When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’
Devotion by Julia Shiver
Our Pilgrimage adult education curriculum (Sunday school) recently asked us to pick a challenging passage of scripture to discuss. Yup! That one you just read.
We had some good discussion about it. The initial horror of what God was asking Abraham to do. Did Abraham know it was a test? Was he really going to go through with it? Not to mention the childhood trauma inflicted on Isaac!
I know we are supposed to overlook all of that and see Abraham's great faith in the Lord. We are all going through a great time of testing, as individuals, as a faith community, as a country, as a planet. I wish we knew how our story ends. It will take the deep, deep faith of Abraham, and Sarah, and Mary, and Peter, and John, and Mary Magdalene, and of Paul, to see us through to God's light at the end of the tunnel.
Dear God, we are lost in the dark these days. We can only rely on your love, grace, and peace through this trial. Thank you for the courage, patience, and strength for the living of these days. Amen.