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Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” – Genesis 22:1-14
God is a maniac! My friend was making a point because of events unfolding in her family. As soon as she had things figured out God moved the family dynamics in new directions. One prayer was answered only to uncover the need for yet another intercession. Maybe you’ve been confused about God’s direction in your life. Things you thought would go one way end up going in a new direction. Plans change suddenly. Opportunities evaporate. One need is answered only to be replaced by another.
Maybe Abraham felt that way. He and Sarah had waited decades for a son. Finally Isaac is born: the son of promise. He would be the one through whom God would make a great nation. Everything is hanging on this son. Now God tells Abraham to take his son and sacrifice him.
This will be a journey of faith. Abraham has to believe that God is good and will honor his promise that through Isaac a great nation would come. He had to believe that God would lead him to the mountain on which Isaac was to be sacrificed. He had to believe that if God did require him to go through with the sacrifice, God would make a way for Isaac to remain the son of promise. In fact, he believed that God could raise people from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).
I simply cannot imagine how all this is true. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe it’s true. But I certainly don’t understand it. Maybe that’s what Paul had in mind when he wrote:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?” – Romans 11:33-35
We want to domesticate God. We make him our personal place of safety, comfort, and security. But While Jesus came as a servant. He is not our personal assistant. We don’t order God around. We do not demand that he answer us. We must remember who is God and who is not. Sometimes his demands might seem unreasonable. But who are we to judge?
The only thing that anchors my soul in times of turmoil, God’s unpredictability, or my confusion is the belief that God is good. He is faithful and true. He is gracious and loving. And whatever else might come my way, the faithfulness, goodness, love, and kindness of God is the constant. Maniac? No? Crazy? Not. Unpredictable? Yes. Good? Thanks be to God he is.