, and through the prophets and we can go, “Ok, we’ve got the bigger picture here. And, guess what. God hates sacrifice.”
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt-offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats. (Isaiah 1:11)
Daniel, “there’s one coming who will put an end to sacrifice.” So we know from our perspective that, no matter what’s going on back there, we know something about God, he hates sacrifice.
Yeah but he set up a whole system. He did it because the people wanted it. He let them have a king too.
At Mt. Sinai, God invited everybody up to have a big party. And they said, “No.” And they stuck Moses out there and created a priesthood. God says, “You don’t want relationship, you want law, oh boy. I got a few for you.”
Hasn’t it bothered you that when God says “Kill your son,” Abraham says “Ok”? Like, what kind of human being are you? I hope that when God says to you, “Kill your son,” you say, “Hell no.” Because this is wrong. But Abraham doesn’t know that. His whole world is about sacrifice. And guess what the highest order of sacrifice is – a child.
We are surrounded by sacrificial systems. We have just civilized them to the point where we can justify them.
Abraham’s world is full of sacrifice which is why he doesn’t object. He goes along with it. For three days Isaac lies dead in Abraham’s heart. And Hebrews says, in reference to this passage that, by faith Abraham did this because he thought one of two things was going to happen. Either God was going to give him a new boy or resurrect the one that he killed.
When Abraham goes to sacrifice his son, God says, “Stop.”
Consistently when God tries to move you from B to C there is a revelation of the character and nature of God which changes everything you think about yourself and the world. And a lot of times it happens in the Hebrew Scriptures with God saying, “Let me tell you something new about myself that you did not know, and here’s one of them.”
This is the first time this word is used in the Hebrew Scriptures. At this point it says, “And Abraham discovered that God was Jehovah Jira, the God who provides.”
And this is what God says, “Abraham if you need a sacrifice, I will sacrifice myself. But let’s get this straight right from the beginning, I do not require the sacrifice of children.” That’s what that story is about. This is a God who hates sacrifice but is going to climb into our religion and its assumptions and dismantle it from the inside out.
When Jesus is sacrificed it is not to appease to God; it is not sinners in the hands of an angry God, it is God in the hands of angry sinners.