It feels like it has been forever since I have written. It has definitely been forever since I have done my nightly Bible study. I gave myself to Elden Ring. I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in a long time and a video game that will stick with me for a very long time.
Now to our Bible chapter tonight. It is one of the most important and pivotal of the Bible. The story of Abraham and Issac. It is the story where God commands Abraham to take his son Issac to the top of a mountain and offer him up as a burnt offering (sacrifice) to God.
God commands this of Abraham and Abraham is ready to follow through. He takes his son to the top of the mountain and ties him down. Just as he is about to slay his son an angel appears and tells him not to do this. God then provides a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead of his son and God tells him that his faith was proven by his willingness to commit the act and the follow through is not required.
There are several ways to read this story and they are all a bit of a struggle. There is the fact that when Issac asks Abraham where the sacrifice is Abraham tells him that God will provide one. This can be viewed as foreshadowing of God indeed providing the sacrifice or it could be viewed as Abraham lying to his son or it could be viewed as Abraham telling his son he is the sacrifice as it was only through God that Issac was provided to Abraham and Sarah.
This story is often viewed as one about the strength of Abraham’s faith. God tells him to do something and he does it willingly. He doesn’t know that an angel is going to stay his hand. He goes to commit a terrible act at the command of God and does so because he believes God knows best.
As Christians it can also be viewed as a precursor to the story of Christ. God stays the hand of man and does not make him sacrifice his son but centuries later God is willing to sacrifice his own son and does not stay his own hand.
No matter how this is looked at it is a hard story to read. The early Bible is about flawed people and a flawed God. It isn’t the just and loving God we want to believe in. It is a hard and oftentimes cruel God. A God that gives a child to a couple and then commands the father to go and kill him.
God told Abraham several times that his descendants through Issac would form many nations and be as numerous as the stars in the sky and sands on the shore. This is the final test. The ultimate test of Abraham’s faith, and it is one that is difficult to read.