Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
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 the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:1-18, NASB)
To be honest, this story makes me angry. Think about it: What kind of God could even imagine a father having to sacrifice his own son? Does such a God know anything about the love of a parent? Does He have any idea how dear that one is? A man’s son is his own life, his own being. He has flowed out of his deepest, most personal, most passionate love. A man’s son is more precious than his own life. He would rather rip out his own heart with his bare hands than kill him! Honestly, what kind of a God could even entertain such a thought?
And what kind of a father could actually do such a thing…for anyone, under any circumstances? How could a father thoughtfully plan his son’s killing? How could he think it all through and calmly calculate exactly what it would take to make it all happen? How could he patiently pull together the materials, like he was planning a picnic, then pack it all up, take his son, and travel that long journey with his son right there with him. How could smile at him and talk with him along the way, knowing where they were headed and what he would do to him when they got there?
How could he lay all that heavy wood on him and send him trudging up that hill? How could he watch him struggle to carry the instrument of his own death? How could he tie him up, lay him on the wood, look down into his innocent, trusting eyes, and then, ignoring every impulse of his soul, drive that cold, sharp iron into his sensitive, living flesh?
The whole idea of such a sacrifice is absurd anyway! A sacrifice is a life for a life, right? What, in all this wide universe, could ever merit such a sacrifice? Who is important enough or worthy enough that any father should consider, even for a moment, having to murder his own son to save them? It spits in the face of all that is good and right! Tell me, who could possibly be that worth saving? Who?
What kind of God is that?
What kind of father?
What kind of love would ever do such a thing?
Listen and sing:
Hymn: Genesis 22
Printed Music & Lyrics