ABRAHAM’S SACRIFICE OF ISAAC

 

Chapter 22 of Genesis describes the greatest test of faith that God would impose upon Abraham or, for that matter, upon any human. In that chapter, God tells Abraham to sacrifice the son whom he dearly loved.

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Stay here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.

And the Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said Here am I. And he said, Lay not your hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”

Abraham actually had more than one son, but Isaac was the only son that was born of his wife Sarah, and the Bible carefully showed that it was to be through Isaac’s bloodline that the promises of God to Abraham eventually would be realized. It was in the sense that Abraham’s seed through Isaac would be the one to bear fruit to God that Isaac was considered to be Abraham’s only son.

God clearly intended this event in the life of Abraham and Isaac to foretell the sorrow that would be the Holy Father’s lot as his only begotten Son Jesus was sacrificed on the cross at Calvary. What God held back from requiring of Abraham, He Himself had to do in this magnificent expression of His sacrificial love toward mankind. Abraham was blessed for his faith. The importance of it was not just that he was willing to suffer the sorrow of losing his son. The greater part of his faith was that he was willing to represent the drama between the Father and Jesus in the most significant moment in the history of mankind: Jesus’ passion on the cross.

Genesis Chapter 24 involves Isaac again, but under considerably happier circumstances. Isaac is now old enough to marry, and his father Abraham is choosy about whom he shall have as a bride. Sarah has died, so the task of selecting the proper wife for Isaac falls on the shoulders of Abraham’s trusted servant, who is told to go to the country of Abraham’s kinfolk. We pick up the narrative at verse 10:

“And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray you, send me good speed this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray you, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give your camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that you have shown kindness to my master.

“And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And she was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray you, drink a little water of your pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and he hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for your camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; And said, Whose daughter are you? Tell me, I pray you: is there room in your father’s house for us to lodge in? And she said to him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare to Nahor. She said moreover to him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed down his head, and worshiped the Lord. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren. And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.”

So Abraham’s servant went into the house of Rebekah’s brother Laban and told them of his mission to find a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. He related how God had led him directly to Rebekah and had confirmed that she was the one whom he had sought. After this, the servant asked for their consent to take Rebekah back with him and present her to Isaac. Upon receiving their consent, the servant lavished Rebekah and her family with gifts. As he prepared to return home, the family stalled off, asking that Rebekah stay with them for at least ten more days. He, wishing to return immediately, asked them to reconsider the delay, whereupon they called Rebekah into the meeting and asked her for her consent. Having received it from her, the servant then returned home with her and she became Isaac’s wife.

At this point, Scripture had already identified Isaac as representing Jesus on the cross. Now, the circumstances of his marriage to Rebekah just as clearly show him as representing Jesus who will wed a very special bride. As the Bible brings out in the New Testament, the bride that Rebekah prefigured will be the Church.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: