Most of us have heard the story. In his old age, Abraham is given a son named Isaac. But God asks Abraham to do the unthinkable… to sacrifice this son on an altar. Some would say this test of Abraham was mean and cruel. Others would suggest that God had a divine purpose in asking Abraham to do such a thing. But what we must remember as Christians today is that every story found in Scripture is significant.
After all, it was Jesus who said that all Scripture indeed pointed to Him. (John 5:39)
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- This test of Abraham was really a test of faith.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” – Hebrews 11:17-18 (NIV)
Abraham trusted God fully. The Bible says that he had “embraced the promises” of God. In other words, he knew that no matter what, God would keep His promises. We find out in verse 19 that he believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. Even though this test made no sense, he moved forward in faith anyway trusting that the Author of life itself had the power to perform the ultimate miracle.
And not only that, Isaac demonstrated great faith as well. Most scholars believe that he was no little boy, but rather a young man. He was definitely stronger than an elderly Abraham and could have easily fought back when placed on the altar. He submitted to God’s will as well, which would also serve as a foreshadowing event of Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life for mankind.
- This story didn’t just foreshadow the death of Christ, it also taught an important lesson about our resurrection from the dead.
Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. – Hebrews 11:19 (NIV)
God put a stop to the sacrifice before Isaac was actually killed, but the writer of Hebrews makes one point clear. Figuratively speaking, Abraham received Isaac back from the dead.
The faith of Abraham undoubtedly increased after this event. But can you imagine what this did to Isaac? He witnessed firsthand the extent of his father’s faith, and He also bore witness to the heart of God. This was a lesson that would carry him through the rest of his life and ultimately be passed on to his children.
- God’s plan always prevails, and nothing He does is without divine purpose.
The truth is that throughout this entire story of sacrifice and resurrection, God was revealing His heart for mankind as well as His plan to save us. Jesus was not “plan B.” He was always “plan A.” Even as God was choosing Abraham to be the father of many nations, He was working towards His ultimate plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The test of Abraham demonstrates God’s ultimate plan for salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
This post is part of a larger series called “Let There Be Light.” Join me as we journey through the Old Testament leading up to the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.