There comes a time of testing in every life, and Abraham was no exception. But, this isn’t really a story about Abraham. It’s a story about God.
God told Abraham to take his son, the promised son, and sacrifice him.
To our world and culture, this seems crazy, and we wonder who in their right mind would even consider such a thing—even for God.
But, for the world and times in which Abraham lived, this did not seem strange. Common was the sacrifice of babies to the demon gods of the surrounding cultures. Babies, so many babies, sacrificed to Ishtar and Baal. Rare is the ancient culture where there is not evidence of human sacrifice.
So, Abraham gathered his son and the necessary articles needed for such a task and started out to the place where the deed would be done.
But, this is not a story about Abraham. This is a story about God—real God.
We admire Abraham for following such a request. We admire Isaac for his part in the situation. Their faith was great, but this is not a story about them. It is a story about God—a God far different from the demon gods, who required human sacrifices.
Just as Abraham raised his hand to slay Isaac, God sent an angel at that moment to stay his hand. And as Abraham lifted his eyes, he saw a ram in the thicket. God had indeed provided his own sacrifice, just as Abraham had believed.
And this act of God’s separates him from all the false ones of Abraham’s day.
God was not like the false gods. God never required a human sacrifice. Here is knowledge that a mere human sacrifice would not appease him. He was not that kind of God.
God would provide his own sacrifice in his own time, in his own way. He would sacrifice himself.
Today, the very thought of sacrificing our children is appalling, and it should be.
We do not serve that kind of God. He is not like the others.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything