“It will produce thorns and thistles for you”

Genesis 3 tells the story of sin entering the world.  Because of this, a series of curses are laid out, and Genesis 3:17-18 explains that the symbol of the curse on the earth will be thorns and thistles.

Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you

In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham.  To foreshadow what God Himself was planning to do, He asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him, because as Hebrews 11:19 explains, Abraham knew God could raise the dead.  God had already promised to make Abraham into a great nation through Isaac, and Abraham knew God would keep His promise, one way or another.  Of course, God stops Abraham before he harms Isaac and provides a ram for them to sacrifice as a substitute.  Genesis 22:13 tells us that the sacrifice provided by God had its head stuck in a thicket of thorns, the symbol of the curse.

13: Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14: So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Then, about 2,000 years later,  God provided the true sacrifice that He had hinted at with Abraham and Isaac – His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.  He was handed over to the Romans who tortured and crucified Him.  And in Matthew 27:29, in what we usually read as just another cruel thing the Romans did to Him, we see that thorns are once again on the head of the sacrifice provided by God.

27: Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29: and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.

Isaiah 53 is probably the most famous Messianic prophecy.  Written about 700 years before Jesus, it outlines exactly what would happen to the Messiah.  Isaiah 53:5 tells us that the Messiah would place the punishment for our sins upon Himself.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

So as the punishment for our sins was being placed upon Jesus, the symbol of the curse was literally placed upon His head.  In case we had any doubt what God was accomplishing, He shows us plainly.  In case we wonder if God has always been in control, He shows us that He has been foreshadowing His plan from the beginning.  He took our punishment, all we have to do is believe Him.

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