Read: Genesis 22:1-19
Abraham . . . took the knife to slaughter his son. (v. 10)
This story is from a very different time. The idea of animal sacrifice is foreign enough; human sacrifice is unimaginable. Could God ask for the sacrifice of a child? Why? The story is a puzzle. The Scripture says God was testing Abraham, which makes God sound less than omniscient. Perhaps God knew what he needed to know about Abraham, but Abraham needed to learn more about God.
Yet I believe this ancient, puzzling story spoke in very direct and powerful ways to the people of Israel. Imagine living through either the exodus or the exile, the two great shaping events in Israel’s history. It would be normal to wonder if your people would survive. Would there be a next generation? Would faith endure? I imagine the people of ancient Israel took great comfort in the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham and Sarah were promised multiple descendants in their old age. When they finally had a son, they almost lost him. If we turn our focus from the why of this story to the what, we see it as a story of God’s provision. Abraham believed throughout that God would provide. Look closely, even when Abraham told his servants about his plans, he said that he and Isaac would return (v. 5). When asked about the offering, he said, “God will provide” (v. 8). This story of provision and survival brought great comfort.
How about us? In the face of much uncertainty, do we believe faith will endure to new generations? —Jeff Munroe
As you pray, pray for the next generation.
About the Author
Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.