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Would A Man Sacrifice His Son For God?  God Tests Abraham:

              Sarah gave birth to a son of her own - Isaac -  and Abraham was again a father.  He was only 100 years old, you know.  Some time later, after or during Isaac's weaning feast, Sarah watched Ishmael mocking her little Isaac, perhaps playing, but she lost her temper.  Ishmael was about 14 years older than Isaac was.  Sarah told Abraham to send the hand maid and her child away, as that woman's child was not going to share an inheritance with hers!!  Abraham was upset by this, loving Ishmael greatly as his blood son, just as Isaac was.  But during his sleep God told him to do as Sarah wanted.

              God said that for the sake of Abraham he would cause Ishmael to found a nation, but God said that the descendents of Abraham would be named through Isaac's sons.  (Some interesting reading can be found concerning whether Saxons are so named because of being Isaac's sons, but as for the truth of it, I don't know.) 

              Abraham gave Hagar bread and a water bag and sent her off with Ishmael to find a new place to live.  She wandered towards Beersheba's desert and finally almost died for lack of water along with her son.  She left a weak and dying Ishmael and departed a short ways away, praying that she wouldn't have to view her son dying.  The Angel of God, hearing the lad crying, spoke to her then, calming her, and saying her son would found a great nation.  The angel then opened her eyes so that she noticed a spring of water nearby, and they lived.  Ishmael grew up an archer. 

              Years later his mother found an Egyptian wife for him, and Ishmael became father to twelve sons eventually.  ***It is certainly a strange thing that Abraham should send her off so unceremoniously, without gaurds or even much provision. I think a lot is left unsaid in this portion of the account.  But it does make an interesting parallel with how the Jews of Jerusalem persecuted the early Christian church, and were sent away quite unceremoniously by the Romans in 70 A.D.***

              Now Isaac and Abraham and Sarah probably had some pretty happy family years, Sarah finally being a real mother.  But then God asked Abraham for an amazing thing.  He asked Abraham to kill his son Isaac in the land of Moriah as a burnt offering to the Lord.  Amazingly it says that Abraham woke up very early, took Isaac and two men, and began the three day trip to a mountain where this would be done.  (Astoundingly, the ancient traditions of the Jews attest that this mountain was the same one where Christ would one day be sacrificed, about 2000 years later.  The town there was then probably called Salem, not yet Jerusalem, and was probably a smaller type town).

               They arrived at the foot of the mountain, and leaving their companions on the journey behind them (note that Jesus's companions - the apostles - also did not accompany Him for the last portion of Jesus's crucifixion walk) together they walked up the hill.  Isaac carried the wood for the fire.  Isaac asked innocently "Where is the sacrifice!" to which Abraham answered obscurely 'God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.'  (Here are two people going up a mountain, one of them to be sacrificed on the wood.  Simon of Cyrene and Jesus did the same.  And Abrahams strange answer to Isaac, seemingly to keep him from realizing what was about to happen, none the less contains a picture of God's future sacrifice of His son Jesus, where God does indeed provide the sacrifice.) 

              On top the mountain Isaac apparently gets the news, and Abraham binds him, without any mention of a struggle.  I believe Isaac believed Abraham when he was told that Abraham was doing it because God asked.  And I believe that he just trusted, like his father, that if God wanted it, it was right of them to surrender it without objection.  There was a lots of courage and faith in both of those two. 

              Abraham raised the knife to do the deed but the Angel of the Lord (Jesus?) called out and stopped him.  He said  'Don't go through with it.  I see now that you fear the Lord and won't withhold your only son from Me.'  (I notice that the Angel of the Lord uses the words 'from Me' as if He were both the Angel of the Lord, and yet somehow God as well.)

              Abraham looks away and sees a ram caught in a thicket by his horns.  He sacrifices this to God instead of his son Isaac.  So, the final actual sacrifice is a ram (which is a grown male lamb, right?)  And its head was trapped within thorns, so it was easy to catch.  Jesus's head was in a crown of thorns - put there by jeering Roman soldiers - when he was put to death as the 'lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.'  There is an amazing amount of parallel symbology between these two events.  

              Here is one of the oddest similarities of all:  An angel once told Abraham that it was through Isaac that his descendents were to be known or named, and it was Isaac that carried the wood up the hill.  Well, in Jesus's crucifixion, it was Simon(Simeon) of Cyrene who carried the wood up the hill (part way, at least).  Later, Simon (Simeon), who became a follower of Jesus because of this event, became a pillar and leader of the Church of Antioch, along with his sons.  And it was in Antioch, thru Simon (Simeon), the one who 'carried the wood' so to speak, that the followers of Jesus were first called "Christians".  Acts 11:26, Acts 13:1.  In my opinion God put much effort into using parallelisms as a way of effectively saying  'This Jesus - He is the one you have been waiting for - the promised one - the lamb of God - the ram caught in the thorns - He is the Messiah.  He is the Son that will be sacrificed for man.  Pay attention to Him!' 

              It is a tough test that God gave Abraham - a really tough test.  But luckily he passed, his faith in God warming God's heart towards sinful man.  And so Jesus came for us, and Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus is God's son in the flesh and our designated savior.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming.  Thank you God for sending Him.
©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website