Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go. . . . Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering.” (Gen. 22:2)
Whenever there is a Bible study class on Genesis, questions always arise from inquiring minds about the proposed sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham. A common theme of those questions is the mental capacity of Abraham: What was Abraham thinking? How could Abraham entertain such an idea? How would he provide a justification of his actions? In verse 2, there are three compelling imperatives: “Take,” “Go,” and “Sacrifice him.” It would not be unusual for anyone reading this text to question the sanity, emotional state, and actions of Abraham.
What makes this text even more interesting is that, when as readers we question Abraham, we already understand that God is testing him. Verse 1 clearly states, “Some time later God tested Abraham.” God never intended for Abraham actually to sacrifice Isaac; it was all a test of Abraham’s obedience to God. However, in the narrative of Isaac’s sacrifice, the story never indicates that Abraham understood that it was a test.
The reality is that Abraham was obedient to the will of God. Abraham was willing to engage in the power of obedient faith to God’s will. Before Abraham even heard God’s request, his first response to God calling his name was, “Here I am” (v. 1). Abraham trusted God, and his obedient faith reflected that trust, just as God expects us to trust and obey today.
Respond with obedient faith today when God calls your name.
Chris Whetlor serves as spiritual formation pastor at Real Life Wesleyan Church in Mechanicsville, Maryland, and is completing a DMin in spiritual formation at Wesley Seminary.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.