Summary: This sermon is about the uncomprehensible faith that could even sacrifice, or be willing to sacrifice a son.
I. What if God had said? C. Maye, take your son Bob to Lover’s Leap and offer him there as a burnt sacrifice. Dick and Dee, take Delaney; Marc and David take Kit; Larry & Sarah take Lyndal; Minnie take that grandbaby Raley up on the mountain and offer her as a burnt sacrifice; Debbie & Stan take Regina and offer her; Melody take Misty... and on and on to each of you, what if God had said take your first born son or daughter up on the mountain, place them on an altar and offer them as a burnt sacrifice?
Now there are probably times you might have desired God to give you this instruction, but no doubt it is hard for us to imagine a God that would say this to his people; if you are a parent or know someone who had lost a child you know it is one of the most devestating things we have to deal with in life. What parent wouldn’t rather deal with their own death than a death of a child? Even willing to cry out "Lord take me instead!" And we don’t even have to get to the issue of death, most parents cannot even stand to see their children in pain; with little bo-boos; sick or even just muddled down with life’s issues... we would gladly trade places with them, even when we know they should have made better decisions for themselves.
(22:1-2) But what did God say to Abraham... "take him and offer him, your only son Issac". What God? Have you no regard that Abraham has already lost his son Ishmael? Sarah bannished him to the wilderness, and now his only son (the only one that remains) is now to be offered as a burnt sacrifice. At first glance It makes us really wonder about a God that would ask such a thing; and about the people of Israel that would engage in such practices... and we ourselves would be truly incensed, I think, if God did give us these instructions: What God? are you talking to me? Did you say go offer your son as a "burnt offering?" Lord, I don’t even like for my sons to get sun-burned!
But, sometimes we have mis-read the Bible, like when we always say that Eve offered Adam an "apple"...It doesn’t say "apple" in the Scripture but simply "the fruit of the tree that was in the middle of the garden". (Gen 3:3), and in this passage God did not say to Abraham "go kill your son". That is simply the idea we have gathered from the text, but look again at those few verses - "God tested Abraham, by saying "Take your son, your only son Issac, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I will show you."
You see it was clearly from the beginning a "test" from God for Abraham to simply go and "offer" Issac there as a sacrifice. It is not a issue promoting "child sacrifice, clearly something that was abhorent to" the later nation of "Israel" (1). In fact in Leviticus 20:2-5 "any of the people of Israel who offer their offspring to Molech (mo’-lek) will be put to death". The literal Hebrew root of this word for mo’lek is defined as "to offer sacrifice", and specifically bannish from all Israelite thought and culture the very thought or notion of offering a child as a sacrifice to appease a vengiful god or king (2).
So at first glance we assume that God has directed Abraham to kill his only remaining son, yet clearly the law that is to follow is forbids this very practice. Meanwhile the test from God continues and Abraham without even one protest, packs up his son, his donkey, his firewood, his servants and off he goes into the wilderness in faithfulness to God. Not me, and probably not you...God would have had to drag me off kicking and screeming... even when Uncle Sam called me at home and said "pack your bags you are leaving for the war in Saudi Arabia", I didn’t even just blindly go, but questioned "Why God, why me?" Why not Sgt. Snuffy or Pvt. John Doe? Why me God, I’m being faithful to you?" Or why not I? Since apparently I didn’t even trust His plan for my life, and yet here is Abraham with such "un-comprehensible faith".
It is faith beyond any comprehension! Faith, without doubt! Faith without even questioning that would blindly pick up a knife, and firewood and a son and set off to the distant mountain to make a sacrifice. It is a faith that is so strong that I cannot even begin to get my mind around it (I know that’s hard to believe). I can grasp the faith of a woman who would touch the hem of a garment, hoping for God’s healing power; I can grasp the faith of a blind man sitting by the side of the road crying out for the healer to come; I can even somehow put into thought that miraculously out of a few fishes and loaves God can feed 5,000 people; but such a blind faith that would take the boy as a sacrifice off into the wilderness at the bequest of a testing God - this kind of faith seems just beyond my comprehension, and is a faith of magnitudal proporsions. A blind obediance.