Genesis 087 – God’s Ultimate Provision (CC available in video settings)

Genesis 087 – God’s Ultimate Provision (CC available in video settings)
Genesis 22:11-14 • Dr. Andy Woods • July 31, 2022 • Genesis


Genesis 087

God’s Ultimate Provision

Genesis 22:11-18

July 31, 2022

Dr. Andy Woods

            Good morning, everybody. Happy last Sunday in July. It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost over. But I know we still have August. Let’s take our Bibles this morning and open them to the book of Genesis chapter 22 and verse 11. The title of our message this morning is God’s Ultimate Provision. His ultimate provision. And as you know, we are continuing our verse-by-verse teaching through the book of Genesis, focusing as of late on the patriarch Abraham; because it’s through the patriarch Abraham that God is going to create there- Isaiah 43:1- He’s going to create Jacob or Israel. When God does a work, He selects an instrument. It’s sort of refreshing to see that the instruments that He selects aren’t perfect people, which means I can apply for the job. Amen? And so can you. He selected this man Abraham and dealt with Him over a period of time; because it’s through Abraham that we have Israel and it’s through the nation of Israel that we ultimately have Yeshua or Jesus Christ. We began last time studying Genesis chapter 22, which I think is one of the mountain peaks of Scripture. It takes you to the highest level and allows you to see the mind of God like very few areas of the Bible do. All scripture, of course, is God-breathed and profitable, but there’s really something very special and unique concerning Genesis 22, because it’s in Genesis 22 that God tests Abraham’s faith by essentially giving him a command that made absolutely no sense from the human perspective.

Abraham and Sarah had waited and waited and waited and waited upon the Lord. And the Lord made good on His promise eventually, because through them came Isaac. And Isaac is a really big deal because it’s through Isaac that the rest of the chain leading to Israel and ultimately leading to Jesus is going to be fulfilled. But we saw last week verses 1 through 10 where God then told Abraham after this promise had been fulfilled, that- I want you to leave Beersheba. I want you to travel to Moriah to a specific mountain that I will show you. And you’re going to take Isaac and you’re going to kill him as a sacrifice. I mean, it made no sense to him from the human perspective- the HVP, as we call it, the human viewpoint- because if you kill Isaac, you kill off the chain. Yet God promised that through Abraham, the Messiah would come. Abraham does something very interesting here. He puts aside human intellect. He puts aside human understanding. He puts aside human logic. He puts aside worldliness. He puts aside his own preferences and submits himself to the will of God the Father, travels to Mount Moriah, and reasons to himself- as the Book of Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us- that if I kill Isaac, God obviously is going to have to resurrect him from the dead, because God’s word cannot be broken.

So, in terms of the walk of Abraham by way of faith, it doesn’t get any higher than this. It doesn’t get any better than this, in terms of the trust that Abraham had in the revealed will of God. He had really nothing to trust in here- certainly not intellect, certainly not logic. But he had nothing to trust here other than God’s character and God’s promises. And he leaned completely on that. And just as he’s ready to plunge the knife, so to speak, into Isaac, God speaks. And God, we learn here, has provided a substitute. Verses 11 through 14. And so, as we work our way through this passage, here’s a fast outline that we’re going to be using, at least on these verses. But notice that God calls out to Abraham as he is about to sacrifice Isaac. It says in verse 11: “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.'” Abraham probably would be a little relieved at this point. Oh, is there another plan? The angel of the Lord calls Abraham. Abraham responds. We know that Abraham was blessed by God, going back to Genesis 12:2. God said to Abraham, I’ll bless you. And there are many blessings but one of those blessings is hearing the voice of God. This paragraph here I’ve used many times. It shows you the seven times prior to this chapter that Abraham heard God’s audible voice- and now here’s an eighth time.

God speaks up as Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac. God gives to Abraham a new set of instructions, recalibrating, in other words. Verse 12: “He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now, I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.'” It’s sort of interesting there, at the beginning of verse 12, God says, “For now I know.” Arnold Fruchtenbaum on this expression, “For now I know.” He says this: “Then God gave the reason: For now, I know that you fear God. God already knew this, but it was now known by experience.” What God knew would happen has now come into the personal experience of this man, Abraham. God is not shocked by this. God knew Abraham would respond in this way. “The evidence was: seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” Very, very sadly, what has developed in theological circles- and I saw this during my seminary days- is a movement called open theism, which is the idea that God really doesn’t know everything. God has to kind of sit around and wait for the results to see what we’re going to do. It’s a movement that I believe took hold at the Evangelical Theological Society in the early 2000s.

