Genesis 22:1-2,7-8,10-14 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you”... Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together... Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
This is a well known story of God's testing of Abraham. God asks Abraham to sacrifice and burn his only son, born to him at his old age of 100, as an offering to God and Abraham willingly follows.
This story has been misquoted by many to show how the God of Abraham has no value for life, how hard-hearted Abraham was as a father of a nation, etc.
What is the real point to this story and is God able to speak to us today in the 21st century when human sacrifice is not as prevalent?
Have you noticed Abraham's response to God, to his son and to the angel? God who sees all obviously was not looking for Abraham but just calling him, Isaac who was journeying with Abraham most certainly was able to see him and the angel who called Abraham just as he was about to slay Isaac obviously saw him and therefore called him.
Abraham's response was one of obedience to God the father, love and caring to his son Isaac and joy and relief to the Angel. We can never do justice to reading this in a paraphrased version of the Bible but we can get the sense of intensity in these conversations.
God's request of Abraham seems harsh and inconsiderate considering the significance of Isaac to Abraham. Would Abraham not have doubted God's voice when such a task was given to him?
Obviously Abraham knew the voice of God and responded in total submission and obedience and showed confidence in the act. Much like if we knew we were being tested and we stepped up to the plate.
Abraham's response to Isaac's question might have seemed like he was lying because at that point, no ram was yet provided. However, his response showed his confidence in God's provision, a confidence one can have only when they have seen God provide perfectly for every need.
The angel's statement to Abraham makes one wonder if Abraham was acting outside of God's will for it sounds like a warning. However, we have to understand that it was a warning to Abraham in the nick of time and when you read it again, you realize that this was a loaded statement.
Much later in time, another father walks his son to the same sacrifice and is forced to go through with it and imagine his grief when he had no intervention like Abraham did. He did so because of what he believed and his son willingly followed him to death, a most painful and gruesome death. Yes, I am talking about Jesus' death on the cross.
It is the greatest sacrifice that changed the history of mankind because God permitted His only son to be sacrificed that we might live. The blood Jesus shed for us is the only blood that can save us from our sinfulness.
We serve a God who obviously loves us beyond our ability to understand and all we are called to do is submit to His supreme will. The sacrifice made was the greatest but the cost for us to enter into this relationship is nothing because this was a free sacrifice Christ made for us and all we need to do is accept it after we have realized our sinfulness, helplessness and asked for his forgiveness.
This is the first time we see God being referred to as Jehovahjireh which means Jehovah will see to it or God will provide. Do you believe God will provide and if so, do you live in obedience to this great God who provides?
In His Loving Service,
James 2:21-23 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.
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