And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Isaac was an impossible child. The very fact that Sarah was able to conceive and give birth to her son flew in the face of biology and probability. He was a gift from God—one for which Sarah and Abraham had waited patiently (and, at times, impatiently) for decades. Abraham was a man of vast wealth, but Isaac was without a doubt his most treasured possession.
And then God told Abraham to kill him.
“Heartrending” probably doesn’t do justice to the kind of internal anguish Abraham experienced upon hearing that command. He had to choose between holding on to his dearest blessing or obeying the God who gave him that blessing.
But, Abraham had come this far trusting God, and he refused to let that trust waver now. The God who had guided him for so many years was the same God he trusted to guide him through the harrowing moments on Mount Moriah. It was a test he passed with flying colors, thus foreshadowing the incredible love that God the Father showed us in allowing His firstborn Son to be sacrificed for us.
At the last minute, just before Abraham plunged his knife into Isaac, God sent ”the Angel of the Lord” (the pre-existent Jesus Christ) to stop Abraham (verses 10-11)! What a rush of relief he must have felt when God sent this Messenger to stay his hand.
There are times in life when God wants to see what matters more to us—the blessing or the God who gave us the blessing. Abraham’s obedience and faithfulness to God even when faced with giving up the son he loved more than life itself is a powerful reminder to us about our need to put God first in our life.
Study Jesus Christ’s words in Luke 14:26-33 to see the level of sacrifice Christ expects from His followers today. Even though most Christians do not have to give up family to follow Jesus Christ today, the point of this section of Scripture is that we have to be willing to “forsake all” to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (Luke 14:33).
For a greater examination of this and other tests of Abraham’s faith, see our article “The Faith of Abraham.”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “The Blessings Become Unconditional.”