Read Genesis 22:1-19
“God tested Abraham’s faith.”
We read this story with a kind of fascinated horror, across great distances of time and culture. How could God ask such a thing? How could Abraham even think of doing it?
But we forget that child sacrifice is not as strange, bizarre, and brutal to Abraham as it is to us. He probably knew other people whose gods required it.
Remember way back in the garden when the snake hissed in Eve’s ear, “Did God really say?” And then, remember how, after they had eaten the fruit, Adam and Eve seemed to see God differently than they had before? They hid from him instead of walking with him because he seemed different to them: scary.
A big part of what happened back there was just that: we began to see God wrongly. Cain saw him as unfair and mean. People saw him as easily ignorable, irrelevant.
Sometimes, he seems to just go with it.
It’s a test.
‘Will you take your son, the one you love, the one I have promised to give many children to – that son – will you take and kill him for me?’
You’ve read it already, so you know God doesn’t actually mean for him to do it.
God’s not like that, but oh, the things we think.
And oh, what Abraham must have gone through!
But see his resolute obedience: “Early the next morning.”
Abraham takes God at his word – all of them, even though they seem to contradict horribly. God has said Isaac will be a father, and God has said “Go kill Isaac”. Abraham concludes God must mean to raise Isaac from the dead. Notice how he says, “we will come back” (v 5).
It is a test and Abraham aces it. He believes God to be good and to be true to his promise, even though all the evidence – including God himself – seems to say He isn’t.
It’s the antidote to some of what went wrong in the garden.
It corrects our vision of God.