Abraham tried to kill Isaac?!?

Feb 10, 20 Abraham tried to kill Isaac?!?

Why did God want Abraham to kill Isaac?

Approximately 2,000 years B.C., there lived a man from Ur (a city-state in ancient Mesopotamia), named Abraham. God promised Abraham a son, but there was a “slight” problem: Sarah, his wife, was barren. A lot of time (and unnecessary drama) occurs between God’s original promise to Abraham and Sarah’s delivery of their son, Isaac (which means “God laughs” – an interesting side-story). So, yay! A son is born!


         When Isaac is at least 16 years old, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son to Him (as a burnt offering). Now, this is crazy! And it is against their belief system tenets: you do NOT make human sacrifices to God! But Abraham is certain that he has correctly heard God, so he and Isaac hike a mountain, Isaac carrying the wood to burn the sacrifice. When they reach the spot where God has led Abraham, he draws a knife, ready to carry through with God’s directive. Isaac asks, “Dad, where’s the lamb for the sacrifice?”, and God intervenes, telling Abraham, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns.” Genesis 22:12,13 ESV. Instead, Abraham sacrifices the ram as the burnt offering.  


It seems extreme for God to demand such obedience from Abraham. He had yearned for a descendant and God very nearly took it from him! Yes, God intended to test him, and not unfairly considering the possible outcomes.


Why was it a test? The implication in the original Hebrew language, means drawing out a response from a person that will change them into what God intended, someone closer to Him. God knew Abraham’s allegiance for his son was strong, and that it had the capacity of replacing Abraham’s reverence of God, into a worship of his own son.


After the test, God allowed Abraham the desires of his heart (Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart) and God promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven (Genesis 22:16-19). God even adds, (vs. 18) and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice”.


God not only gave Abraham a promise, He gave the world a promise, recorded and prophesied throughout the Hebrew Scripture, which is also the Christian Old Testament. God promised He would send a king to rescue His people from tyranny. The reason: Evil infected mankind in the Garden of Eden, when mankind heeded satan’s voice, embraced selfishness, and through denying alliance with God, fell from a relationship with Him, and the cost: instant spiritual death, and eventually, physical death. God soon after established a substitutionary sacrifice system (Leviticus 17:11) to make temporary atonement.


Approximately 2,000 years after Abraham, Jesus, his descendant, was born. His people were expecting him, but they expected a man who would establish himself as a triumphant earthly king, reigning forever. They didn’t expect him to also be the Man of Sorrow (also prophesied). Jesus repeatedly told his followers that he’d eventually be heading to Jerusalem, so that he could be put to death. And he went willingly to die by crucifixion on a roman cross, a mode of death both humiliating and “excruciating” (a word invented for this experience).


When he died, his followers were shaken! This man had showed such power! Surely, he was the anointed one of God, the Messiah. And he seemed even more! He wielded the power only God could! He vanquished demons, controlled the weather, read minds, healed the sick, raised the dead, and twice fed over 5,000 men and their families!


But he DID die… After being buried in a tomb by his friends, on the third day, he rose (was resurrected) from the grave. JUST as he told them he would! His kingdom wasn’t of this world, but it did embrace earth because the evil tyrant, Death and satan, were conquered and we could now be set free. Jesus had paid our debt for our selfishness.


John 3:16 NKJV “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”


How God loves us, the world. He woos us, shows us our distance from Him and our need for Him. He sent Jesus, as God incarnate. The Bible claims that Jesus is the Lamb of God. What God did not require Abraham to do, He did: God sacrificed His only son, as a permanent atonement, because He knows only He has the power to restore life to us. Jesus claimed himself as “the bread of life”, “the resurrection and the life”, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. That’s a lot of life! Jesus said, “The thief (satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). He only IS our necessary spiritual food. Through his willing sacrifice, he gives each person the opportunity to be reconciled and restored to God, his father. If you haven’t yet made a decision to trust in what Jesus did, and does and what we can never do, please consider his offer.


         God bless you! Praise God that His Truth as expressed in the birth of His son, Jesus, is not a future event but an event over 2,000 years old. Yes, we have a living Hope. May His grace cover you in this sad, broken, and turbulent world.



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