Abraham and the Sacrifice

Genesis 21:1-6

Abraham and the Sacrifice

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God had promised Sarah and Abraham a child and Sarah should not have worried. When the three strangers visited Sarah and Abraham, the Lord promised they would have a baby within a year.

Sure enough, in less than a year the impossible happened. Old Sarah, far too old to have children, gave birth to a son. Abraham was a hundred years old when Sarah’s baby was born. He and Sarah were so happy, so thankful to God for finally answering their prayers, they cried for joy.

Every time Abraham saw the boy, he smiled. And Sarah smiled all the time. The child made them so happy, they would often laugh together. So they called the baby Isaac, which meant “He Laughs.” The boy was a good reason to laugh and be happy.

“Abraham!” The Voice of God called. “Take your son, your only son Isaac. I know how much you love him, and this is why I ask you to do this difficult thing. I want you to give Isaac back to Me.”

Abraham said nothing. The God he knew would never want him to kill his own son. Abraham knew that. God had promised that Isaac would have many children. How could that happen if Isaac were dead?

It was like holding a friend’s hand when you cannot see where you are going. The friend has said you are headed for a deep hole and you may fall into it. You hold onto the friend’s hand anyway because it is the only guidance you can trust. Your friend will not let you down. Step by step, you follow him.

Abraham knew he could choose not to trust God. He could say no, run in fear and try and hide. But who can hide from God? Or he could choose to trust. Perhaps there was more to God’s plan than what first seemed to be there. Early the next morning Abraham woke his son up. “Come, Isaac, we are going on a trip.”

Since Isaac was almost a young man by then, Abraham had Isaac carry the wood. He told his son they were going to make a sacrifice to God. Abraham carried the knife.

Isaac had often made burnt offerings with his father to give thanks to God. But this time was different. Something was missing.

“Father?” Isaac asked.

“Yes, my son?”

“I have the wood,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb which we usually offer?”

Abraham answered, “God will provide.”

After three days of travel, Abraham said they had come far enough. Then he told Isaac to climb onto the altar. Isaac looked at his father. He saw in Abraham’s eyes the love his father felt  for him. Isaac chose to trust Abraham. As he lay himself down, Isaac asked God to keep him safe.

Abraham stood over Isaac, holding the knife up high. He was just about ready to kill his son when an angel said, “Abraham, Abraham!” Abraham stopped, his hand in midair. “Don’t hurt the boy. You have shown how much you trust God with everything, even the life of your special Isaac.” Abraham looked and saw a ram whose horns were caught in a nearby bush. That was the offering God had provided.

The angel called down from the sky again. “Abraham, God says because you trusted Him so much, He will make your family as many as the stars in the sky. All the other nations in the world will be blessed through you.” Isaac and his father hugged each other. Both father and son were happy just to be together.