Only the paganistic cultures would sacrifice their children to their god, yet here is the God of heaven asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to Him on a mountain.
God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son finally came through. Although there were some times of doubt and even though they sinned against God in having a son through Sarah’s servant, God still came through with His promise. Isaac might have come sooner if they had faithfully trusted in God to provide and not make their own reasoning on how God would make it happen.
We do the same sometimes. Instead of waiting on God, we can get impatient on His promises and start rationalizing what God would do and try to interpret every moment. God tells us to “be still, and know that I am God…” We should recognize when we are getting impatient with His promises and that is when we need to “be still” the most.
Even though it was strange to Abraham that God was requiring him to sacrifice his only son, Abraham trusted God. When they reached a point on their journey where Abraham and Isaac left their servants, Abraham told his servants that “we will come back to you.” That still doesn’t help the gut-wrenching feeling Abraham felt.
Imagine what it was like for Isaac to realize that he was the sacrifice. And imagine how Abraham felt that the only son he had through Sarah would have to die. After all, Abraham and Sarah had to wait into their old age before having Isaac. The trials of infertility within the marriage are real and then to have to kill your only son, after waiting what seems like forever to have him, must have felt devastating to Abraham. Yet there he was, bringing his son to the place of sacrifice.
God stopped the process before Abraham could go through with the sacrifice and then God provided a ram for them to sacrifice instead. Imagine the relief Abraham felt, and Isaac too! God tested Abraham in this to see if he loved his only son more than he loved the will of God in his life. Abraham passed the test and the Lord blessed him abundantly.
The lesson here is about idolizing our families. Abraham had every reason to consider Isaac a special gift to him, yet he knew the God he served and would set aside his personal feelings for the will of the Lord. Many families these days put their children above everything else, even above God, in the spectrum of priorities in their home/lives. Parents fall into the trap of worshipping their kids more than they worship the God of the heavens. Spouses can fall into the same trap with each other.
What we can learn from Abraham’s experience here is that when we serve God first and foremost in our lives, it really is for the benefit of the entire family. Waking up in the morning and seeking God first renews our minds, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). In serving God first, we set the example to our loved ones that the priority is not of this world, but in the world to come. After all, wouldn’t you want you and your family in heaven? Isn’t that the goal?