God’s test was meant to reveal if Abraham truly worshipped and loved God above everything else, or if he’d hold something back. Because fo the incredible gift God had given him, Abraham could lose sight of God, and God’s promise, by becoming overly focused on Isaac. He might forget Isaac was a miraculous gift from God.
One definition of sin is when we worship or give our all to something/someone other than God. Sin is when we take something good, make it our ultimate good, and that becomes very bad for us.
Children are good…sometimes. No, okay, they are a “good” thing all the time, even when they are a challenge. But if they become everything, our meaning for living, that becomes very bad. Children don’t always work out like a parent would plan. They make their own choices.
When a parent worships their child, they never question those choices. When a parent worships their idea of a child, they angrily try to force their child into that mold. Neither is healthy.
Isaac is the miraculous, promised child Abraham and Sarah always wanted. God was going to change the world through him, and so this child seemed that much more important.
There seems to be no doubt for Abraham that this is God’s voice, since no hesitation or doubt or anger is described. There is surely just pain and agony, at the seriousness of this. But through it, God had learned that Abraham’s devotion to him was more important than the most important thing in his world. And he’d taught us something about the pain and agony he would endure in giving his only son to actually die for us, when humans would kill Jesus Christ and God wouldn’t hold us back.
We’re called to have the same kind of Abrahamic faith in Jesus, as the one, final, ultimate sacrifice for our sin, and in his resurrection leading to our resurrection. The New Testament even suggests this was happening in Abraham! It suggests Abraham had such faith in God’s plan to bless the world through Isaac’s many descendants, and such faith in God’s clear command to sacrifice Isaac, that he must have believed God would bring Isaac back from the dead. It was the only way he could logic it out. His faith was so strong, he believed God could do the absolute impossible, and that God could be trusted.
Isaac (figuratively) and Jesus in reality are resurrected and brought back from the dead: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” (Hebrews 11:17–19); Jesus “was buried, and . . . was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4).
This is what God did through Jesus. God went all the way, instead of stopping like he allowed Abraham. And Abraham was right, God could raise the promised son of blessing from the dead, when we fully trust him. But trust is so hard for us, yet so necessary.
Thankfully God doesn’t test us all this way.
BUT this story gives us pause. Would you pass this test? IS there anything you value so highly you couldn’t sacrifice it?
Challenge: Offer it to God in prayer. It’s okay to not *want* to give it up. It’s okay to feel angry, sad, afraid as you do. Abraham clearly did. But tell God you would give anything at his command. It’s when we offer everything that we gain the most.
- You can [permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink] online, or by starting a local discussion group!
- Are you meeting just once a week with your discussion group? You can find all of this week’s discussion material in our Weekly Study Guide