By Travis Lauterbach
Most people have some knowledge of what happened between Abraham and his son, Isaac. For many, the story from Genesis 22 is just plain confusing.
At first what seems to only be about Abraham’s loyalty toward God, turns out to be God’s faithfulness to the world.
Here’s a summary.
God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar on Mount Moriah. Abraham does as he’s told. He brings Isaac to the mountain, binds him on the altar, and prepares to slay his son.
At the point Abraham raises his knife to do the deed, the Angel of the Lord suddenly arrives and demands Abraham to stop.
Frankly, the story is so bizarre, until one gets down to detail.
Abraham is told to sacrifice the only son between himself and Sarah.
This is a key detail. Before Isaac was born, Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations. But he and Sarah were advanced in years.
After more years of not having any children, Abraham’s faith began to waver a bit. He believed God would fulfill the promise, but the heir would be a servant of Abraham. God basically said, “No, your own son will be your heir.”
After more years of not having any children, Abraham’s faith wavered again. Sarah told him to take her servant as his wife and have a son through her. The servant gave birth to Abraham’s son, Ishmael.
Abraham thought he’d succeeded in taking things into his own hands. However, God told him, “No, Sarah will give birth to your son.”
Some time later, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Isaac was their only son. The son of promise. The heir through whom would eventually come the Messiah.
It’s not to overly dramatic to say that the promise they looked forward to most, is to continue through Isaac.
But God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. For years, Abraham doubted God’s promises off and on.
As the story unfolds, this time Abraham has grown to trust God’s command to the point that he would have been willing to sacrifice his only son.