Genesis 22, God told Abraham to take his son, Isaac, and offer Him as a
sacrifice, and Abraham obeyed. But just as Abraham was about to kill his
son, God stopped him. Abraham looked up, and there was a ram in a thicket
of thorns, and it became the offering.
The most face-value interpretation of this is verse 12: "Now I know that you fear God." Abraham proved His faith in God and that was credited to Him as righteousness. When we obey God, it proves we trust Him. This has fantastic application.
But there's so much more to this story.
1. The trust evident in Abraham's willingness to offer his son was credited to Abraham as righteousness. God named this act of faith a righteous act. God is perfectly righteous - He is the only perfect being. Therefore, if a father's willingness to lay down his son out of love is a righteous act, then it is something that a perfectly righteous God must do. God cannot call an act "righteous" that He Himself is unwilling to do. This is precisely the reason He told Abraham to offer his son. God gave us another way to see what the righteous Father was planning to do for us - the Father offered His Son at Moriah. (Incidentally, Abraham means "exalted father." It's no coincidence that his act mirrors that of our Heavenly Father - Avinu.)
2. When Isaac asked, "Where is the lamb?," Abraham answered, "God will provide for Himself the lamb." It is interesting that at the end of the story, a lamb still had not been provided. It was a ram. So where is this "lamb"? Thousands of years later, John the Baptist looked up and said about Yeshua, "Behold the Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world." The identity of Yeshua as a lamb did not only point to Passover, though this application is powerful in itself, but it pointed back to this lamb, which had yet to be provided.
3. The Hebrew for "He will provide for Himself the lamb," can equally be translated to something like: "He Himself will be provided as the Lamb." Isn't it powerful that the Lamb of God, Yeshua, says, "I and the Father are One." Yeshua, who died as our Lamb, is God Himself, and God Himself said that He will be the Lamb.
4. The ram in the Genesis story was found with its head caught in a "thicket" - dense brush. Is it possible that it was a thicket of thorns - revealing that the true Lamb would also be found with His head in a crown of thorns? Thorns not only a torture device; they are a symbol of the curse of sin (Gen. 3:18) which had to be placed on Yeshua for our salvation.
5. God told Abraham to go to the "land of Moriah" in Genesis 22:2, in order to offer Isaac. Why does this matter? Mt. Moriah is the Temple Mount in the heart of what later became Jerusalem. It is this spot in which God had Solomon build His house - the Temple, and it is this spot in which God said He put His Name on earth (1 Kings 9:3). Where was Yeshua crucified? Outside the city walls of Jerusalem. Wherever it was specifically, it was in the "land of Moriah" in the place God said He would put His Name, and the exact place to which He led Abraham to show us what He would do through Yeshua.