Abraham had been promised that Isaac, his only son, would continue his family. But when Abraham was tested, he had faith and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, because he was sure that God could raise people to life. This was just like getting Isaac back from death. (Heb 11:17-19 NLT)
Abraham was asked to do an unbelievable thing. He was told to take his only son Isaac, and to offer him up as a sacrifice to God. “Give to Me your most precious possession” the Lord told him. Abraham did.
How could a father do such a thing? How could anyone who loves someone ever give that person up? Why would God ask this of him? Scripture teaches us that God did this because He wanted to verify Abraham’s faith. Underlying God’s demand was the question – “Will you trust Me to do what is best?”
The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”
So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. (Gen 22:3-10 NLT)
Abraham demonstrated an incredible amount of trust in God that day. It was his trust in God that caused him to call his actions ‘worship.’ It was his trust in God that led him to tell his servants that he and the boy would both return. It was his trust in God that enabled him to reassure Isaac that God would provide for them a lamb. It was his trust in God that helped him raise the knife in order to kill his son. And it was his trust in God that told him that if need be, God would bring Isaac back from the dead.
The story concludes this way –
At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). (Gen 22:11-14 NLT)
Abraham thought that the miracle would be the raising of Isaac back from the dead; yet the real miracle was his unbelievable trust in God. What is your Isaac today? What is it that the Lord wants you to lay upon the altar and to trust Him that He will do what is best? In closing I leave you with the words of a song –
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
(written by John H. Sammis)