An Unsettling Story


I find the story in Genesis 22:1-18 unsettling. God told Abraham to take his only son Isaac, for whom he had waited nearly a century, and offer him as a burned (holocaust) offering.  Three days they traveled before Abraham looked up and saw the place.  Abraham put the wood for burning on Isaac’s back while he carried the fire and knife.  “Where’s the lamb?” Isaac asked.  “God will provide,” his father answered.

On the mountain Abraham tied up Isaac, put him on wood on the hastily erected altar, and raised the knife to slaughter his son, as if he were no more than a lamb led to the slaughter.  Only at the last instant the Lord intervened.  Once again, Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in a thicket. The Lord had provided.

I know all that.  I know the parallels drawn with God offering his own only Son on the cross for us and for our salvation.  I know Jesus is the lamb of God whose own head was caught in a thicket of thorns.  As a result, God has multiplied his blessings, grace upon grace.  Through Jesus all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because he obeyed his Father’s voice.

So, I will accept what God has done for me through his only begotten Son.  But I still find the story of Abraham and Isaac unsettling.  Maybe I should also be unsettled a bit about the story of our Heavenly Father and his own son, lest I take it for granted.


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