After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:1-14 NRSV)
Wow. I remember talking a lot about this story in seminary. We all wanted to call it the sacrifice of Isaac. That is what we have heard it called in Sunday school. We learned it that way so that has to be the right answer…
But was Isaac sacrificed? If he wasn’t sacrificed how can it be the sacrifice of Isaac? Our professor in seminary said we should call it the binding of Isaac, because while Isaac was not sacrificed, Abraham had bound him and was ready to sacrifice him.
Can you imagine what must have been going through Abraham’s mind? He just told Isaac that God would provide a lamb for the offering, knowing what God had asked him to do. I can not imagine doing this to any of my children (even on their worst behavior days). The gift given by God, how can He possibly ask for me to give it back, and not only give it back but play a part in the demise?
Abraham shows a vast and profound faith that many of us do posses we just don’t want to lay claim to it. When we step out and do something because we know that it is what God has called us to do we are stepping out in faith. We may never be asked to do something like sacrificing our children, but He will ask us to sacrifice our lives. You see God knew that Isaac was Abraham’s most prized possession, and for that reason Abraham was asked to sacrifice him.
What is your most prized possession? Is it taking God’s place in your life? Can you sacrifice it so that God has His proper place in your life?
Bind your life to Him and God will always provide what you need.