Had the brokenhearted father been one of the self- or demon-deluded pagans whose lives are described in the same amazing volume which chronicles his, perhaps the grisly request of a bloodthirsty “deity” for still more blood would have made a kind of morbid sense.
Exactly how the request came, and what form it took, we’re not told, but that it was a true and authentic command of the only true and living God was absolutely a matter of no doubt.
Not to him.
Not to Abraham.
The “father of the faithful,” the “exalted father,” the one christened by God “father of a multitude” was being asked by the Father of the universe to offer as a sacrifice, killed by a sharp knife, and consumed by fire atop an altar, that son of promise, the only son through which that “multitude” could be born and the promise could be realized.
Yes, Abraham would have expected such a command from a god or gods deluding pagans, but it was unlike any command he had ever received from the living God. It was absolutely unlike . . . well, unlike God.
But it was indeed God’s command.
What son was he to offer? God himself had said it—that dear son, dearer than life itself, the son “whom you love.”
God knew what he was asking. God the Father was asking father Abraham to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and to give him up.
God knew that Solomon would later build his temple atop that hill.
God knew how many lambs would one day be slaughtered there and how many sacrifices would be made. Atop that hill.
And, as brokenhearted but absolutely faithful Abraham was himself dying inside with every step towards Moriah, who knew better than God the thoughts that go through the mind of a brokenhearted father about to watch his son die at the top of a cruel hill?
Abraham’s son was old enough to carry the wood for the sacrifice. Isaac was old enough to realize that this sacrifice was like none he had ever before witnessed. Isaac was old enough to resist when his old father, with tears streaking down his face and wetting his gray beard, placed him on the altar, bound him, and raised a knife. Abraham was a heartbeat away from piercing his dear son, slashing his own soul, and watching his own fondest hopes bleed out as Isaac’s life-blood stained the altar.
But God stayed his hand.
Now both God and Abraham knew that Abraham would be absolutely faithful.
What Abraham couldn’t know was that God’s own Son would humbly and obediently allow himself to be bound to wood atop another terrible hill. Hands would be raised to pierce him. And God would not stay those hands.
God the Father of all life and all love would through his own tears be absolutely faithful.
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Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.