Summary: The story of Abraham and Isaac.... from a little different prospective...
“SOME TIME LATER, GOD TESTED ABRAHAM.”
Little is know of Abraham until he was 75 yrs old (much like we know little of Jesus until His ministry @ age 33)
We can track his genealogy from Adam to Noah to Abram to Abraham.
At 75 God called Abram, by now Abram was married to Sari…but we can’t know for sure when Abram and Sari were married.
We know that Abram was no saint, that he did some things that we surely would consider ungodly, such as telling the Pharaoh that Sari was his sister not his wife when they went into Egypt to escape a famine. (The skin disease…) (Jewish tradition - Sari was never intimate w/the Pharaoh because of the disease – source, The Chumash)
We know he endured battles, rescued his nephew Lot from Sodom all with God’s help.
We know Sari was barren for many years and gave her maidservant Hagar to Abram as a “wife” to bear him a child … and indeed she did….. Ishmael.
We know that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham right after the birth of Ishmael.
The name Abram or Av Aram meant the father of his native country, Abraham, or Av Hamon means father of a multitude.
We know that trouble between Sari and Hagar began right after Hagar became pregnant.
We know Sari laughed when God said she would have a son. In fact when Isaac was born he was named Isaac because it means laughter. In part because of Sari’s laughter, in part perhaps because the whole idea of a 90 year old woman giving birth was laughable.
We know too that Ishmael mocked Isaac at the great feast for Isaac and Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away. (God’s promise to Hagar)
Then we come to today’s verse and it begins with…..”Some time later God tested Abraham.”
Most commentaries dwell on God’s testing of Abraham… of Abraham’s faithfulness. And rightly so… there are, as I have often said, many ways to interpret scripture as God speaks to us individually…where we are in our relationship to Him. And I’ve always said beware of the preacher who says “Cleary this scripture means…” But in this case, “clearly” God intends to put Abraham to the test…
But there is more there to the story.
For example, does anyone want to guess how old Isaac was at the time of this event?
Most rabbinic commentators see him as an adult. The Chumash, which contains the Torah and commentaries from the rabbinic writings puts his age @ 37. This is based upon Sarah’s age of 90 when Isaac is born, and her age at death of 127years… Her death caused at least in large part because she believed Isaac had indeed been sacrificed. The rabinnic writings indicate that satan told her this…. And may explain why neither Abraham nor Isaac were present at her time of death.
This is significant because it means Isaac went willingly… He had a choice…. At the time of this event, according to Jewish tradition, Abraham was 137 years old and Isaac 37. Not the infant most of us picture.
What can we make of verse 5?
Here are some thoughts…. Abraham concealing the truth
From his servants lest the attempt to prevent him from carrying out God’s will
From Isaac – lest he flee
From himself – lest the frank acknowledgement of his real intention cause his resolve to break
He may be expressing his profound trust in God’s promise, casting his faith and hope as a prediction.
Now we see Isaac carrying the burden of the wood on which he is to be burned, much like in Roman times, in Jesus times when a person to be crucified was called to carry his own cross. If we understand that Isaac was an adult, a 37 year old…. Then consider this question; when he (Isaac) asks his father where is the lamb for the sacrifice with no animal in sight, did he suspect the nature of the test…. When Abraham answers, did he do so delicately, “God will seek out for Himself the lamb, but if there is no lamb, then you, my son will be the offering. Is it possible that at that moment, Isaac understood. Isaac was much younger than his father, he could have resisted, or fled easily, but he walked on together with his father Abraham. Isaac was 37. Jesus was 33 when He began His ministry and preached for three years……Can we begin to see an analogy between this event and the sacrifice of God, the Father sending His only Son to the cross.
Is it possible to interpret this scripture as a most profound demonstration of God’s love for you and me?
Just at the moment when Abraham was about to plunge the dagger into his son’s chest, the “Angel of the Lord” commands him to stop. Who was the angel of the Lord? Could it have been Jesus?