There’s a number of people that have reacted against it, including Dr. Wayne House, Dr. Norman Geisler, et cetera. And it’s a tragic movement because it calls into question God’s omniscience, as you’ll learn with most heresies that are promoted. It comes out of some kind of personal struggle that someone had. And in this particular case, one of the progenitors of this doctrine, open theism, had something tragic happen in his family concerning the death of a child. And he reasoned to himself that God must not have known that the child would die, or God would have stopped it. And so he developed this doctrine that God didn’t know it would happen. And what God sees according to open theism is the different possibilities, but He doesn’t know which door we’re going to take. Open theism. They will use passages like this to promote their doctrine. Where God says, “For now I know.” That’s why I appreciate Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s comment where he says God already knew this. God knew what was going to happen, but now it was known by experience. It’s now I know experientially, not intellectually. “The evidence was: seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me.” This was a test, not so much to determine God’s understanding of things, but it was a test for Abraham concerning his own heart. When it says, Now I know by experience, it’s Abraham’s experience. And we need not take passages like this and use them to shrink the omniscience and the omnipotence and the omnipresence of God.

Some have entitled this move into open theism, making God in man’s image. And man in his lost state always wants to do that, always wants to take God and somehow shrink Him to some sort of level that we can relate to better. And that’s where heresies and false teaching begin. Now God knows everything. God is not learning anything at all. It’s an experiential knowing. A lot of people also will argue from this that because Abraham was willing to do this, that now Abraham was a believer, that his faith suddenly was authentic. Once again, nothing could be further from the truth. Abraham was a believer and a saved individual long before the events of this chapter unfolded. When you go back to Genesis 15:6, seven chapters earlier, it says of Abraham, “he believed in the Lord; and [God] reckoned it to him as righteousness.” In fact, how long of a period exists between Genesis 15 and Genesis 22? I would contend that decades exist. Dr. Thomas Constable in his online notes says there’s twenty years between Genesis 15 and Genesis 22. None other than John Calvin himself, in his commentary, says there’s thirty years between Genesis 15 and Genesis 22. So don’t get the idea that Abraham suddenly got saved or Abraham became a believer at this point. He already was a believer. But what God did, is He put that faith, which was already in existence, through a test; not to determine whether the faith exists, but to determine the usefulness of that faith.

See, a person can be saved, be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the person trusts Christ for salvation, but they don’t trust Christ for ministry. They don’t trust Christ for finances. They don’t trust Christ amid trials and tribulations. And so, such a person, although they’re a believer, they really can’t be used by God because they have an existing faith but not a useful faith where God can actually use that person in such a way to be a blessing to other people. That’s sort of the condition that Abraham was in between Genesis 15 and Genesis 22. Oh, he was a believer. He was saved. He had he died during that time period, he would have gone right into the presence of the Lord. But you see, God had such a bigger plan for Abraham than his own personal salvation. He wanted to use this man to start a new nation which would ultimately lead to the person of Jesus Christ. And God here puts Abraham through a test to determine, not the existence of his faith- we know it already existed twenty or thirty years earlier- but in terms of its maturity. And that’s how to understand James 2:22-24. James, commenting on this event, says: “‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ and he was called the friend of God.”

Essentially, what happened to Abraham was not a sudden: “Okay, now I know you’re a believer.” But it was: “Now your faith has graduated to a point where you’re able to trust Me through the emergencies of life. You’re able to trust exactly everything I tell you to do, to the point where you’re willing to put aside your own understanding of things and rely completely upon My revealed will.” Now there’s a man I could use. And you have to understand something about your walk with the Lord; the Lord has much bigger plans for you than simply you trusting in Christ so you can go to heaven. Now, when that happens, that’s a glorious thing. That’s the most important thing that could ever happen in a person’s life. But you see, we have a tendency to think that that’s the end game. God says no, that’s just the beginning. I’m now going to ask you to walk with Me by faith and to trust Me through the problems of life so your faith can be matured to the point where it becomes productive, it becomes useful. It doesn’t mean you’re more saved. That can’t be altered. You can’t get an upgrade on being saved. But your faith has been purified. It’s been tested. It’s matured to the point where I can now start using your life for eternal purposes. And this is one of the reasons God, when you trust Christ, doesn’t immediately allow you to die and take you to heaven.

