Well we have finally gotten to the end of the week and Bryan Wilkerson finished the journey of Abraham where we could have expected: Genesis 22 – also known as the testing of Abraham’s faith. Now, I have heard this story at least 60 times – I kid you not. I think the more I hear it though, the more I am convinced that the story of Abraham is a story that we need to experience in a very tangible way. I am sure you know the story well.
Abraham is called to sacrifice his son on a mountain God would show him. Instead of taking his time, Abraham gets up early the next day and begins a three-day journey to, as Abraham states, “Worship God and return.” Isaac has no clue what is in story for him as they journey. What interests me is that Abraham, with all of the servants a man would want, decides to cut all the wood, sharpen his night and provide a source for fire without a servant’s assistance. I think maybe Abraham had to do this on his own so that he could reason within himself that God was actually calling him to do this. I am not sure why but my guess and your guess is as good as any. We are told that Abraham did the work – that’s all we really know about the situation.
After doing the work, he placed the wood on his son to carry and Abraham carried the rest. I find it interesting also that Abraham was so positive that God would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. He is so confident that it doesn’t seem to bother him that he had not brought a lamb to sacrifice. When they reach the mountain, Abraham bounds his son and takes out the knife to slaughter his son. To you and I, this is crazy. Think about the implications of Abraham’s actions: Could you imagine telling your friends, “Hey guys. God spoke to me and I am supposed to kill my son.” I wonder what Sarah thought about their journey. I wonder if she even know about the conversation Abraham had with God regarding the sacrifice of her son. I am tending to bet that Abraham didn’t tell Sarah of their journey. If Sarah is anything like my mom, I am convinced that she would have put up a great fuss about the situation, as any mother would, and probably would have tried to convince Abraham not to go through with it. For Abraham’s sanity, I would tend to guess that Abraham left early in the morning as to not wake his wife for their journey. Again, that is just my personal thought – I can’t prove it.
Just before Abraham was about to drive the knife into his son, God calls out to him to stop and not harm his son. It must have been a relief to Abraham that he didn’t have to kill his son. The son of promise was not to be destroyed. In the thicket, there was a ram that was sacrificed in Isaac’s place.
I think what we need to take away from this story is that God is a very jealous God. He does not want anything to take the place of our devotion to him. In that respect, God might call us to be willing to give something up to show that our dependence is in God and not in ourselves. I don’t think God would call any of us to murder our children. In fact, I am very convinced that God would never ask us to do something of that nature. I think for Abraham, this was a learning experience understanding that God is who He is. I think it is a learning experience for us as well. God does not take “sloppy seconds.” He wants our best. He wants to know that we rely on Him and not another thing. I think Bryan Wilkerson explained this well through his lecture today. I hope we can continue to learn how much God loves us and that we would continually be willing to rely/lean/trust in God for all that He is and all He can and will do for us. God bless.