Matins Devotion: March 8, 2023
When God provides a sacrifice atop Mount Moriah, why is it a ram, rather than a lamb? Why is the mighty ram the animal to die in the place of Isaac, more than the common year old lamb that the Israelites will come to sacrifice in the days of Moses? Well, I suppose the basic answer is that rams hang out on the top of mountains and lambs don’t, but it’s not an accident that the ram is caught in this thicket. God caused all of this. So the theological answer goes much deeper.
“A-yil” is the Hebrew word for ram, and it’s a word that’s essentially the same as one of the Hebrew words for “ruler.” In other words, the mighty ram was associated with kingliness. And that’s where we find our answer. Here, this royal ram is caught in a thicket and gives its life so that Isaac may live. Here, this kingly animal with its crown of horns is caught in a crown of thorns. And this is the beast that sheds its blood and rescues Isaac from condemnation. Here, in the sparing of Abraham’s son, we have a very specific promise of the Messiah. He will be the royal Son of God, the heir to David’s throne. And with His head bloodied by thorns, He will lay down His life. He will die in the place of those condemned to die because of their sins.
So that’s what Christ has done for you. When you were bound upon and condemned, worthy of death because of your wickedness, Jesus Christ, the royal Son of David, took your place upon the wood. Nailed to a cross and adorned with a crown of thorns, the ram became your lamb, consuming the wrath of God that you had earned and pouring out upon you the divine love He had earned. There, at Calvary, David’s Son shed the blood that makes you His brother. David’s Lord gave you the right to belong to the Lord your God forever. Through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the ropes and the knife of judgment are gone. And the slain yet risen Lamb, the royal Ram, has given you peace with God.