Reading: Genesis 22:1-19
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
God again pushes Abraham beyond the limits. A sudden wake up call "Abraham" and Abraham simply replies to God's call without hesitation only to hear of God's request to take the child of promise and sacrifice him on a mountain that He will tell him as he goes.
I don't know about how things were back then, but child sacrifice was never part of the plan which God had established. The only thing that we have an understanding of when it came to burnt offerings was that of an animal, or crops (Able and Cain), or drink offerings? Maybe I must have missed some things, but no where have I read the God asks for a child burnt offering except here with Abraham.
The amazing thing it that Abraham just gets up first thing in the morning and leaves with two other followers. When he finally gets to the mountain, he tells his followers that he and his son will go up to the mountain to worship God and then return (v5). Abraham knows very well what God has told him. He knows that he has to go up that mountain and sacrifice his son. Isaac, his son, is not dumb either. Clearly offering burnt sacrifices to God is something that he has seen enough times to realize that the actual "sacrifice" is missing. Abraham simply replies that God will provide for Himself the lamb...
I don't understand this statement here because isn't this the first time that Abraham received this kind of request from God? Also, this whole thing that God will provide a lamb for Himself, wasn't it always the fact that the people had to find the lamb to sacrifice? There was never a situation, well at least not written, where God had provided, suddenly, the thing to be sacrificed. The people had to bring it themselves. But we see here that Abraham did not even waver for a second in his response to his son Isaac. He had such a huge level of confidence in God that his son would be still alive after everything. This is made clear to me when Abraham said that he and his son will go to the mountain to worship God and then return back together.
One thing that always had me puzzled is why there is no written account of Isaac's struggle against Abraham when he was being tied up by his father and put on top of the offering table. Again, Isaac is a smart boy, old enough to know what was about to happen. Was it really because Isaac did not fight against his father? If this is the case that Isaac just let his father tie him up, why didn't he resist?
The only thing that I can think of is trust. Isaac must have trusted his father with his life because he knew how much his father loved him. He has spent a few years watching his father's relationship with God. He must have seen how God lead his father. He must have seen how Abraham, his father, must have thanked God so much for him daily. I am pretty sure, that Abraham must have told him what God said about him--that he is the promised child.
So just maybe, Isaac also had great confidence in not only God, but his father as well. He laid there as he saw his father raise the knife to kill him. Abraham was serious about it because God had to call out to him. Even in such an intense moment, Abraham's heart was still sensitive to hearing God's voice. And what he said previously, (v8)"God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering..." happened. God provided the lamb for the sacrifice.
This is the same as God providing Jesus, the perfect lamb, for the sacrifice to cleanse us of all out sins, which I am forever grateful for...
God then reconfirms his promise to Abraham and then Abraham returns to the men he came with.
So much for me to learn as I long for this kind of faithfulness in my life, that when I eventually get married and have children, they will see God for who He truly is....Faithful.