This is one of the most talked about passages in all of Genesis. Maybe the whole Old Testament.
It’s a crucial element of this story to remember that all the stuff we know about God after Genesis 22 Abraham does not know. In fact, Abraham knows precious little about who God is, what God is like and what God wants.
So I think we should sit with Abraham. What’s happening in this story through his eyes? What is he experiencing?
So I think we should sit with Isaac. What’s happening in this story through his eyes? What is he experiencing? He knows even less about this deity than Abraham. We’re not told how old Isaac is, but we can presume he’s a young boy or teenager. Can you imagine what it might be like as a young person to go through this experience?
And most mysterious of all, I think we should sit with God. What is happening in this story through the eyes of God? What is God experiencing? What’s at stake in the story if Abraham fails the test?
Child sacrifice was normal religious practice for the pagans living all around Abraham. So while for us, this is a horrible and shocking request from God, from Abraham’s personal experience, it’s not that out of the ordinary. The shock for Abraham is this is his Isaac, his laughter, his son of promise he’s waited all these years for, the only son he’s got.
Is he willing to let Isaac go for the sake of God? Are there things in my life I can be willing to let go for the sake of God?
What about you? What do you see?