Summary: Abraham, what were you thinking? What was going through your mind? What was going through your heart? We parents want to know. We want to know how you could do it? How could you obey such a command? How could you have taken that knife?
Genesis 22:1-18 The Sacrifice
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.
Abraham, what were you thinking? What was going through your mind? What was going through your heart? We parents want to know. We want to know how you could do it? How could you obey such a command? How could you have taken that knife?
We come now to one of the most shocking, most troubling scenes in Scripture. God instructs Abraham to take the life of his son. The very method of writing the story drives the pain into the reader.
The opening verse sets up the tension. We are given notice what Abraham does not yet know – that God is about to test him. When he hears God’s voice, he responds, “Here I am.” He is ready to listen, ready to obey. Is it time to move again to another location? Is there something more to say about the covenant? What do you have to say, my Lord?
“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering.”
“Your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love.” Fourteen times “son” is used, eight of those times in these verses leading up to very last phrase “to slaughter his son.” It is Abraham’s son whom he is to kill. And as if God could not make the command more horrible to bear, he reminds Abraham, “your only son Isaac.” But there was Ishmael. There was but one son of the covenant, one son of Abraham and Sarah, one son who remained with them. Abraham’s only son Isaac, whose very name of “Laugher” was given to remind Abraham of his joy – he is to be the sacrifice. Oh, and God adds, “whom you love,” as if Abraham needed reminding.