Genesis 22:9-14 (ESV)
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
This passage is certainly one of the most challenging in scripture, but perhaps the best thing for today is to let it challenge us personally as we consider the great test of Abraham recorded here, and the story of his faith and obedience.
This is the heart wrenching story of a father and his son. Notice how the Lord speaks of “your son, your only son” as He calls out to Abraham. Try to imagine the intensity of this moment. Abraham had been given a great promise from God, and not only was Isaac precious to Abraham as his beloved son, but he was the embodiment of that promise.
Abraham passed this test and walked up the mountain with his son to obey God. The one thing we know is that he believed and trusted that God would do something. He told his son, God will provide. He is commended by the Lord because he did not hold anything back from God.
This is where the story makes a claim on us. We are not called to give things up just to be denying something. We are called to yield to God, so we can have that which is of great worth and value—His life. On that mountain, the Lord intervened, and Abraham and Isaac received a new name of God: Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. This was no small thing, but rather a merciful and powerful and life-giving provision.
Father in heaven, we ask for faith like Abraham who held nothing back but fully trusted you. Search our hearts and reveal to us any places we are holding back. When we are required to lay something upon the altar, then help us ask that the Holy Spirit will give us the grace to yield with our whole heart. Thank you, Father, for giving us your Son, your beloved Son, who died for us and rose again that we might live. Thank you, Jesus. We praise and worship you. Amen.