“Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” —Genesis 22:3
In Abraham’s journey with God, he learned many lessons from his mistakes. When God told Abraham to take his only son Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering, Abraham did not waver in unbelief, but was quick to obey. Obedience does not mean it was easy, however; the narrator displayed the struggle Abraham was having by intentionally slowing down the story with specific details of what Abraham was doing.
At this point in Abraham’s life, he worshipped El Shaddai, the God over everything, and relied on His Word completely. When Abraham, Isaac and his servants got to the place God told Abraham, Abraham said, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5). Did we catch what Abraham said? “We will worship and then we—the two of us—will come back.” Abraham did not know how it was going to work out, but he was holding on to the promise of God. The author of Hebrews provides divine insight into what was going on in Abraham’s mind at that moment: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced 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 even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death’” (Hebrews 11:17-18).
Abraham went up that mountain with Isaac, trusting that even if he killed his son and burned him up completely, the promises of God would not fail. When Abraham reached where God told him, he built an altar, arranged the wood, bound up Isaac and laid him on top of the wood. When Abraham was about to slay Isaac with a knife, the angel of the LORD called out to Abraham, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” Abraham replied. The angel of the LORD continues, “Do not lay a hand on the boy, do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:11-12).
The whole testing was to see if Abraham trusted in the integrity of God. Abraham demonstrated that he did by his obedience to what God asked him to do. Abraham learned from his past the character of God, and he knew that El Shaddai is the God over everything—the God he, and we, could trust.
PRAYER: Sovereign God over everything, I praise You that You are always trustworthy. Thank You that each lesson that I learn draws me to a deeper knowledge of You and Your unchanging character.