Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:13-19; Psalm 105-37-45
The almost sacrifice of Isaac is, for many, one of the hardest passages of scripture to read. Those who are parents cannot imagine being God asking Abraham to do this. Those who are parents cannot imagine being Abraham and being asked to do this. Note the “ask”. In English translations, we often lose a Hebrew grammar article, נָא (na’). It makes the “take” into, “please take.” Then God says, “…your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…”.
As the child of God’s promise, Isaac is Abraham’s “true” son. There is no other child of the promise. Isaac is not just a child of the promise to Abraham, but also to God. And God knows how much Abraham loves Isaac.
Isaac. We don’t know much about either’s thoughts during their trip to Moriah. Isaac trusted his father. At this point, too, Abraham was quite old—his prime behind him—and Isaac was probably an older teenager—entering his prime. Scripture doesn’t say that Isaac fought his father. Isaac trusted his father and allowed (it seems) himself to be bound and placed on the pile of sticks. Culturally, this was not abnormal. Child sacrifices to harsh and unpredictable gods was normal.
As Christians, looking back, we cannot help but see Abraham as a vision of God the Father, and Isaac as God the Son (Jesus). The loving father sacrificing his son; the loving son trusting his father.
As the author of Hebrews notes, Abraham was promised that his descendants of the promise would come from Isaac. Abraham probably didn’t understand, but he had walked long enough with God, that even in the time of trial, pain, and confusion, he still trusted.
1) Have you, or someone you know, had a crisis of belief, where your choice was to follow God or give up on your dreams or hopes?
2) What did that crisis teach you about God?
3) What did that crisis teach you about others?
4) What did that crisis teach you about yourself?