I have had many thoughts racing through my brain as to what I was going to focus on with my thought of the week. In this week’s reading we have two covenants God makes, the first with Noah in Genesis 9 and the second with Abraham in Genesis 15, we also have the account of the Tower of Babel and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with Abraham’s account with Melchizedek, who we read about later in Hebrews 5. Along with this, we have read many Psalms, some of praise, some of justice, and some of mercy. Then in the book of John, we have read about many of Jesus’ miracles and signs he performed, ending with the raising of Lazarus from the dead and a growing plot to kill Jesus. I could focus on any one of these things, but where I landed was in Genesis 22.
Regardless of how many times I read the account of Abraham going to sacrifice his son Isaac, I am always blown away. The first thing we must look at when reading Genesis 22 is the previous seven chapters, where we see God promise Abraham that his offspring will be as numerous as the stars in the sky (Gen 15:5), and that Sarah will have a son and through him will be kings of nations (Gen. 17:16). In chapter 21 we have the birth of Isaac, Abraham’s true son, the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant! Then we turn the page to chapter 22:2 and see God say, “Take your son, your only son Isaac whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
What goes on in your mind here? I am sure that when read from a father’s perspective it is horrifying, because from a son’s vantage it is disturbing, but what we see an incredible act of faith in action here by Abraham… He goes. Abraham is obedient to the point of tying up his and holding up the knife to kill him. Thankfully it does not end with the death of Isaac, but instead the substitution of a ram. Can you imagine the conversation on the way home?
As we ponder this, let it point us to Jesus and His sacrifice. We can look at Jesus as not only the better sacrifice (Isaac), but also as the one more obedient than Abraham. My mind likes to immediately put God the Father in Abraham’s role and God the Son (Jesus) in Isaac’s, but I think upon further contemplation Jesus belongs in the role of Abraham and Isaac in complete obedience to the God the Father who sent Him. Jesus was sent to bring a sacrifice to all who would believe, and that sacrifice was Himself, and this sacrifice brings eternal life!
Let us not just think about the obedience of Abraham and Jesus, but let us also be obedient to God’s word! You might ask, what does that look like? Keep on reading to find out!