By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
This is a wonderful passage from Hebrews 11. What all would have gone through Abraham's mind when he had to travel 3 days to the land of Moriah and sacrifice his son there on one of the mountains will remain a mystery, unless of course we meet him some day and discuss it. Yet being acquainted with all the emotions that come to us humans, we can fairly assume that this was no menial task. The sorrow and anguish that must have burdened him must have been mighty. Perhaps there must have been quite a few "Why God?" that circulated in his mind while he travelled. Perhaps God would change his mind on the way. Perhaps this was just a bad dream.
No, but it was reality and he had to go through it. Isaac's innocent question must have broken his heart. It must have bled when Isaac asked,"Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7)
Wonder how Abraham got the answer to that one. God must have put it in his heart I guess. Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. (Genesis 22:8)
Then came the heart rending part for Abraham. The Bible says,
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. (Genesis 22:9,10)
I wonder how this man past 100 in age would have held that knife without his hand quivering because he was about to give away what he and his wife had yearned for and received after waiting for 25 years. Perhaps he must have kept his eyes open to a bare minimum and would have wanted the whole affair to be over swiftly. How would he answer the questions of Sarah when he went back?
A 1000 questions and most of them without clear cut answers must have swirled through the old man's mind in the 3 days after he set out from home, but now was the decisive moment. He could make it or break it. And he did not falter.
As he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son, the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:10-14)
Very true, what the writer of Hebrews says. Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
No human pats on the back for him, but heaven's recognition that he truly feared God. The Apostle Paul's interestingly arrives at this conclusion from his study of the life of Abraham.
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:16)
Praise the Lord.