For years, God had promised to Abraham that he would “make of him a great nation” and through his offspring “all the families of the earth would be blessed” (Genesis 12).
Finally, Sarah gives birth to their son. And then God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son.
Will Abraham follow God’s command? Should Abraham follow God’s command? Can Abraham trust God?
Abraham did follow through with God’s command and at the point of sacrifice the angel of the Lord stops Abraham.
But why would Abraham even have been willing to go so far?
Because God had made to him a specific promise. Abraham was to be the father of many, which meant that this child also was to be the father of many.
The New Testament book of Hebrews explains it this way: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able to raise Him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)
On previous occasions, Abraham wavered in his trust of God. While he believed God’s promise, he kept thinking that he needed to take the next step to make it reality.
However this time, Abraham believed God and believed that God would actually do what was necessary to fulfill the specific promise.
In other words, Abraham was so convinced that God would do as he promised, that he believed God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary to fulfill that promise.
Abraham believed God’s faithfulness to the point that he was willing to give up his only son. God didn’t let him do it.
The angel of the Lord says to Abraham, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
Abraham wasn’t to sacrifice his son. Another sacrifice was provided.