Kill My Own Son?
IT SEEMS incredible that God would tell Abraham to “take . . . your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love . . . and offer him there as a burnt offering,” – Genesis 22:2. What sort of God would ask such a thing? What sort of God would test a man’s faith with such a weighty request?
It was a severe test of Abraham’s faith. Perhaps most of us would have failed the test. We might even have rejected God as cruel and bloodthirsty. But Abraham believed God. Though the sacrifice of Isaac seemed to go against God’s promise of an heir, Abraham believed that God would still fulfill His Word, even if it required Him to raise Isaac from the dead (Romans 4:17).
The request was also a harsh lesson that all of life comes from and belongs to God (Genesis 2:7; Job 27:3; 33:4). In essence, life is merely on loan to us, both as parents and children. God can ask for its return at any time. So in that respect, the request to slay Isaac was similar to the difficult period that Abram and Sarai endured as they waited for the birth of this very son (Genesis 18:1–15; 21:1–7). Their lives and the lives of any children they might have were in the hands of God.
Let there be no mistake: God abhors human sacrifice, as many OT passages make clear (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31; Psalm 106:35–38; Ezekiel 20:30-31). So when Abraham was about to slay His son, God stopped him short of the actual sacrifice and provided an alternative in Isaac’s place. It proved to Abraham that his faith was well-placed: God is the God of mercy.
He is also the God of wisdom. He sometimes makes what to us may seem like strange requests. But if like Abraham we will believe and obey, He will reward our faith with His goodness and righteousness.
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