My daughter has an obsession with the story of Abraham and Issac, we have read it at least three times every day this week and she is still asking for more.
If you aren’t familiar with the story it is one from the Old Testament. God speaks to Abraham and tells him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and that God will bless the whole world through his family. At the time Abraham is 99 years old and childless, he is skeptical but believes. And God does give Abraham a son, Issac. But then a few years later God tells Abraham to take Issac up the mountain and kill him as a sacrifice. Again Abraham is skeptical and in fact devastated, but he obeys.
He takes Issac up the mountain and begins to prepare a place to kill his own son. Issac, confused, asks where the lamb is (a lamb or other animal is what would typically have been given as a sacrifice). And Abraham, I’m sure with a shaky voice tells him, “God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” Abraham has Issac tied to the alter. His knife is in the air and at the last moment God calls out. “Don’t lay a hand on the boy.” Issac is released and a ram is found stuck in the bushes. It will be sacrificed instead.
You can take this story in a million different directions. But after reading it to my daughter out of her Story Book Bible for the fifteenth time this week, I can’t help but feel that as God was testing Abraham’s heart, He is testing mine. He is asking me, am I willing to give up all of my desires for my family and my future to obey God. Mostly do I have the faith to surrender my desires for my daughter. Am I willing to choose God over her?
We all want to give our children the best and I certainly have a picture of what I think “the best” is. It involves ballet class and private school, lots of friends and a big yard with green grass and lots of baby animals.
The knife that Abraham raises above Issac is pointed at his own heart. Will he give up all things to God?
Is it more important to me to be a parent that chooses God above all else even if it means I can’t give my daughter what I want for her?
This is the story of the crucifixion. God choosing what is best for the world over His own son’s life.
Over the next few days we will be meditating on Jesus’ death. In many ways the story of Issac is there to prepare us to understand what is happening when Jesus dies. “God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” The lamb is Jesus and He died so that we could live. Now the knife is pointing to my heart. How will I choose to live?