Now, some people, God allows that, but others of us- and you walk with God for days, months, weeks, years, decades where God seemingly sends you into problem after problem after problem, and you wonder, what is God doing with my life? Where is the Lord? Why is He allowing this to happen? He’s fitting you into the pattern of Abraham. He’s bringing you to a point of maturity where you can trust Him in any circumstance. And as you pass those tests- some pass, some don’t. But as we pass those tests- Abraham passed the test- now God says we can get around now to why I saved you to begin with; not just to get your soul to heaven, but I want to use your life as a spillover where it begins to bless other people. Abraham’s faith had become useful in that sense. Abraham had passed the test. And what was the test? Well at Mount Sinai 600 years later, God will tell the nation of Israel (Exodus 20:36-5), “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.”

One of the things you discover about God is he doesn’t like rivals. And one of the things that happens to us very easily when God blesses us is we worship the blessing rather than the blesser. To be completely frank with you, this happens in ministry all the time. Where you start to love the work of God more than the God of the work. And you start to get your self-image, your value by what you do. And what God will do with us in those circumstances is He will put us through a test where we have to make some sort of choice between what we do for God versus God. And only when we’re at a point where we’re passing that test are we at a point where God can use us. And as I am speaking these words, no doubt the Holy Spirit is surfacing many things in the minds of people who are worshiping their blessing rather than the blesser. It could be a career, it could be finances, it could be some kind of ability or talent that you have; and given the fact that God’s nature doesn’t change, I can guarantee you at some point you’re going to have to decide between that, whatever the blessing is, and God Himself. And only when we pass the test are we really in a position where God can now use us to be a blessing to other people.

I would encourage you to look at the issues in your life through that set of lenses. They’re just there to ascertain your level of faith. They’re not there to figure out if you’re a Christian. They’re there to figure out largely for our sake, rather than God’s sake, because He knows all things anyway. The test is more for us by way of experience. Where are we exactly in our walk with the Lord? Abraham passed the test. You’ll notice there in verse 12, towards the end, the Angel of the Lord makes a reference to Isaac being “your only son.” That’s a description given of Isaac back in verse 2. There it is in verse 12. You’ll run into it again in verse 16, same chapter. And every time I read that it always puts a question mark in my mind. What do you mean by “your only son?” He had another son- remember? – through Hagar, named Ishmael. Well, Isaac was God’s only son in the sense that he was the unique one. He was the one not born of human works. He was the one born of reliance upon divine promise. He was the one born- not of human manipulation, as Ishmael was born- he was the one born of waiting upon God and God working miraculously. And one of the things we’ve tried to trace as we’ve looked at this account of Isaac in Genesis 22 is how Isaac is a prefigurement of Jesus Christ.

In fact, the parallels are so many, it’s inarguable that Isaac in some way points towards Jesus Christ. We’re going to discover the same thing of the Joseph story in Genesis chapters 37 through 50; so many parallels that it’s undeniable that God worked through these individuals in such a way that they would point to the one who the whole Bible is about- Jesus Christ. We understand that- right? – the Bible is about Jesus. I mean, if you’re reading the Bible and you miss that point, you’ve missed the point of the Bible. That’s the problem with the Pharisees. I mean, they understood the Bible backwards and forwards, but they stumbled over its central message. The Old Testament is the anticipation of Jesus. The Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the manifestation of Jesus. The epistles that we have in our New Testament are the explanation of Jesus. And the Book of Revelation is the consummation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to get sidetracked sometimes into little intricacies and nuances, but let’s not forget who this is about. This book is about Jesus Christ. That’s what all of it’s about. And you see it happening here, even in this typology between Isaac and Jesus. Isaac is called the unique one. “My only son.” That’s a designation that describes Jesus Christ in John 1:14.

