And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Here’s a curious statement from Abraham. On his way to obey God’s command to offer his firstborn son as a burnt offering, the father of the faithful turned to his servants and emphatically stated that both he and Isaac would be making the return trip back down the mountain. How could he have possibly known that—given God’s explicit command for Isaac to be sacrificed (verse 2)?
We find the answer given centuries later in the book of Hebrews. The author explains that Abraham concluded that “God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (Hebrews 11:19).
God had given Abraham a son when it was a physical impossibility, so Abraham knew that it would be within God’s power to give his son life a second time. He might not have known exactly what God had planned for the mountaintop, but he went there with absolute faith in God’s promise to establish an everlasting covenant with Isaac and his descendants (Genesis 17:19). Whatever might happen on Mount Moriah, Abraham knew with certainty that he would be returning with his son.
An important lesson to take from this passage (in addition to trusting God to fulfill His promises) is the understanding that God has power over both death and life. Often skeptics will accuse God of claiming to be merciful while slaughtering thousands. What they fail to understand is:
- If God takes a life, there is always a reason.
- God alone has the ability to restore the lives He takes.
Just as Abraham knew that God could resurrect Isaac, we know that God will one day resurrect the multiple billions of people who never truly understood Him or His way. Then He will give them the opportunity to learn in an environment much more favorable than the one they came from.
To learn more about God’s plan to resurrect humanity, see our article “Resurrections: What Are They?”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Abraham Passes His Greatest Test.”