Abraham Tested – Genesis 22:1-14
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 2 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.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham,“Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 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. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lordcalled out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “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.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 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.”
Today’s devotion was written by our VOTL member, Kevin Begnaud
In recent history, occasionally people have “sacrificed” their children, while announcing to the world that the Lord had told them to do this. Personally, I thought they were absolutely crazy! (Side note: they probably were.) Do any of you believe that such thoughts might’ve passed through Abraham’s mind when he was commanded by the Lord to do the same? That other people were going to think he was crazy when they heard about all of this?
The Lord spoke to Abraham and told him to take his son Isaac to a mountain in the region of Moriah and there to sacrifice him as a burnt offering to the Lord. This is the only time in the history of the world that God asked a Christian to sacrifice his child to him. The other people who today claim, “God told me to do this” are crazy – but Abraham wasn’t. Remember that Abraham was pretty old by then; at least 110 or so? He had also been promised by the Lord 35 years earlier (although he was already old at that time!) that he would have a child and that his “offspring” would be more numerous than the stars in the heavens.
How could the Lord have begun to bring that promise to fruition, and yet now, seemingly, intend to take it away?
Often, in our lives, we are called upon to have trust in the Lord Jesus, above all things. Many times putting our trust in Jesus doesn’t make sense to our human minds. We cannot contemplate how following Jesus in those instances, making a leap of faith, will see us successfully to the end. We must remember at those time, however, that the purpose of our lives should be to seek and live in accord with the will of God. We listen to his Word. We do what he says. Trusting in Jesus is the only way to accomplish that!
That’s really all that God wanted out of Abraham – his heart. He wanted Abraham to love him more than he loved his son Isaac. Once Abraham’s heart passed the “trust test” – what happened with Abraham and Isaac up on that mountain as he was about to sacrifice his already bound son? The Lord spoke out to him, commanding him to stop, expressing how He now knew that Abraham feared God, fully prepared to trust in Him and not withhold from Him his only son. Earlier, in response to Isaac’s questioning, Abraham even responded with the answer we should hold as the dearest treasure in our hearts. He said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
Jesus, in whom we place our trust at all times, followed the will of His Father, unto death on the cross, as the lamb provided by God as a sacrifice for our sins. With such an offering given for us, out of the love of our Father, how can we not take refuge in the knowledge of the saving grace provided us through this loving sacrifice? How can we not place our trust in Jesus, as He Himself placed His in the Father?
After all, the only thing God wants is our hearts.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me at all times to have trust in your Son, Jesus, in all things. When the frailties of our bodies, or the limits of our minds, lead us into confusion, worry or questioning about whatever circumstances we are going through, please help us to remain trusting in Jesus. Help us to have peace in our hearts and calmness in our souls such that we can maintain faithfulness to the end of such trials, having a faith that enables us to keep in mind that all things work to your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!