This is what is said of Jesus in John 1:14, “And the Word-” that’s Jesus- “became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Only begotten is a translation from the Greek word Monogenes; a compound word, two words making up a singular word. You’ll recognize in that the word mono-, as in Monopoly, one. And Guinness as in kind or species. A biology student recognizes that word. And you put the two together and it really is saying of Jesus, He’s one of a kind. I mean, there has never been anybody like Jesus. There will never, never, never, never be anyone like Him, after Jesus; He is one of a kind because He’s the unique God man. Ishmael had his promises and God’s love. But Isaac was different than Ishmael because Isaac is the child born miraculously of waiting upon the Lord. So God here gives some brand new instructions to Abraham there in verse 12, as we have studied. “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now, I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me.” Now we would expect God to give some new instruction, which He does in verse 12, because He has a brand-new provision that Abraham was unaware of described in verse 13. Look at verse 13. “Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him, a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.”

Do you think Isaac typifies Jesus? Of course, he does, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Because Isaac’s life is going to be spared because there’s another provision that God has made: the ram caught there in the thicket. What is a ram? A ram is a male sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus is portrayed in the Passover lamb which was a male sacrifice. Exodus 12:5 says: “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” So, you see tremendous Christology here in Isaac. But then the Christology goes into high gear where you learn that Isaac himself would be spared because of another provision that God here is going to make; this male sacrifice, this ram caught in the thicket. And notice very carefully, verse 13 of Genesis 22, which says: “and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.” Now, if you’re an underliner in the Bible, you should have “in the place of” underlined. Because that is profound Christology. If you go back to verse 8, it says: “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So, the two of them walked on together.”

It’s the whole idea of “in the place of”, a substitute. And here’s where we have to throw in some fancy words just so we sharpen exactly what this means. The vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ- that’s who this ram in the thicket typifies, this male sacrifice, which is going to spare Isaac’s life. The ram dies in the place of Isaac. And in the same way when the Father’s knife is over you by way of judgment, you’re spared because God provided a substitutionary sacrifice in the person of Jesus Christ that this ram typifies. This doctrine is called the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement. Why do we use the word penal? Penal means punishment. The punishment that should be on me was borne by Jesus. And consequently, the book of Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I have to face a lot of things in my life. But here’s one thing I won’t face- the penal judgment of God, because that was taken care of 2000 years ago by Jesus, whom this historical account points to. Vicarious- we know what that means; it means in the place of another. And we say someone is living vicariously through another. It means in the place of someone else. Jesus Christ, by what He did, did something in our place, whereby we would not have to face the wrath of a holy God. And we also have in the definition substitutionary. He died on the cross as my substitute.

It should have been me on that cross 2000 years ago, and rightfully so. But He stepped into the line of fire and absorbed the judgment of God in my place. We’ve used many times, as we’ve described this, some illustrations of the secret servicemen in the movies that jump in front of the bullet at the last second and spare the president. We’ve used the illustration of the bee sting. The man in the car that reaches out and grabs the bee, because a bee stings only once, so that others in the car will not have to be stung. Those are just human illustrations pointing to what Jesus did. This whole concept of vicarious penal substitutionary atonement is what is being typified right there in verse 12 and right there in verse 13. No judgment for you, Isaac, because God has judged another in your place. It’s all over Isaiah Chapter 53:4 which says, “Surely our griefs He himself bore, And our sorrows-” See the substitutionary element of it here? “Our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was pierced through for our transgressions,” You mean it should have been me being pierced, Lord? That’s what it means. “He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging” or His stripes, “we are healed.” Healed from what? Healed from this awful predicament, as a member of Adam’s fallen race, of hurling towards the judgment of God, and rightfully so.

