The story of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed is one of the most important stories, which is heavily eschatological in its meaning. This event, most likely ‘sealed the deal’ between God and Abraham, when God promised to make his descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky, and grains of dust on the earth. It challenged Abraham to act in faith, as he was told to kill his only son, and from human understanding, would have ended his line of descendents. This also foreshadowed God’s decision to allow His only begotten son to face execution, for the salvation of all who accept Him.
In Genesis 22, Abraham is asked: “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer hem there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Humanly speaking, Abraham must have been devastated by this request, but the story continues on with Abraham complying with God’s request. Abraham used his free will to comply, and in this story, demonstrated the meaning of walking in faith. Abraham complied with this seemingly ‘irrational’ request, because he trusted in the Word of God, and believed with out seeing.
The story continues with Abraham building an altar and preparing a fire. Isaac made an inquiry pertaining to the sacrificial ‘lamb’ and Abraham answered “God will provide”. The story then states Abraham tied up Isaac and placed him on this altar. What is not stated in the story, but left for matters of faith, is any struggle that took place between Abraham and Isaac. It would seem that Isaac went along with this demand by his father with strict obedience. This story reflects back almost exactly what God the Father would Ask God the Son to do, yet God the Father spared Abraham and Isaac the pain of actual death.
God’s angel appears to Abraham, and tells him to “lay no hand on the lad, or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing that you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me”. Abraham’s love for God exceeded virtually everything on this earth, and Abraham modeled the perfect love that God has for all of us. This event portends the eventual coming of the messiah, and this event was so powerful, that God identifies himself to prophets after this as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. God sees no greater love than one’ laying down his life fro another, and Abraham, despite much personal consternation, was willing to sacrifice what was dearest to him, as to not offend the Lord. How we need to be more like this today.
God then makes a promise to Abraham for the third time. Notice in this third promise, he includes both aspects of the first two promises in one statement: And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the STARS of heaven AND as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice”” Genesis 22: 16-18
If one notices, God does not acknowledge Ishmael as Abraham’s son when it came to the promises made of inhabiting the lands promised to Abraham’s offspring, but also addresses the issue that Abraham’s going along with Sarah to have a child out of wedlock was a God give solution to God’s promise, and apparent procrastination in keeping his promise. This has hermeneutical relevance, in that we cannot change God’s ultimate plans, but definitely can change the pathway in which God’s will is ultimately fulfilled. The descendants of Ishmael continue to be influential in world matters, and are at the heart of what is known as the RELIGION OF PEACE. As was covered 2 weeks ago, this conflict will continue until the time of the anti Christ.
Abraham proved that walking in faith can have unbelievable positive outcomes, just like taking matters into one’s own hands can have very negative consequences. This story shows how one man’s faith can change the course of history, and it is a lesson that is lost to modern man. It is rare that anyone in the Church will walk in faith, and challenge those to walk beyond their own sight and understanding of the major issues of the day. For instance, most in the pro life movement do not believe the issue can be resolved in one swift move, but done in increments. This is the poison of man’s understanding, and not that of God, who is capable of making anything possible, even with one faithful man. We need to look at this story, and take in the lessons of faith, and apply them to our times. After all, God still exists, and is still the same God that wants salvation for all, regardless of how ‘sophisticated’ we think we are.