Summary: How could God ask something like this of Abraham. This message looks at the faith of Abraham.
The movie “Sophie’s Choice” tells the story of a woman who was having a hard time adjusting to life due to a past event that consumed her with guilt and pain. Sophie was a Polish Christian who was arrested by the Nazi’s during WWII and placed with her two kids into a Concentration Camp. While in line to go to the death camp, a Nazi guard approaches Sophie and forces her to make an unthinkable choice. The Nazi guard says that he will take one of the kids with him (which would mean certain death) and then the unthinkable request is placed upon Sophie as she is told that she is to make the choice of which of her kids she will give up to die. To refuse to give up a child would mean that both would die. So she is forced to pick between her toddler and her infant. The scene is horrific and almost unbearable to watch as Sophie is hysterically screaming, begging not to be put in such a predicament, and the guard is shouting, and the kids are crying. Then when the choice is made…Sophie falls to the ground in tears as she watches as her little toddler taken from her and carried away…and you can hear the screams of her child as he is gets farther and farther away.
Now as I watched that, I couldn’t imagine myself made to chose and I thought could there be anything worse that to have an evil man force you to chose between your kids so that he could kill one. Then this week I was reminded that there is something worse. Imagine that it is not a choice between two kids, but you are told that you have to give up your only child to have him killed, and then be told that the one who is to kill the child is you. And to make it much worse is that this is not some evil Nazi guard telling you to do this, but it is the loving Heavenly Father you have devoted your life to following.
This morning we come to the most difficult moment in the life of Abraham. We have seen Abraham struggle, but not like this. We have seen Abraham endure hardships and heartaches, but not like this. We have seen Abraham’s faith tested, but this would be the ultimate test. Warren Wiersebe wrote that, “Our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems unbearable, do what seems unreasonable, and expect what seems impossible.” This morning we come to perhaps one of the most difficult text in the bible, and I want to approach it carefully. It’s a hard text to deal with but yet if we come to grips with it it is filled with wonderful truths and timeless treasures. I want us to look at the heartache of Abraham, the Faith of Abraham, and then we’ll conclude with some lessons we can take home with us from this text. Sophie has her choice, not let’s look at Abraham’s choice when he is asked by God to sacrifice his son.
When God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, almost to reiterate the unthinkable nature of the request, “God says take your one, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.” It’s almost as if God is saying, “I know how much you love him and I know how important he is to you, now go and sacrifice him to Me.”
Now to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure how I would respond to such a request. I with I could say this is what I would do, but unless I was put into that situation I honestly wouldn’t know what I would do. When I read this text, I come to it with two important viewpoints. The first is that I am a father who loves my kids very much. Just the thought of something ever happening to one of my girls scares the dickens out of me. When my oldest daughter Clarissa got her ears pierced, I actually had to get up and leave the store I was such a nervous wreck. (They were going to charge us something like 15 dollars for this…no, I just can’t stand to see my girls hurt.) So to think that I would be the one to harm them, that’s almost an unbearable thought to me.
The second viewpoint is that I believe that God is good all the time and all the time God is good. I believe that God loves us and wants what is best for us. I believe that God is the creator and that He is love. Not just a type of love, He is love! But I would dare say that from Abraham’s viewpoint right now at the beginning of this text, God sounds anything but good and loving.