Because of what Jesus did 2000 years ago, we’re spared from that. Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him.” The vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. If you rank doctrines in the Bible, I can’t come up with one that’s a greater priority to understand than this one. And oh, my goodness, how the church has messed this up. This got so messed up that it really didn’t start to get crystalized in theological thinking until the 1100s, because there are all kinds of ideas that were floating around as to why Jesus died. And none of them really have the concept of substitute in their definition. There’s the ransom to Satan view. You see the dates on that? Second century, this started to get taught where Christ’s death is a ransom to Satan, but not the Father. If you listen carefully to so-called TV evangelists, some of them actually teach this. And you’ll notice what it doesn’t talk about. It doesn’t talk about how Jesus died in our place. There came on the scene eventually something called the moral influence view; that Christ’s death- What is it? -It’s just an expression of God’s love. It just shows us that God loves us now. It does do that, Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Of course, the atoning work of Jesus demonstrates His love, but that comes quite short of what it actually accomplished. He didn’t die on a cross only to communicate to us His love for us. He died in our place. The punishment that should be on me was borne by Him. And then you have the moral example view of the Atonement; that Christ’s death is there to inspire us to live a better life, to live a sacrificial life, to live a life of service. In a lot of the mainline denominations that started to move in more of a liberal direction around the 1920s, they began to teach this idea that what Jesus is all about is He’s there to sort of help us live better and try harder. He gives us an example of sacrifice. Well, there probably is nothing greater that you can study than the atonement, which will teach us how to be sacrificial in our daily lives, loving towards others. But if that’s all you think the atonement accomplished, it pales in comparison to what God said. Jesus’ death on the cross, although very inspiring for the rest of us, accomplished a lot more than stimulating us to a higher level of living. He died in my place. The punishment that rightfully belongs on me was borne by Him. Then there’s this view that came about over the course of time. The governmental view of the atonement; that Christ’s death promotes respect for God’s law.

Look at what Jesus did to pay for our abridgments of God’s law. Let’s all go out and respect God’s law. Well, we ought to respect God’s law. But once again, that pales in comparison to what the atonement is about. The concept of substitution is absent in all these definitions. Then they came up with the accidental view, that fate accidentally ended Christ’s life. No, it did not. Jesus was not just swept into being the sacrifice by circumstances beyond His control. He was in control of everything. In fact, in John 10:17-19, He says very clearly that no one takes My life from Me. I lay it down by My own accord. And today you hear different sermons on why Jesus died. Hey, you know, invite Jesus into your life and He’ll give you fulfillment and meaning. Well, He does give fulfillment and meaning, but that’s not why He died. That’s just kind of a sub-accomplishment. He died in your place. The punishment that rightfully belongs on you, He bore in His own body. Some of these books that come out just absolutely drive me crazy. I mean, if anything is going to push me into an early grave, it’s modern-day Christianity. One book is entitled Jesus CEO. I don’t know if you’ve seen that one. And it’s all about how Jesus gives us leadership principles to follow.

And if you follow what Jesus did and how He led, apply that to your business or whatnot, your business will prosper. I don’t doubt the fact that Jesus gave us leadership principles, but that’s not why He died. He died as our substitute. May the Lord help us to understand this. And any other benefit that you’re accruing because of the cross, whether it be meaning in life, leadership principles, how to be more sacrificial in daily life- Do you do you understand how far those things come below the bar that God set? The first reason He died, the primary reason He died, all other benefits notwithstanding, is He bore the wrath of a holy God in my place. He’s my savior. Because the punishment that should be on me was borne by Him; whether I derive leadership principles from His life, whether I personally derive meaning and fulfillment from what He did- they all pale in comparison to this glorious, majestic doctrine. I think the doctrine of the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ starts as early as Genesis 3, when God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins. That’s at the end of Genesis 3. And you ask a simple question: Where did the animal skins come from? Obviously, an animal was killed on the spot, by God the Father. Well, what did the animal do that was wrong? Nothing.

That’s the whole point. This is how a holy God forgives sin. He punishes an innocent scapegoat in the place of the guilty. I mean, the shock of it is when you get to the New Testament, you discover who the scapegoat is. It’s not a ram caught in the thicket; that just prefigures what’s coming. It’s not Isaac. It’s not Joseph. They are just types of what’s coming. It’s God himself. What happened 2000 years ago outside the city gates of Jerusalem, is one member of the Trinity God the Father was pouring out His wrath on another member of the Trinity, God the Son, so that wrath would not have to be poured out on us- if we just accept as a free gift, by way of faith, what He did for us 2000 years ago. And as we continue into verse 14, you start to see names given. I mean, this is a big deal. This is history. This is significant. When a major significant event is happening, the area where it happens, the people that it happens to start to get names in the Bible. And you’ll see this in verse 14. “Abraham called the name of that place-” What place? -the place that God showed him fifty to sixty miles from where he was living in Beersheba- where this whole event transpired. “Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide,” Have you been paying attention as we have been going to the names of God? There’s an awful lot in the Bible about names.

