Summary: I thought God hated child sacrifice? What is God doing asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son?
OPEN: I read the true story of a woman who told of the time she was teaching the toddler-age Sunday school class. Part of the reason she taught there was that her daughter was in that class.
During one lesson on creation she was trying to make the concept as understandable as possible, so she asked like questions like:
"Who made the trees?"
(To audience) Well – who did make the trees?
Then she’d ask: "Who made the sun?"
(Wait on audience) God did!
“Who made the animals?”
(Wait) God did!
“Who made you?”
(Wait) God did!
Later that week at home she walked into the living room and found her daughter’s toys scattered everywhere. That upset her and she got really frustrated and said,
"Who made this mess?"
My daughter looked at me with a proud smile and said,
(Wait for audience to respond) "GOD DID!"
(Carol J. Rivest, "Heart to Heart," Today's Christian Woman)
Now did God make that mess?
Of course not!
But to that little girl that was the right answer.
(Pause) It was the WRONG answer, but she didn’t know that because there were things about God she didn’t understand.
Now when we come to the story (Abraham and Isaac) this morning there’s something here - about God - that is hard to understand.There’s something about God here that just doesn’t make sense.
In fact, if you didn’t know the LAST CHAPTER of this story (“The Last Chapter” is the theme of this month’s sermon series), if you didn’t know that last chapter it was seem totally irrational.
But first, let’s revisit the story.
Years before Isaac’s born, God makes a promise to Abraham.
He said Abraham was going to be the father of many nations.
But, of course – in order to do that – Abraham needed to have a son, which he didn’t have one yet.
But the day came when God said to Abraham… “I will bless (Sarah) and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Genesis 17:15-16 (quickview)
But still there was another small problem.
Abraham was a 100 years old… and Sarah was 90.
Even in that day people didn’t have kids when they got that old.
But God had made Abraham a promise, and so they DID have a son even though they were too old to have one.
Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.
Now, fast forward about 25 years or so.
Isaac has grown to a young man and he is the apple of Abraham’s eye. Isaac is a great kid and Abraham loves him deeply.
Then God stops by for a visit.
We’re told: “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’
‘Here I am,’ he replied.
Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’”
And Abraham DOES IT!
He offers up his son.
He passes the test.