Come, Ye Children – published by the Reformed Free Publishing Association
When Isaac grew up a little more, God came to Abraham and asked him to do a very hard thing—the hardest thing in all his life to do—harder even than waiting for Isaac to be born. This is what God said, “Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, and offer him for a burnt offering.”
Was Abraham hearing God’s words right? God said, “Take your only son”—he had waited one hundred years for him. God said, “your son, whom you love”—he loved Isaac more than anything else in the world. God said, “offer him for a burnt offering”—he would have to take a knife in his own hand and kill his own son with it. Maybe Abraham would tell the Lord he could not do that. Do you know what Abraham did?
He got up early the next morning, made some of his donkeys ready for a trip, and started out with two of his servants and his son Isaac; for God had said he had to offer Isaac on a mountain far away. He did just what God told him to do. It took three days to reach the mountain. Abraham had three whole days to think about the hard thing God had asked him. He must have said to himself, “How can my children be as many as the stars of the sky, if I must kill my only son?” Or, “Maybe the Lord will let me find a lamb to offer on the altar when we get there.” Or, “Maybe the Lord will raise Isaac from the dead if I must kill him.” Abraham could have changed his mind and turned around and gone home, and said, “No, Lord, I can’t kill my only son.”
But Abraham kept traveling toward the mountain. I don’t think he talked very much those three days, do you? How could he tell Isaac what he had to do? God was making Abraham choose between his dearest son Isaac and his great love for God. Would Abraham choose Isaac or God? Whom did he love most? Abraham loved God above everything, and he obeyed God, but he could not understand why he had to do such a hard thing.
When they were near to the mountain, Abraham left his donkey with the two servants and he told them that he and Isaac would go on alone to worship God. Then Isaac noticed something was wrong. He knew how to worship God: build an altar, put wood and fire on it, and offer a lamb. They had the wood and carried some coals of fire, probably in a little pot, but he asked his father, “Where is the lamb?”
Abraham told him that God would take care of it. Abraham trusted God, but don’t you think his face became more and more unhappy, and it was hard for him to drag his feet up the mountain?
When they were at the top of the mountain, Abraham built an altar, laid the wood on it, and took his dear son, and tied him on top with ropes. Isaac did not kick and scream and fight, Quietly he obeyed his father Abraham and his Father God. As Abraham raised his knife, the Lord, the Son of God, called to him, “Abraham, Abraham.”
Oh, how glad Abraham was to hear that voice! What a relief that he could answer, “Here am I.”
The Lord told him not to kill his son for, he said, “Now I know that thou fearest God.” God always knew that, for He knows everything. But Abraham had to show how much he loved God by doing this hard thing.
In a bush nearby, Abraham saw a ram (a father sheep) caught by his horns; and he offered the ram on the altar instead of his son. The ram was a picture of Jesus, who was God’s sheep who would die, just as the father sheep had died. Abraham did not have to kill his son Isaac, for God would offer up His Son Jesus to die on the cross instead, for the sins of all His people.
Can you think how much Abraham loved his God? So much that he would kill his own son when God asked him to? How much do we love God? Do we think about Him every minute of the day, even when we play, or when we are naughty? No, we don’t. Ask God to help us love Him more.