Abraham and Sarah had been living in Canaan for quite a few years, and they had no children because they were old. Then once again God said they would have a son, and a little later Isaac was born. God remembered the promise he had made to Abraham soon after they had arrived in Canaan, and as always, God kept His promise.
One day when Isaac was grown up a bit, perhaps when he was a young teenager, God gave Abraham an unusual message. He said, “Take with you Isaac, your only son whom I know you love, and go to Moriah (which is near Jerusalem) and I will show you on which mountain I want you to sacrifice him to me. “
That must have been very hard for Abraham, but he did just as God had said, and early in the morning he set out with two young men and a donkey, as well as Isaac. When he saw the place God showed him, he stopped. He left the two young men with the donkey, and loaded the wood on Isaac and he himself carried the container with burning fire in it, because they didn’t have matches in those days. And they walked on, just the two of them.
When they had nearly reached the place, Isaac started to ask questions. He said, ‘Here is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for the offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide the lamb for himself”.
Finally they reached the place. Abraham built an altar, put the wood on it, then tied up Isaac and laid him on top. Just as he lifted up his knife to kill Isaac, a voice from God suddenly called out, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he stopped, and said, “Here I am.” Then God said, “Don’t kill the boy, now I know that you will be completely obedient to me, you wouldn’t even put your only son first.”
Then Abraham looked up, and there was a ram (a sheep) caught in the bushes by its horns. So Abraham killed the ram and offered it instead.
Then God’s angel said to him, “Because you have done this and have not kept back your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they all set off home again.
You can read this story for yourself in Genesis chapter 22
See if you can answer these questions:
1. How do you think Abraham felt when God told him to kill Isaac?
2. How do you think Isaac felt when he saw that his father was going to kill him?
3. Was God pleased that Abraham had obeyed Him?
4. Does God want us to obey Him too?