Names reveal character. Names reveal destiny. And as we’ve been going through the Book of Genesis- I hope you’re making a list of the names of God. The very first name that God discloses himself by is in Genesis 1:1, and following, where He calls Himself Elohim, which speaks of His omnipotence. What a great name to put in a chapter dealing with the creation of the heavens and the earth itself by God- Elohim. And then you get into chapter 2, and you have another name mentioned there, Yahweh. Yahweh is more relational. What a tremendous name to insert into a chapter dealing with God walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the garden and giving them instructions. You keep moving through the Bible, you get to Genesis 16:13 and you get this name here, Elroy, the God who sees. Genesis 16:13 says: “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?'” God, you see everything. That’s why God says, concerning Sarah- and Abraham for that matter- but specifically Sarah, when the promise of Isaac was given, and Sarah just laughed within her heart; as best I can tell in Genesis 18 it wasn’t even anything audible initially.

God says, why did Sarah laugh? How could God see her heart before she audibly said or did anything? Because he’s a God who sees. Genesis 21:33, that we pointed out when we were back in that chapter. He’s called El Olam, meaning the forever God. The everlasting God. Genesis 21:33 says: “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord (El Olam), the Everlasting God.” God is God and you are not. Neither am I. Because He’s been around forever. He is the uncaused cause. That’s why Jesus would confound the Pharisees. And He would say, you know, before Abraham was, I am. What? You’re not fifty years old and you claim you’ve seen Abraham? Before Abraham was, I am. I was there to see Abraham. I was there long before Abraham showed up. I was there long before the heavens and the earth showed up. I was there long before the angels showed up because they’re creations of mine. I’m the forever God. And once you understand who God is, El Olam, you see the foolishness of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator- which we as human beings have a propensity to do. When you worship the creation rather than the Creator, it’s idolatry. It’s not understanding who God is. It’s a rebuke in the prophet Isaiah that God gave to the children of Israel.

I want to say it’s around Isaiah 46, where there they are, walking around with their idols, their statues. And God makes a point: Can the statue talk? Can you communicate with the statue? Can you communicate with the idol? Why don’t you talk to Me? I’m the one that created everything. Oh, and by the way, the day is going to come when you’re going to get old, and those statues are going to get very heavy. Why don’t you come to me? Because what I’ll do is, rather than you in your old age, carry around some stupid statue, I’m going to carry you around. You go out today in a public place and you’ll watch everybody in that public place and they’re looking at their cell phone. People spend far more time with their cell phone than they do God’s word. As if, when you get old and feeble and infirm and you need the grace of something in your life, as if the cell phone is going to come to your rescue. Cell phones won’t rescue you. Facebook won’t rescue you. Twitter won’t rescue you. Weekend sports won’t rescue you. I’m not against all these types of things that I’m talking about. What concerns me is: do you control your device or does your device control you? That’s what I’m worried about. And I’m not just worried about that in your life. I’m worried about that in my life. I have all these gizmos and electronic things that we are blessed, in a certain sense, to have in our age. I mean, have they replaced God? The cell phone was created by somebody.

God is El Olam, forever. Elohim, Yahweh, Elroy, El Olam. That’s four, right? Can we add another one to the list? Here we go. It’s right there in verse 14: “The Lord Will Provide.” Jehovah Jireh. The provision of God. The God who makes provision even for the ultimate need that we have that we can’t even feel most of the time that we’re careening for His judgment. Because of His work in Jesus Christ, He has provided for us. Jehovah Jireh. The ram caught in the thicket typifies that. The parallels with Isaac typify that. Yeah, but I need God’s help to help me find a new job. I need God’s help to help me with my mortgage payment. I need God’s help to help me with a relational struggle I’m having. You don’t think God’s going to help you with that when He already fulfilled the ultimate provision? I mean, God took care of the ultimate problem that we have. Sin, an eminent judgment. It’s an argument from the greater to the lesser if God took care of that, if He provided for that, I mean, geez, what’s a car? What’s a mortgage payment? What’s high gas prices? High interest rates. Inflation. You think God’s upstairs there really sweating those out? Of course, I’ll take care of you with all that little stuff. I already provided you with the big stuff because I am Jehovah Jireh.

