God tested Abraham’s faith in Him by commanding that he take his one and only son, whom the Lord promised him, and offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain. I imagine if I were Abraham I would be completely confused and angered by this command. God had just promised him a son and to bless him with many generations, and now he’s asking that he give Isaac up? That doesn’t make any sense! But that’s the thing about faith. It doesn’t make any sense to the world, but to the eyes who have faith it’s obedience. And that’s what Abraham did, he was obedient. It says in verse 3 that he rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey. If you remember in verse 2 the command that God gave Abraham was that he would “take NOW your son”.
He did was asked of him without hesitation and did as the Lord commanded early in the morning. I’d like to think that maybe Abraham was questioning why the Lord would have him do such a thing, but it doesn’t say that here n Genesis, all it says is that he obeyed.
I think it’s easy for us as humans to receive that command or call and just ignore it, or to not obey immediately, but that’s not what the Lord asks of us. His timing is perfect and his words are true. Sure I may not understand what He is orchestrating in my life or why He has called me to a certain place but I can sit and rest with comfort knowing that he is working all things out for my good. It may not feel good and it may not feel right, but it’s “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
So Abraham took his son up to the mountain, the place of his trial, and bound Isaac up and laid him on the alter, ready to sacrifice His one and only son, whom he loves dearly. But right as he stretched out his hand with the knife to slay his son, the angel of the lord stopped him. And in vs 12 he says, “do not lay your hand on the lad, 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.”
What a test of faith. Abraham was willing to do it, because he was obedient unto the Lord no matter if he understood the reason why or not. And here we find out that the Lord was using that situation he brought upon Abraham to test his faith. God knew it all along, before the foundations of the world he knew, but did Abraham? While reading this passage I couldn’t help but be reminded of God’s sacrifice for us, giving his only son to be sacrificed as a lamb for the sins of the world. Abraham did not withhold his son, his only son, from God, and neither did God withhold his only son for us. God’s plan and his timing is perfect. He knew that Jesus would be this sacrifice before the foundations of the earth as it says in the very last book in the Bible. Revelation 13:8
And yet here we see in the first book of the Bible, way before any of the events of the New Testament, God using this same concept to test the faith of Abraham. He is not a cruel God. He’s loving and He’s just. He loves us so much that he actually did give his only son, what he held dearest. I think that God takes us through these trials of life to where we can get to a point where we can say, “I have not withheld anything from you.” Where we can be completely submitted to His will and fully His. Abraham submitted to God’s way of bringing Him to that point no matter the road of getting there, or even the mountain so to speak.
Vs. 16 “by myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because yo have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall posses the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Abraham received that promise from God long before in Genesis 12, but he had to wait and be patient for God’s perfect timing. His promises are never failing. Abraham first had to be obedient and trust in God for these promises to hold value and for Abraham to receive them. Remember the last part of this passage? “Because you have obeyed my voice.” All the blessings before this phrase were dependent on this, whether or not Abraham would be obedient.
Following God and trusting in His voice is not an easy thing, I’ve experienced this personally these past 4 and a half months. There’s a cost of discipleship and sometimes that cost can be everything. But to put my trust in God alone and to follow Him no matter the road He takes me through is so worth it. It’s such a beautiful thing to see where He can take me when I submit myself completely to His will. It’s not about me anymore but rather sharing God’s love and his heart towards His people: and I get to take part in that! Sure it’s not the way I wanted but it’s what God wanted in my life to break my self-centered will and make me completely His. He’s changing me little by little, taking out my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh, a heart that breaks for what breaks His. Ezekiel 11:19-20 “then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the soft heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep my judgements and do them; and they shall be My people and I will be their God.”