Wednesday, May 12, 2021

HYMN: The Sacrifice Appointed

I recently posted a text to be used as part of the Great Vigil of Easter, a text based on the text of Israel’s delivery from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. When I write hymn texts, I don’t often write paraphrases of Scripture. However, as I work on this project, that’s precisely the challenge that was given to me. So as I continue to work on this project, I’m trying to do something that’s not exactly in my wheelhouse. 

This current text takes up Genesis 22:1-18, the testing of Abraham’s faith in God’s command to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. It always strikes me how Abraham tells the young men who accompany him and Isaac, Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Abraham trusts God, and so he believes that, even if God goes through with His command and Abraham must slay his son, God will restore Isaac to him. Or maybe he trusts that God will not make him go through with the sacrifice. And, sure enough, God relents at the last minute. I hope that faith is reflected in this text. As always, feedback is love and life.

The Sacrifice Appointed

for the Easter Vigil

The Testing of Abraham—Genesis 22:1-18

1. The Sacrifice appointed

Is Christ, the Paschal Lamb:

The Substitute most pleasing,

The self-appointed Ram.

He let Himself be captured

In thickets of our sin,

And in His cross and Passion

Our ransom he would win.

2. “O Abraham,” God called him.

And he said, “Here I am.”

“Take Isaac, your beloved,

Your son, the precious lamb,

And go to Mount Moriah.

The place I will declare.

Then slay him as an off’ring.

Oh, burn him for Me there.

3. So Abraham cut lumber

To load it on his steed.

And with his men and Isaac

He left to kill his seed.

They went as God commanded,

The offering to burn.

“Stay here, young men,” said Abram,

“And we will both return.”

4. But Isaac, son once promised,

Said, “Father, please delay.

We bear the wood and fire;

Where is the lamb to slay?”

Then, trusting his Creator,

In faith said Abraham,

“Dear Isaac, trust the Father.

God will provide the lamb.”

5. Then Abram built an altar

And bound his only son.

Then on the wood he placed him;

God’s Word and will be done.

His preparation finished,

He took the knife in hand

And raised it over Isaac,

Obeying God’s command.

6. Then Angel called from heaven.

“O Abraham, delay!

Harm not your son, nor kill him.

I see your faith today,

For willingly you offered

Your son as sacrifice.

You trust My word of promise;

My Son will pay the price.”

7. So Abraham relented 

And, lifting up his eyes,

He saw a ram behind him:

A gift from God he spies.

He took the ram and killed it,

An offering most sweet

In place of his son, Isaac:

A sacrifice complete.

8. Once more the Angel called him:

“I swear by My own name

To multiply your offspring,

To multiply your fame,

To bless in you the nations.

O Abraham, rejoice!

Your son you freely offered;

You heard your Father’s voice.”

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