God said, “Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up as an entirely burned offering there on one of the mountains that I will show you.” Abraham got up early in the morning, harnessed his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, together with his son Isaac.
. . . Abraham took the wood for the entirely burned offering and laid it on his son Isaac. He took the fire and the knife in his hand, and the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father?”
Abraham said, “I’m here, my son.”
Isaac said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the entirely burned offering?”
Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it, my son.” -Genesis 22:2-8
This is one of the most arresting and difficult portions of our Bible. The very idea that God would call for a child sacrifice burns our sensibilities. In case you don’t know the story it all turns out alright- when father and son get to the moment of sacrifice, God provides a ram for Abraham to use instead and Isaac is spared. Nonetheless, that a life, human or animal, needs to be ended to prove our loyalty to God does not sit well with me, what about you?
Some take their meaning for this passage directly from the Scripture, that God was merely testing Abraham, and that God proved worthy of trust, as did Abraham. Historians point to the acceptability of child sacrifice in the cultures surrounding Abraham and say that this story is a polemic against that kind of “god.” Many Christians have seen the death of Jesus in this passage, that while God spares our children, God comes in Jesus Christ God’s own son to sacrifice on our behalf, thus ending the sacrificial system forever. Others say there is nothing to be redeemed from this tale of terror, except the lesson to not go blindly following God.
As you and I keep walking our Fearless Journey this Lent, let me point out just a small phrase in this sweeping, mysterious story. Abraham says this: “God will see to it.”
What if we lived with the assurance that as we do our best to discern the right paths, God would see to the rest?
Disturbing Deliverer, thank you that you are a God who can be wrestled with as well as obeyed. Help us to move to deeper relationship with you. Help us to trust that you will see to what we need, every time.
Ask God to show you a need you cannot meet on your own but that you are called to meet. Wonder with God, “How will you see to this one?”
This is not a kid’s story. But maybe you can build a fire together in this cold weather, and talk about how God provides everything we need.