God’s requirement of Abraham in this passage was of greatest difficulty. Honestly, I don’t have adequate words to describe the misery Abraham must have been in as he prepared to follow in obedience as God called him to sacrifice his son. It wasn’t as if this was a quick ordeal. He had to prepare for the trip, gather his supplies, and then travel close to 45 miles WITH Isaac. We all know that feeling of dread when we have something on our agenda that will be difficult or uncomfortable. The days leading up to it we feel sick and anxious. I’m sure that feeling is nothing compared to the days of travel that Abraham endured. Even in the midst of what must have been emotional torment, he trusted God. He trusted that the God he served was faithful. God had promised to provide a son for Abraham, and He did. If God was going to ask him to give that son up, he knew that God would provide yet again.
We are blessed with a view of the story in its entirety, so we know that ultimately God was testing the faith of Abraham. He was not going to have him kill his one and only son. The faith Abraham displayed was of great note. Even as Isaac began questioning the lack of sacrificial animals, Abraham simply responded with expectation of God’s providence. This provision turned out to be that of a sacrificial ram in the thicket. Imagine the relief and joy that must have overtaken Abraham’s heart as he pulled that ram free and began praising God! He had pleased the Lord with his faith and obedience and the Lord vowed once again to bless the nations through his lineage. How amazing is the greatness and glory of God that is on display in this instance!
The rich imagery of the gospel in this account sets the tone for what is to come and brings goosebumps to my skin. I challenge you to read this passage just one more time. But read it slowly looking through the lens of God’s eventual sacrifice for our sins. What parallels and foreshadowing do you see? I could line them out for you but what fun is that? As you you see God’s plan unfolding and you observe Abraham’s faithfulness, be reminded that the life of a Christ follower is not an easy one. Your faith will certainly be tested, trials will come, and opportunities for uncomfortable obedience will be plentiful. If you are in one of these places today, take comfort knowing the God you serve is faithful. If you aren’t in one of these places, check on your brothers and sisters…encourage them in their walk and lift them up in prayer.