If Abraham thought giving sheep and oxen to Abimelech was a sacrifice, God had news for him! Just like money out of abundance is easy to give, time and affection are much harder.
God asked Abraham to sacrifice what was most dear to him, to demonstrate he believed God would be faithful to his promise “no matter what.”
Despite numerous visons and visits from God, Abraham had wandered in his faith so often, giving Sarah to rulers as a wife, taking a servant to bed with him, and so on. Now he had his son.
Was his faith in his son, or the God who gave him a son?
God wanted to know, although I’m sure he knew what the outcome would be. More importantly, he wanted Abraham to know where his faith lay. In order to do it, he asked for the ultimate sacrifice.
Most of us know the story, how Abraham took Isaac to the mountain, laid him on the altar, raised his hand to kill him when God provided an ox. Abraham proved to himself where his faith lay.
And Isaac also proved where his faith lay. He was the one on the altar, starring wide-eyed at his father as the knife was raised. I’m sure he never forgot that moment, his father was ready to kill him to demonstrate his faith.
Have you ever wondered about the conversation as they came down the mountain? Or do you think they walked in silence, each deep in their own soul, finding meaning in what just happened.
We know God was pleased. He reinforced his promise to Abraham through an angel. Abraham had been faithful.
“By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord,
because you have done this
and have not withheld your son, your only son,
I will surely bless you,
and I will surely multiply your offspring
as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.
And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,
and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,
because you have obeyed my voice.”
We are blessed because Abraham was faithful.
And God was and will be faithful in his promises.