So, this is a confusing section. God asks Abraham to journey to the top of Mount Moriah and offer his son as a sacrifice. For readers who are already steeped in Biblical literature, this is confusing because God says specifically that he abhors human sacrifice. While this practice was not uncommon in the ancient world, it would come to represent the very worst tendencies of the pagan cultures that surrounded Israel. (See King Ahaz and his compromise in II Kings 16:3.) But the story is also confusing on another level and must have been bewildering to Abraham. After all, Isaac is the child of promise. The middle section of Genesis all hinges around the promise to bless Abraham (and eventually the nations) through a human lineage – even as Abraham and Sarah remained childless. And now that the child of promise has finally appeared, Abraham is told to offer him up. Here are some things that we do know. God brings Abraham to the brink of doing something terrible to his son, and in so doing reveals several key truths.
Reflect: Abraham’s dilemma has traditionally been interpreted with a “metaphorical” parallel. Following this approach, when has God called you to a place of decision where you have been asked to hold your greatest treasure (your “Isaac”) before him with open hands? How might he be doing that now?
Connect: In this experience, Abraham got to see a firsthand view of God’s ultimate sacrifice as he offered his only Son as a substitute for our sin. Jesus willingly embraced this plan for our salvation. It was God and not Abraham who would have to follow through on the sacrifice of his own son for the salvation of the world.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
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This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.