I could barely get through the reading for December 6 in the Jesse Tree book by Ann Voskamp and Nancy Rodden. Abraham had a son at age 100 to his wife, Sarah, who had been barren up until the angel came. When 90 years old, she was told she would give birth to Abraham’s son. She laughed, and when the baby boy was born, he was named Isaac which means laughter. Oh, the joy that young man brought to the couple! He was the promised one from whom God would build a mighty nation for His own!
One day, it was an ordinary day like every other, God spoke to Abraham and told him to go to the region of Moriah with Isaac. Abraham was probably thinking, “This will be a nice. It will be good to have some alone time with my son.” God told him to take wood and fire along to offer up a sacrifice to the Lord on the mountain. Abraham was thinking this was sounding better and better. He could teach Isaac about the things of the Lord, too. And then God said, “The sacrifice is to be your son.” I knew this story. I had heard it many times as a Christian of 48 years, but my heart was breaking as Isaac asked his father, “Father, we have the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
With tears streaming down my cheeks I could hardly choke out Abraham’s answer as I read the story aloud to my husband, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Did Abraham say this calmly? Did he protest wildly before he began his preparations? Did he say anything to Sarah about God’s request? HOW DOES ONE PREPARE FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS?
Unbelievably, when Abraham and Isaac reach the place God had told Abraham to go, Abraham built an altar there, arranged the wood on it and bound. his. son. to. it.
His hand was in the air ready to use his knife to slay Isaac when the angel of the Lord called out for him to stop. The angel did not have to witness any more, Abraham had passed the test. The angel said, “Do not lay your hand upon the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your own son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12 NIV)
When Abraham looked up there was a ram caught in a thicket. I imagine him unbinding Isaac from the wood and helping him down off the altar, but I can’t see Isaac’s face. Was he white with sheer terror or just a bit confused? Did they spend a lot of time afterwards talking about what had just happened or did they just understand one another? Had Isaac heard the angel, too? And what about Abraham, was he sweating? Did he untie Isaac with shaking hands? Did he grab the boy and hold him to himself? All the Bible tells us is that Abraham placed the ram in Isaac’s place and called the place The Lord Will Provide. Did they worship like they never had before?
And what about us? What does all this have to do with us? Tomorrow we will talk together about the Lamb who took our place–mine and yours. Please come back and be with me, won’t you. This is our story. May we share it together?
Walking with Him this Wednesday,