Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together.
Isaac said to Abraham his father, “Father?”
“Yes, my son.”
“We have flint and wood, but where’s the sheep for the burnt offering?”
Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together. GENESIS 22:6-8
This passage always blows me away. As a mom, it’s hard to fathom a parent’s willingness to sacrifice his or her own child.
Unless Abraham had total and complete trust in the God who commanded such an act. Abraham believed “in hope against hope” (Romans 4:18). Some Bible scholars suppose that Isaac was in his 20s when this incident occurred. If so, then Isaac also must have trusted God, because it’s unlikely that a man over 100 years old could physically wrestle an unwilling 20-something onto an altar.
Faith is doing something about Whom we put our hope in. When Abraham had a knife poised above his boy, the future looked pretty grim. But Abraham didn’t negotiate with God or run away from the scene. He raised the knife. At the last minute, God stopped him and provided a ram instead — a move that foreshadowed our heavenly Father’s sacrificial provision of His own Son, Jesus.
What good came from this traumatic event in Genesis? Stronger faith for Abraham and glory for God. Well, I want those same things: bigger faith for me and bigger glory for my Creator. I can achieve this in small ways every day. In my marriage, in parenting, in my work, in my friendships — I can do the next right thing and trust God with the results. Like Mike said, “Long obedience in the same direction.”
Because we can only see God’s faithfulness after the fact, we may have to wait for the rewards of our small steps of faith. In 2000, I was just starting my freelance writing career in Atlanta. Freelancing made me nervous, so I was excited to be offered a full-time job. On paper, the job was perfect: steady paycheck, friends in the creative department, etc. But my gut said don’t take it, so I declined the offer — even though I had nothing to fall back on but unsteady work. A few years later, pregnant with my daughter, it was clear that freelancing allowed me to balance work and staying home with Lucy.
While we wait for answers, we never have to wait for God Himself. He is always there with us, providing all we need in every moment. And that is wonderful fuel for hope.
- In which areas of your life do you have difficulty believing God?
- What would it look like to take a small step toward trusting Him in that area?
- What is the goal of your faith?
Dear Father in Heaven, when it comes to timeless truths, there is no match for Scripture! Thank you that we can read a story written centuries ago and learn about You today. Help us to follow Abraham’s example. Even when things look dire, we too can “hope against hope” that You stand by Your promises to us. Amen.
PC3 writer Katy Davis wrote today’s devotional.