Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. (Genesis 22:18, NIV)
Except for Jesus, the most representative figure of obedience in the Bible is Abraham. Abraham is the ancestor of faith for all Christians, as the only one who had experienced the heart of the Lord who gave up Jesus for all of us. God regarded Abraham as a friend. In Genesis 18:17, God told Abraham, “Shall I hide my plan from Abraham?” and He informed him of His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. In Isaiah 41:8, God described Abraham as His friend because Abraham carried out even the command sacrificing his only begotten son, Isaac, without hesitation. God said to Abraham that all nations on earth would be blessed through him because he had obeyed Him to the end. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus came to the earth as a descendant of Abraham and David, and Jesus was crucified to save us, which is the most precious blessing in the world.
Genesis 22, in which Abraham sacrificed Isaac, may be a difficult part for many to read. You may wonder why God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and some of you might be afraid that you would be subjected to such a test by putting yourself in that situation. However, you do not have to worry about it at all. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, and when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Perhaps what you are experiencing now or what you have already experienced may be His test to strengthen you according to your situation and the amount of your faith. God’s command to sacrifice his son, Isaac, was given to Abraham because He saw his grown faith that he could bear it. The Lord finally gave Abraham another way when he was tested, and he did not ultimately lose Isaac. In the Bible, God had never commanded anyone to sacrifice his child except for Abraham. After Abraham, only God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross, and He gives salvation to all of us who believe in the fact.
Twenty-five years after Abraham’s departure from his hometown, Ur of the Chaldeans, he finally got his son, Isaac, the promise of God. Isaac was the apple of Abraham’s eye. While he was happy seeing Isaac acting cute and growing up every day, God called Abraham and commanded him to take his only son and go to the region of Moriah to sacrifice Isaac there as a burnt offering. This was not to induce Abraham into sin. It was to test him, and the Lord knew that Abraham could bear it. God had a special purpose.
Having heard the command, Abraham firmly decided to follow it.
Without any delay, he got up early the next morning to obey the word of God and went out with enough wood for the burnt offering, two servants, and his son. Doing so, Abraham had to deal with deep anguish and pain. It was tearing his heart until he reached Moriah. “Why does the Lord want to sacrifice Isaac, gained after twenty-five years from His promise?”; “He certainly promised that my offspring would be as many as the stars of heaven through Isaac, who was born through my wife, Sarah.”; “Moreover, it is not just cutting off my son’s breath at once, but I need to watch my son laying on a tree, shedding blood as a sacrifice and slowly dying in pain.” Abraham could not share this anguish and pain with his wife, Sarah, nor to Isaac, nor to anyone. It was his lonely obedience to hear it alone and do it by himself. It was heart-rending when Abraham looked at Sarah’s face, who knew nothing and packed some food and clothes in the morning for them, just smiling and saying good-bye for a while.
He walked for three days. This three-day journey was the saddest and darkest time in Abraham’s life. Looking at the loving Isaac, his heart was torn and broken. However, to obey the command of God, he kept going toward Moriah. When he finally arrived in the region, Abraham gave Isaac the wood to burn Isaac himself, and he carried the fire and the knife to stab his son. Then Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” replied Abraham.
“The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham had to endure pouring tears from inside. Meanwhile, he firmly trusted in God’s promise that he would have many offspring like the stars of heaven only through Isaac. Abraham answered, “God himself will prepare the lamb for the sacrifice, my son.” He had the faith that the Lord would revive Isaac.
Finally, they reached the mountain God had directed. However, Isaac did not find any sacrifice on his way. As he looked at his father’s face and felt something weird, he gradually accepted the situation in his mind. Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He kissed his son and bound and laid him on the altar. When what Isaac guessed came true, he quietly followed his father’s will and did not resist like a lamb. A father who tied his son to a tree to sacrifice, and a son who laid on the tree as a sacrifice! Abraham was experiencing the heart of God, who would crucify His only Son, the sinless Jesus. Also, Isaac was feeling the heart of Jesus, who would be crucified for the will of God, despite no sin. God, who was planning to crucify His only Son, Jesus, for the salvation of humankind, and Abraham, who was doing the same thing that God would do in the future. God wept seeing Abraham doing what He would do, and all the angels wept.
At the very moment that Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slay Isaac, the angel of God called out from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” God accomplished all things through Abraham. The Lord commanded him not to lay a hand on Isaac. God himself provided a ram to use as a sacrifice, as Abraham said to Isaac, “Jehovah-Jireh!” God’s will for Abraham was fulfilled, and Abraham got back his beloved Isaac. God knew Abraham would obey, and Abraham showed his obedience by his actions. Abraham experienced the love and heart of the Lord, who would give and crucify His only begotten Son, Jesus, for us. God was proud of Abraham and called him His friend.
Now, everything was over. God swore by Himself that He would surely bless Abraham and make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore because he had obeyed to the end. God added that his descendants would take possession of the cities of their enemies, and all nations on earth would be blessed through his offspring. Abraham’s obedience was rewarded by God’s unlimited blessing, and His promise was confirmed by God’s oath. Finally, this oath of the Lord has been accomplished when Jesus Christ came to earth and was crucified for us.
Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ gains salvation, which is the most precious blessing for humankind, and this blessing is still in progress.