Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Genesis 21:5
100 years old! I could not imagine raising a newborn at that age. But a year earlier the Lord promised that Sarah would give birth to a son.
The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. Genesis 21:1-2
When God says something we can depend on it, no matter how impossible it sounds to us. Sarah snickered when God said she would birth a son. But he was born and Abraham named him Isaac.
Before Isaac was born, Abraham and Sarah made some mistakes. I bring this out because God uses anyone He chooses. Even though you have probably made your share He’ll still use you.
Sarah Decided to Help God
With this couple, we only want to focus on one mistake. Sarah decided they needed to help God by taking things into their own hands. So she came up with a plan that seemed sensible to her.
So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. Genesis 16:2
Hagar, the servant girl did become pregnant which didn’t sit well with Sarah. In fact, Sarah treated her so harshly that she finally ran away. An angel of the Lord found her in the wilderness.
The angel told her to go back and submit to her mistress, Sarah. He also told her that she would have a son. Being from Abraham’s seed, he too would have many descendants. But he also said;
This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” Genesis 16:12
Fourteen years after the birth of Ishmael, Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. When Isaac was about to be weaned, Sarah demanded that Hagar and her son be sent away. Abraham obliged her.
God Tested Abraham’s Faith
The scripture says, “Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith.” God called out to His servant Abraham and he replied, “Here I am Lord.”
“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” Genesis 22:2
From the time Abraham left home with his wife and nephew, he trusted God. This, however, was the ultimate test of his faith. The Bible does not indicate that his faith wavered at all.
The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. Genesis 22:3
For three days Abraham, Isaac, and his two servants traveled until he saw the designated place in the distance.
“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” Genesis 22:5
Abraham’s faith remained as strong as ever. He told the servants that he and Isaac would go and worship together. Then they would both return. They prepared to go and make the sacrifice.
Abraham and Isaac Prepared for the Sacrifice
So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together. Genesis 22:6
At this point, Isaac had no idea what God had asked his father Abraham to do. We know that because of the question he asked his father.
Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Genesis 22:7
Abraham responded to the inquiry of Isaac with a classic answer. He said, “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Then they continued to the designated place.
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, he built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then Abraham tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Genesis 22:9
With his knife drawn back, Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son as the Lord instructed. But at that moment an angel stopped him!
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12
Abraham Passed the Test
I hope you understand that this had nothing to do with the sacrifice of Abraham’s son. It had everything to do with Abraham’s obedience and whether or not he feared the Lord.
God knew how Abraham would respond to His request. Now Abraham also confirmed to himself how deep his commitment was to God. As Abraham told Isaac, God did supply the sacrifice.
Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Genesis 22:13
How the Abraham and Isaac Story Relates to Us
How does this story of Abraham and Isaac relate to us? As you read through the gospels, take note of how Jesus responded to those who exhibited faith in God. He marveled over them.
Faith in the Lord is the foundation of our Christianity. The Apostle Paul referred to Abraham and his faith in the book of Galatians.
“Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. Galatians 3:6,9
Are you ready to share in the same blessing as Abraham? Then base your entire life, everything you have, and everything you are to God.
Lord, thank you for sharing with us this story of the faith of Abraham with his son Isaac. May our faith never waver but continually stand firm on our Rock who is Jesus.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Christian Perspectives