I am the God that provides and notice He provided it on a place. Verse 14 again says: “Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide.” That’s Jehovah Jireh. “…as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the Lord, it will be provided.'” I provided for you on a mountain that I told you to walk to, which is fifty to sixty miles from Beersheba. More parallels. Where was that mountain? Well, if you go back to verse 2, it has a name. The name of it is Moriah. Start walking, Abraham. Go to this mountain area. And once you’re there, I’m going to give you a specific mountain. It’s called Mount Moriah, and it’s there. I want you to sacrifice Isaac. And then once Abraham gets there and is about to sacrifice Isaac, God says: Okay, put the knife down. You passed the test. By the way, your provision is provided for already. The ram, the male sacrifice caught in the thicket. All of this took place in a specific, a plot of real estate geographically on planet Earth called Mount Moriah. A thousand years later, a man named Solomon would build Israel’s first temple. Where? On Mount Moriah. And a thousand years from the time of Solomon going to Jesus Christ, Jesus would die on a particular mountain that had been renamed called Zion. Mount Zion, which is another name for Mount Moriah. Do you mean this whole transaction took place in the exact same spot where the Solomonic temple in all its majesty would be built (2 Chronicles 3:1) and where Jesus Christ Himself would pay for the sins of the entire world?

That’s what it’s saying. Jesus on the Emmaus Road, after He rose from the dead- Luke 24, you can read all about it- walked with His disciples. And he unfolded to them things written in the scriptures concerning Himself. What scriptures could He possibly be referring to on the Emmaus Road? There is no New Testament written yet at that point to refer to. He’s obviously talking about Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, Tanakh. These are the types of things I’m convinced that Jesus was talking about. And what did the disciples say? They said: Were our hearts not burning within us when you walked with us on the Emmaus Road? And You unfolded the scriptures. It is a very, very sad reality today that somebody can write from a secular viewpoint, a Jewish viewpoint, a whole commentary on the Book of Genesis and leave out Jesus. Such commentaries are floating around. In fact, over in Costco, I just saw one recently. A well-known conservative, who’s with us on the culture war, wrote a study Bible called the Rational Study Bible. And I was looking at what he did with Genesis. And he didn’t even mention Jesus. He’s not mentioned in Genesis 22, not mentioned in Genesis 3:15, and yet that’s a runaway bestseller because we might agree with such a person on worldview issues.

That’s a commentary that’s not worth your time. It’s not worth your energy to look into that because it misses the point of why Genesis was written. It was written to typify Jesus Christ. Verse 14, it says: “as it is said to this day, ‘In the mouth of the Lord, it will be provided,'” Propitiation. There is where Abraham went from Beersheba up north to Jerusalem. Of course, Jerusalem didn’t exist yet 2000 years before Christ. That wouldn’t become a Jewish city until the time of David. But that’s where he went to sacrifice Isaac, on Mount Zion. The very plot of the world, in terms of real estate, where the capital of the Jewish nation and the temple and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ would transpire. And it was in that spot that God manifested His name, Jehovah Jireh, meaning the Lord Has Provided. And He provided for it right here. Right here is where Isaac’s life was spared. And right there is where your life is spared. Because that’s where Jesus died for you 2000 years ago. This is a doctrine that we call propitiation. We’ve learned about the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus. But what is the doctrine of propitiation? What does that even mean? In fact, in the book of Romans 3:25, you’ll see Paul using the word propitiation. (Romans 3:25) “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. this was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.”

