One year ago on August 4, I created my first blog post. That post introduced the theme for this blog – desiring to lift up God’s name. The Bible describes many men and women with interesting accounts much more courageous and God centered than any posts I have written. Their stories recount God’s chosen; those who desired to lift up His holy name. They were men and women displaying unending confidence and trust in all God asked them to do. And one of those faithful men is Abraham.
Abraham was first known as Abram, son of Terah. Abram grew up in Ur, a very vibrant city in its time. When Abram was grown and married to Sarai, the Bible tells us his father attempted to move the family to Canaan. They traveled north along the Euphrates River, verses heading directly west by crossing the desert. But for some reason once they arrived at the city of Harran, they decided to settle there.
After Terah died, the LORD spoke to Abram telling him to take his family and all that they had, and continue to Canaan. With God’s command came a great blessing:
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
Abraham obeyed and did not hesitate when God spoke to him. Abraham “went as the LORD had told him.” Just as Abraham did not hesitate or question when God told Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God: “Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain…”
This instruction from God must have been unsettling and confusing at best to Abraham. However, Chapter 22 in Genesis continues to describe this special story of obedience to God, by detailing Abraham’s reaction.
First, Abraham cut wood for the offering, then spent time in worship. Abraham placed the wood onto Isaac to carry, then Abraham carried the fire and knife. Unbeknownst to Isaac about what was to happen to him, off they both went to the place that God had told Abraham about. Abraham built an alter, arranged the wood, bound his only son and laid him on the alter on the wood. Abraham took his knife and was about to slay Isaac, but an angel of the LORD called him from heaven. “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12
Abraham’s faith was shown by his willingness to go when God told him to go. And to offer his only son as a sacrifice. In my opinion, the latter is unmatched by anyone in the Old Testament.