Reading For Friday Genesis 22:1-19
Abraham and Sarah had waited twenty-five years for a promised son. Imagine the range of emotions they went through during the long wait. The longing and waiting of this elderly couple must have had good days and bad days. Did the last year require the most patience? The promise finally had a timeline and now there was a limit to how long they would have to wait. The ambiguity was not there anymore and with each day that passed they were one step closer to the time for their son. God keeps his promise. I wonder what it must have been like on the day they discovered that they were expecting? I wonder how much laughter accompanied the tears. I wonder how protective Abraham? I wonder how much daydreaming Sarah did about this baby boy? They knew it was a boy because God had told them that they were to have a son– no ultrasound required. They named their baby boy Isaac.
As we reach this part of the story, many years have passed and Isaac is a man in his prime. Tradition varies, but the consensus is that Isaac was between twenty-five and thirty-seven years old. It must have seemed odd when God came to test Abraham after all those years. No one likes tests and this test is a big one. God tests us to bring out our best. Our enemy tempts us to bring out our worst and destroy us. God does not require human sacrifice and this must have seemed a strange request. Abraham responded without hesitation to the unexplained and unexpected command of his God. Early the next morning he split some wood and made preparation for the journey. He then set out with Isaac and took two servants as well to Moriah. The journey was long enough to have plenty of time to think or change his mind. On the third day, the mountain was in sight. The servants were left behind. He and Isaac would go alone to worship. Abraham makes a statement that speaks of his confidence in God by declaring that they would both return. Later, the writer of Hebrews asserts that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary (Heb 11:19).
The wood was laid on Isaac’s back, indicating that Isaac was not a small child. Abraham carried the container of hot coals and the knife. Isaac inquires about their sacrificial lamb, Abraham responded: “God will provide for himself the lamb.” The Hebrew literally reads, “God sees before him the lamb for the sacrifice.” This line of questioning is often overlooked as we move straight to the sacrifice. Isaac asked the question because he was so familiar with worship that he knew something was missing. He must have done this before with his father and so he knew that they needed a sacrifice. When they arrive at the designated spot, Abraham built the altar, arranged the wood, and bound Isaac.
How does an elderly man bind a young man in the prime of life? The son must submit to the authority of the father and be willing to obey even unto death. And why was Isaac willing? Because Abraham’s faith in the God of the impossible had rubbed off on him. Young men and women of faith like that do not usually come out of nowhere. They do not generally come from families that are thoroughly moral but only marginally Christian. They emerge from families where Christ has come to have first place. Abraham passed the test. God didn't want Abraham's son, he wanted Abraham's heart. This is a test we often fail. Are we looking to God's gifts for satisfaction and contentment or are we looking to God himself?
Thing To Consider:
- What does Abraham's life teach us about faith?
- Has God been asking you to do something that does not make sense?
- When was the last time that you were surprised and overjoyed by grace?
- What do you understand about the relationship of Abraham and Isaac when it comes to faith?
- How is this a picture of Jesus?