“And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:’ so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:8
So, what exactly was God testing when He asked Abraham to take his son and sacrifice him on an alter? Genesis 22: 1 tells us that God was testing Abraham’s faith. But faith in what exactly? In Genesis 15 we see that God made a covenant with Abraham when He passed through the bloody carcasses of the animals He asked Abraham to cut into halves. Abraham also participated in his part of the covenant when he, and all of this household and servants, were circumcised.
Now God was testing Abraham, but not just for the sake of “testing” him. God was “testing,” or you could say “placing a demand” on the covenant He had with Abraham. In the law of covenant, when one party asked for something, the other party gave it, which required the party doing the asking to reciprocate by giving as well. When one party gave their best to the other, the receiving party had to respond in kind.
God was simply looking for a way to lawfully bring His son Jesus, who was the “Seed” God spoke of in the Garden, into the earth. By asking Abraham to offer up his “only son” on an alter at Mount Moriah, God could legally offer up His “only son” on that same mountain in the far future.
Let us be thankful today that one man believed in the power of the covenant God had made with him. Even though it probably made no sense to Abraham in that moment, you and I have been blessed to receive Eternal Life because God did indeed provide Himself a Lamb.