In Genesis 22 we see how, after receiving the child of promise, God made a difficult request of Abraham. God told him to take his son, his only son whom he loved, to a mountain and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering to the Lord.
We see in this chapter that Abraham did just that. In fact, we see that he did so without hesitating. We see that he got up early the next morning, and saddled his donkey. He took two of his servants, and his son Isaac. He cut the wood for the burnt offering. And then he left for the place about which God had told him.
As we read this account, it forces us to ask how Abraham could do such a thing. This question arises for a couple of reasons. First of all, after waiting 25 years for the fulfillment of God’s promise, after waiting this long for a son to be born to them, how could he kill this son? How could he take the life of the son he loved?
Second, as I mentioned, Isaac was the child of promise. He’s the one through whom God was going to establish his covenant. It was through Isaac that Abraham would become a great nation. It was through Isaac that Abraham’s descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. So how could God’s promise be fulfilled if this very child was put to death?
We find the answer to this question in Hebrews 11. Starting in verse 17, we read: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
Even though the promise of God and this command of God seemed contradictory, Abraham believed that the Lord is faithful to his Word. He believed that, even if he sacrificed his son as God had commanded, the promise of God would be fulfilled through Isaac. Even if God had to raise Isaac from the dead, his promise would be fulfilled.
What an example of faith this is for us. If I were there, in Abraham’s shoes, I doubt that I would display the faith that we see in his actions. I think I would begin to doubt and to question the Lord. I think I’d get so rattled that I would fail to act on his command.
In all reality, I’ve failed to trust in God’s faithfulness in lesser circumstances. At times, I’ve allowed my emotions to hinder my faithfulness. I’ve allowed by reason to sabotage my trust in the Lord. I’ve allowed my own wants and my own desires to entice me away from the great blessing God has for me.
We’ve all failed in this regard. However, like Abraham, we can be absolutely confident in God’s promise. As God asked when Sarah laughed at the notion of bearing a child: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” No matter how things seem outwardly, and no matter how unreasonable they may seem in our mind, God is certainly able to keep his Word.
The question we must ask ourselves is this: Are we willing to trust the Lord no matter how unreasonable it seems? Will we cling to the Lord’s promise even when it doesn’t seem rational? If we truly know that the Lord is faithful, and if we truly know his power, there is no reason we should fail to do so. Like Abraham, we can heed his Word leaving the outcome in his hands.