A study on Abraham & Isaac
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
What a cruel thing God has asked Abraham to do! What kind of God would ask (or even it's just a test) someone to kill his own son?!
Was God's request justified?
God surely knew the outcome of the event. What's the point of the test? Why would God want Abraham to go through such nerve-wracking experience?
What emotions would Abraham have endured while waiting for something he wanted most in his life for decades? Then finally having it? And now being told to kill it with his own hands?
The journey up the mountain took more than 2 days. What could be going through your thoughts and emotions if you were Abraham?
"But where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
The question is not so much 'How could God ask Abraham to kill his son?' if we know the answer to the question 'Where is the lamb for the offering?'
Reflection on Abraham
verse 8: How did Abraham know God would provide? Do you think he really believed in it?
Abraham had already been 'harshly' tested while he waited for a son with Sarah. This was the blessing that defined who he was. And he had no time for another son.
Now God's request was the ultimate test - a test of which is his ultimate blessing: Isaac? Or God Himself?
What does your heart's ultimate desire rest upon today? God's blessings or God Himself? Why is this distinction important?
Reflection on Isaac
What could be in Isaac's mind and emotions as he noticed there really was no lamb?
Imagine Isaac be protesting while he was being bound and put on the wood on the altar.
Isaac had become the blessing because he was spared and a ram was sacrificed in his place. How would Isaac be changed by this experience?