“God will see to it, my son.” Abraham replied. And they moved on. Gen 22:8
About a month ago, our children’s department was going through the story of Abraham. One of the Sunday lessons had the verse above as the memory verse for that week. The story of Genesis 22, where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son has stayed with me. This story has challenged me and brought me to a deeper understanding of what obedience and complete surrendering to God looks like. I want to offer you the opportunity to challenge yourself by looking at this story today.
From the beginning of this story Abraham showed great obedience.
“Abraham!” God called. “Yes, Lord?” he replied.
“Take with you your only son – yes, Isaac whom you love so much – and go to the land of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I’ll point out to you!”
The next morning, Abraham got up early, chopped wood for a fire upon the alter, saddled his donkey, and took with him his son Isaac and two young men who were servants, and started off to the place where God had told him to go. Genesis 22:1-3
How many of us can say we answer God’s call with a “Yes, Lord” and then actually get up the next day and do just as he asked of us? God knew what he was asking of Abraham. God knew the extreme challenge this would be to any parent, whether they had only one or several children (remember Jesus?). Yet, he asked it of him anyway and Abraham’s response was, “yes, Lord,” and then set out to do it. He even went so far as to, “…built an alter and placed the wood in order, ready for the fire, and then tied Isaac and laid him on the alter over the wood. And Abraham took the knife and lifted it up to plunge it into his son, to slay him.” Gen 22:9-10
Could you do this? Have you ever been in a place where you felt like God was asking too much? What was your response, were you confused or confident? Abraham was confident. He never once showed any signs of questioning or challenging God’s deity.
Just before Abraham and Isaac arrived at the place for their sacrifice Isaac asked his father, "where is the lamb for sacrifice," and Abraham said, “God will see to it, my son…and they walked on” Gen 22:9.
Now look at how Abraham reacts when God steps in right before slaying his son.
At that moment the Angel of God shouted to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes, Lord!” he answered.
“Lay down the knife; don’t hurt the lad in any way, the angel said, “for I know that God is first in your life – you have not withheld even your beloved son from me.”
Then Abraham noticed a ram caught by its horns in the bush. So he took the ram and sacrificed it, instead of his son, as a burnt offering on the alter. Abraham named the place “Jehova provides” Genesis 22:11-14
Did you notice Abraham’s response was still, “Yes, Lord?” Did you notice that after the Angel of God spoke to stop him from sacrificing his son, Abraham didn’t lash out at him and say, wasn’t there a better way? Did you have to make me go this far? No, he found a sheep and sacrificed it and named the place “Jehovah provides.”
So, my challenge to you is to review back on any difficult times where you felt God was asking too much. What did you do then? And after reading this passage, what do you think you should have done? Do you feel more prepared to do the right thing now? We do not always make it easy on ourselves to simply say, “yes, Lord.” However, Abraham is a leading example for us to always keep in our minds that as children of God it really is that simple. And when all is said and done are you still worshipping God? Abraham was!
- Jessie Smith, Children's Director