9 when they reached the place that God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it. Next, he tied up his son and put him on the wood. 10 He then took the knife and got ready to kill his son. 11But the Lord's angel shouted from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
12“Don't hurt the boy or harm him in any way!” the angel said. “Now I know that you truly obey God, because you were willing to offer him your only son.”
13Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the bushes. So he took the ram and sacrificed it instead of his son.
14Abraham named that place “The Lord Will Provide.” And even now people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15The Lord's angel called out from heaven a second time:
16 You were willing to offer your only son to the Lord, and so he makes you this solemn promise, 17 “I will bless you and give you such a large family, that someday your descendants will be more numerous than the stars in the sky or the grains of sand along the seashore. They will defeat their enemies and take over the cities where their enemies live. 18 You have obeyed me, and so you and your descendants will be a blessing to all nations on earth.”
19Abraham and Isaac went back to the servants who had come with him, and they returned to Abraham's home in Beersheba.
Master class stuff happened on Mount Moriah – surely the most stringent of faith and friendship lessons. This is, after all, Faithbook, not Facebook.
Abraham plods to worship. See him . . . climbing, God’s promised heir close behind? Isaac, through whom redemption’s plan must flow?
It’s a long way up Mount Moriah. Abraham took years to get there. He lived most of them down on the plain, hammering out in spirit, soul and body what it means to be a friend of God. But now . . . the test.
Say what, God? Sacrifice him? The one you promised?
Not even his blunders could thwart God’s plans. Abraham had learned that lesson well. But this . . . this? This horror on Mount Moriah?Can I pass this test, Father?
Faith moves his leaden feet forward. The sacrifice of worship waits. God, too.
Isaac, back laden with wood, keeps pace to the top. But surely he wondered. Perhaps his heart trembled. Then out it spills. “And the sacrifice, Father? Where is that?”
A grasp. An embrace. “God will provide.”Did tears trace a river on a face like sandal leather? Did they spill over Isaac’s smooth skin? Over the ropes snaking around his unresisting body?
My better ideas have long raised a stench to heaven. I am void of myself. He’s yours, Lord. I cannot but trust and obey. Is there any other way?
Knife to sky.
Isaac squints in the sun, his breaths shallow as a moth’s wing. God of my father . . . into your hands. . . His eyes close against his father’s hand.
“STOP!” Angel shouts. Ram bleats. Knife halts.
Isaac breathes deep; wakes as from death. God has provided, Abraham’s faith has been justified. And Isaac’s line will flow all the way to Calvary, to the Lamb of Glory he reflects (Hebrews 11:19), provided in my place and yours.
Provider God, teach me this friendship that holds you more dear than your promises; this submission that trusts you to the razor edge of life.