February 28, 2012

The Thicket and the Ram

Posted in Atonement, Faith, Good Friday, Holy Week, Hope, Obedience, Son of God, Son of Man, Suffering Servant at 12:21 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

When Father Abraham was called to kill his son,
He walked on faith up to Moriah’s lonely height.
With Isaac at his side, their three-day journey done,
They had tools of death, without a sacrifice in sight.

His back bowed down with wood, the faithful son inquired
About his father’s failure to provide a ram.
The answer was that God would give what He required,
For Abraham’s hope was resting in the great I AM.

He raised the knife to his own soul, his promised child,
But then the Angel of the Lord called out to stay his hand.
That Angel was the ram, who would for sinners be reviled
And thus increase the house of Abraham as grains of sand.

Oh, Father God, whose loving providence ordained
Your Son to climb the lonely hill and be nailed down.
He is the Lamb of God for Abraham’s children slain.
Your ram, caught in the thicket of the thorny crown.

Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

This poem is primarily taken from the account in Genesis 22. As the poem presents a narrative of sorts, it reaches deeper to find the details that we sometimes miss in reading the Scripture, if we read it hurriedly. It is important that Abraham and Isaac walked three days, for that period of time is connected with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 11:17-19, we read:

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham’s hope lay in the God who had called him and had always been faithful. And God did not disappoint. On that day, He provided both the thicket and the ram, as evidence that He would in the fullness of time provide a Substitute to take away the sins of the world. Although the term I AM was given to Moses and not to Abraham, I have used it here because the I AM has always been the I AM. The benefit of our vantage point is that we see a fuller picture than either of those fathers of the faith.

There are echoes of Jesus from the very beginning of the poem, but the first line of the third verse begins a conscious shift from Isaac the potential sacrifice to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. No doubt those who have read the book of Luke will see the parallel that is drawn between Abraham and the Virgin Mary, whose own soul was pierced by the sacrifice of her beloved Son.

One of the most significant details in the account of Abraham was that it was the Angel of the Lord, the Old Testament manifestation of the Second Person of the Trinity, who stopped Abraham’s hand with His Word. The One who would suffer for our sakes is the One who prevented Isaac’s death, and who invites us to partake of His life.

This was written today. I have been meditating on the image of the ram in the thicket for a few days now, but until I returned to Genesis 22, I had not made all of the connections that are (I hope) evident in the poem.


  1. […] written about this topic from Genesis 22 before (The Thicket and the Ram), but with a slightly different approach. What drew me back to meditate on it more was the idea […]


  2. Wonderful! Keep it up!

    Curtis Crenshaw


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