The Supreme Sacrifice
Abraham, "the father of the faithful," was chosen to live as a model of faith to all mankind. God tested him to the utmost. In a vision God directed him to, "Take now thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which will tell thee of' (Genesis 22:2).
This command must have wrung Abraham's heart with anguish. God had promised that through Isaac he would father a "great nation." All of Abraham's hopes and dreams were set upon this miracle son given to him and Sarah in their old age.
He did not understand why God was asking him to do this strange act, but he had learned to trust and obey his heavenly Father—even when perplexed.
At last Abraham gently awakened his son. The preparations for the journey were quickly completed, and with two trusted servants they began the three-day trip to Moriah.
On the third day, the patriarch saw the promised sign, a cloud of glory hovering over Mount Moriah, confirming God's command.
Beit Guvrin at Maresha, Israel (about 35 miles south of Jerusalem).
Bidding his servants remain behind, he placed the wood upon Isaac, and together they climbed the mountain.
At last the young man spoke, "My father, behold the fire and the wood: but where is the Iamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham replied, "Mv son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Genesis 22:7, 8).
At the summit they prepared the altar. Then Abraham tearfully told his son the reason for their mission. Isaac willingly submitted; he felt honored to present his life as an offering to God.
Abraham tenderly bound his son and placed him on the altar. Then when the last words of love had been spoken and the last embrace given, the father lifts the knife to slay his son. Suddenly his arm is intercepted, and an angel directs him to sacrifice instead a ram trapped in a nearby thornbush.
It was to impress Abraham's mind with the reality of the gospel, as well as to test his faith, that God commanded him to slay his son. The agony which he endured during the dark days of that fearful trial was permitted that he might understand from his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made by the infinite God for man's redemption. No other test could have caused Abraham such torture of soul as did the offering of his son.
God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. There was no voice to cry, "It is enough." To save the fallen race, the King of glory yielded up His life. What stronger proof can be given of the infinite compassion and love of God? "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things" (Romans 8:32)?