The significance of Abraham and Issac: Throughout human history there are stories people making barbaric human sacrifices to gods who don’t exist. Skeptics of the Judaeo/Christian worldview point to a significant episode in the Book of Genesis, when God orders Abraham to go to a selected place to offer his son as a sacrifice. But they don’t necessarily read the whole story.
Pagan human sacrifices were offered to appease an angry god, but the real creator God does not force man to kill in order to please Him. God does the work and pays the price, because man cannot, under any circumstances, buy, earn or otherwise pay for his salvation.
Here is the text from Genesis:
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”, “Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham finds a substitute
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.
Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:1-18)
God gave Issac to Abraham
Issac was the son God had promised to Abraham and his wife, Sarah, even though Sarah was decades beyond child bearing age. Because of her advanced age, it was hard for both of them to believe that God would actually give them a son by normal biological means.
So, with Sarah’s permission, Abraham selected Hagar, one of their servants to have a child for them. Ishmael was born. Because Ishmael was not the son God had promised, He had Abraham send the boy and his mother away. Ishmael would also become the founder of a nation and that would be the basis of Islam.
When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, it was a test of faith. God had no intention of actually letting Abraham go through with it. It was a foreshadowing of what God would do with His own Son. He would not allow Issac to be killed, but God did allow His only Son to be sacrificed on the cross. God did something He would never order man to do.
God gave us His son
Think of it this way– ”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
God wants us to have faith in HIM! Our actions can be reflections of faith, but in the final analysis, it is God’s actions that count. Our deeds will not earn us entry into heaven. Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ gives us that access to God the Father.