Genesis 22:1-5 NIV

[1] Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am ,” he replied. [2] Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, whom you love---Isaac---and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. ” [3] Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. [4] On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. [5] He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you .”

Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV

[17] By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, [18] even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” [19] Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. 

James 2:21-24 NIV

[21] Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? [22] You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. [23] And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God's friend. [24] You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 


Imagine you’re Abraham - 100 years old, you’ve been waiting and longing to have a son, your wife was unable to conceive, you've made huge mistakes in trying to produce the promise your own way. But then it happens. God does the impossible, your wife becomes pregnant and you're finally holding a healthy baby boy. Think about how much you would adore him.

I used to have a friend whom we called 'WB' which stood for 'Wonder Boy' because his mum practically worshiped him, he could do no wrong in her eyes. That’s what Isaac must have been like to Abraham and Sarah, he’s their wonder boy. He is literally God's gift, a dream come true.

They watch him grow into a young man and they absolutely love him so incredibly much.

And then God says: "Abraham. I want you to take Isaac, the son you love, up a mountain where you will kill him and burn the body. I want you to sacrifice him to me, to lay him on the altar."

Consider how Abraham must have felt in that moment: “What want me to do what...?” As the father of a young boy, an only child, it almost brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

Why would God test Abraham like this? Is God really that capricious and cruel? I don't think so. I can only speculate as to what God might have been doing.

Could it be that after such a long wait for the arrival of this child, Isaac had taken a place in Abraham's heart that only God should have? That his world now revolved around his child and not His Creator?

There is something within us that often takes good things and turns them into 'God things'. We receive the gifts He gives us and then elevate them to a place of importance that only He should have. The Bible has a name for that: idolatry.  Anything that has a space in our hearts that only God should have is an idol.

Let me ask:

What are the most important, precious things in your life?

Who is the most precious person in your life?

What or who could you not live without?

What do you cling to most tightly?

Where do you find your sense of identity?

Where does your happiness and security rest?

Now imagine God saying: "I want you to let it go. Give it away. Walk away from it. Step away from them."

Could you do it? Really? How could Abraham possibly do it?

In that moment, I think Abraham realised that the promise had always been from God and it's fulfilment was always totally dependent on God. And so he could trust God no matter what he was asked to do. No matter the outcome, God had been absolutely faithful and He would be faithful. So he literally places it all on the altar.  He is willing to lay it all down.

He didn't have to go through with it. God wouldn't force him. He made a choice, a decision. We will never know how much actually depended on his willingness to obey God here.

In life, we will all face moments of decision that will determine our destiny, sort out our priorities, reveal our hearts and test our loyalties. While none will be as serious as Abraham's decision, these pivotal points will shape our future and align us with our purpose in ways we may never fully understand. Our decisions determine our direction which leads us to a destination. Holding onto something when God is asking us to let go will take our life down a particular path. Obeying God wholeheartedly, even though we may not understand all the reasons or answers, will point our lives on a different trajectory.

Earlier in Abraham's story he made a statement about the character of God which I believe undergirded his ability to say 'yes' to God here: "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18: 25). It was a rhetorical question, but in Abraham's heart the answer was a clear 'yes'. We too can trust that the Lord of all the earth will always do right.