Oh that we would ALL have the faith and obedience that Abraham has! Can you imagine, the Lord calls to you and asks you to offer your own child? Your one and only child? As someone without children, I can’t even imagine, but I would be devastated if I had to sacrifice someone I love, or even my little weenie dogs.
Abraham gets a couple of servants together and tells Isaac that they need to go make a sacrifice to the Lord. They traveled for two days, and on the third day Abraham told his servants that he and Isaac were going to go pray and come back. Abraham cut the wood for the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac’s back.
Just as Christ, the only son of God, was forced to carry the wood he’d be hung upon as a sacrifice, Isaac had to carry the wood on his back that he’d be sacrificed to. Isaac was obviously confused, probably thinking “wood, check, fire, check, sacrificial animal...no check?” so he asked his father. Abraham replied to him that God would provide the sacrifice. They kept walking, and the Lord told him where to build the altar.
He puts Isaac on the altar, and at the very last second an Angel stopped Abraham. The Lord was testing Abraham, and after seeing that he would have sacrificed his only son because the Lord had told him to, the Lord gave him a promise: “I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore...”
In many cultures from the beginning of time to even present day, the number of descendants one has enriches one’s family and elevates one’s status. Blessing Abraham with unending descendants was especially significant because of how difficult it was for them to conceive in the first place. The Lord’s blessing was two- fold, however. He also told Abraham that those descendants would find blessings in whatever lands/countries they wound up in. His descendants would be so blessed, all because Abraham was so obedient and trusted the Lord so much.
We’re all tested, all day, every day. Whether it’s an impatient or judgmental in-law, coworkers who don’t do their part, children who refuse to listen or do well in school, everyone has their own set of tests each and every day. It’s what we do with those tests and how we react to them that makes a difference in our day to day and in our eternal future.
Will we take up our cross as the Lord did, the bundle of wood as Abraham and Isaac did? Or do we take the easy route and ask for forgiveness later? It’s too easy to snap at someone or to be impatient. It’s easy to decide that someone else’s problems are their own, not for you to worry about. The hard thing is to pick up our bundle of wood and do what the Lord asks of us, but that’s what we must strive for.
We aren’t made for easy.
“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”—Pope Benedict XVI
Reflect: What’s one area you really struggle to give your yes to God? What can you do to better prepare to give your yes?
Act: Prayerfully consider a small sacrifice (or even a great one) next time you’re struggling. If you’re having a hard time with a person, task, or something else, prayerfully consider how immediately Abraham obediently gave his yes to the Lord.