It came about after these things, that God tested Abraham.
Genesis 22:1 says, “It came about after these things, that God tested Abraham.” Why would God test Abraham? Why does God test any of us? God uses difficult situations in our lives to test us and strengthen our faith. God said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering” (v. 2). For Abraham, this test represented the loss of what was most important to him. Isaac was not only the son Abraham loved, but he also represented God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation. For Abraham to kill Isaac meant that he had to kill his own dream.
How did Abraham respond? After receiving that kind of command, most of us would question it: “Was that really the voice of God?” Not Abraham. He had heard God’s voice too often to confuse it with anything else. “Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (v. 3). Abraham obeyed immediately. He got up early and went to Moriah, about a three-day journey by foot.
When they arrived at Moriah, “Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you’” (v. 5). Here we see Abraham’s faith. He didn’t say, “I will return after I have killed my son.” He said, “We will return.” Abraham so believed in the power of God and His promise that he was convinced even if he killed Isaac, God would raise him from the dead. Hebrews 11:17, 19 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son. … He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.”
The Greek word for “considered” is a mathematical term that means “calculated.” Abraham did a calculation in his head. I imagine the night before he left for Moriah, he tossed and turned as he thought about what lay before him. I’m sure he did a mental list of the pros and the cons of obeying God. He knew that obeying God meant not only the loss of his son but also the loss of what God had promised him. There are a lot of things in the minus column for why Abraham shouldn’t obey God. But then, the Bible says, he did a calculation. He thought about how God had been faithful to him in the past. He rehearsed in his mind all the ways God had provided for him. He concluded God could be trusted. God is able. He believed that if he obeyed God, then God would raise Isaac from the dead.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When God Asks the Unthinkable” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.