What did Jesus do 2000 years ago? He provided propitiation. We read right over these words in the Bible without fully understanding what they mean. You know what propitiation means in the Greek lexicon- the satisfaction of divine wrath. That’s why Jesus, in His final words on the cross were “It is finished!” Translation from the Greek word tetelestai, meaning paid in full. The wrath of God against sin has been satisfied in the person of Jesus. That’s why He said it is finished. Years and years and years as a Christian, I have to be honest with you, I had a hard time with this, with not understanding it. I still struggle with it in many ways because I think God is mad at me. We’ve all been under authority structures, whether it’s family, athletic situations, business situations, where the guy in charge is always upset at you for some reason. And we have a tendency to transfer that to God, that God is upset with me. I stepped out of line. I did this or I didn’t do that. I had a witnessing opportunity, and I didn’t take advantage of it. God is mad at me. Whenever we say, as a Christian, God is mad at us or angry against us, we don’t understand propitiation. God is not angry at you if you’re in Christ, because His wrath against sin was satisfied 2000 years ago.

His holy nature against sin was satiated. And so, as you walk with the Lord, as a Christian, the only possible thing you could ever experience from God is His love. Because first, John 4:8 says God is love. Well, why doesn’t it say God is holy? It does say that, but that aspect of His character is satiated. It is satisfied. It is placated because of the person of Jesus Christ. You are in Christ by way of faith. And so, the only attribute left by God to manifest to you and to exhibit towards you is His love. But wait a minute, Pastor. The Lord teaches whom the Lord loves the Lord chastens. Yes, it does teach that. But that’s not His wrath, that’s a loving Father towards His children. You are not in a position to receive His wrath because of the doctrine of propitiation. Gee, Pastor, you talk a lot about the church being raptured from earth to heaven before the wrath of God hits this planet. Why do you teach that? -propitiation? You’re not a candidate for any of those judgments in the Book of Revelation, you’re not a candidate for the great White throne judgment. You’re not a candidate for hell. I don’t know what your personal experience was like with your own earthly father, but if your own earthly father constantly exhibited towards you anger and wrath, don’t transfer that into your walk with the Lord. If you’re transferring that into your walk with the Lord, you don’t understand propitiation where God provided. Jehovah Jireh.

So, Paul says in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.” I mean, if God took care of this propitiation, the other needs you have are just small potatoes. And I was going to go on, but I’m out of gas. All of this to say: Some of the most basic doctrines of the Christian life, things that you will spend your entire life ruminating on and studying and applying, are right here, 2000 years in advance. Show me another book that does this kind of thing other than the Bible. It must be from God. Presentation of the gospel against the background of this kind of teaching is pretty easy, isn’t it? I mean, even I can do this. John the Baptist said in John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he too does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” What about the person who has never actually put their personal trust in Jesus for their salvation? The Bible is very clear that propitiation doesn’t apply to them. The wrath of God is still hanging over them like the sword of Damocles waiting to fall at any moment. Obviously, for the Christian, it’s different. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.

What about those that are not in Christ Jesus? John the Baptist said in John 3:36, “the wrath of God abides on him.” Why would a person who hears this and understands this hold out for a better offer? Now that we understand what the problem is and the solution, why would a person who comes under the conviction of the Holy Spirit not place their faith in Jesus to resolve this matter? That’s an issue I don’t understand. I have a difficult time understanding how the revelation of God into the human heart- whereby it is completely explained what Jesus did for us- is turned down. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. Yet such individuals exist. And they will appear at the Great White throne judgment to experience divine wrath for all eternity. You see how this message is a little different than Jesus’ message? You know the guy in American history who preached this way was a guy named Jonathan Edwards. And God took the words of Jonathan Edwards in Massachusetts, and He used it to start the first Great Awakening in America. His famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is what the title of it was. As I’ve listened to different historians talk about it, it wasn’t much of an oratory. All Jonathan Edwards did was get up and read his sermon off a piece of paper. And yet the words were so true that people, as he was speaking, felt like they were slipping into hell.

And of course, with propitiation understood, you see you’re not slipping into hell. I think, here in the United States of America and worldwide, we need a lot more Jonathan Edwards than we do Jesus CEO types, who are underselling and undervaluing what Jesus did. And so, our exhortation to anybody that hears these words either in the building, online, or listening after the fact is to heed the warning and to trust in Christ, thereby allowing the wrath of God to pass over your life because of this glorious and wonderful doctrine of (A) propitiation, the satisfaction of divine wrath and (B) the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Christ. All of it was taught today from Genesis 22.