“Abraham, go and take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering…”
This is by far, one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Why would God ask any parent to do something this horrible? I don’t pretend to have all the answers here. What I do find interesting is the way that Abraham responds. He obeys. He doesn’t argue or question God. He just starts on the way in obedience.
We aren’t told what Abraham was thinking or what he and Isaac talked about along the way. Abraham’s story had started with a journey. God had told him to, “go to the land that I will show you.” Here, towards the end of Abraham’s life, God is taking him on another journey. God is asking Abraham to sacrifice the very thing that God had given him as the fulfillment of the Divine promises.
When the moment came and Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice Isaac, God stopped him. It is no surprise that for the rest of history, Abraham is referred to as, “the friend of God.” A man who was willing to sacrifice his precious son out of obediance is the man who was also known as the “Father of Faith.”
While acknowledging how difficult this passage is for us to digest, I think it is important that we not overlook something significant. God stopped Abraham from following through and sacrificing Isaac. In Isaac’s place, God provided a ram for the sacrifice. When faced with a similar dilemma, however, God the Father did not stop the sacrifice of His Son. It was in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, that our salvation is found.
Has God ever asked you to sacrifice something that was dear to you? How did you respond?
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