This week our cohort discussed the story in Genesis 22, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. This is such a great story of faith on Abraham’s part. The ability to just lay it all aside and act on faith when reason and logic would be screaming in your head “NO! don’t do it!” It’s pretty awe-inspiring to see not just the faith, but the choices he makes, repeatedly to act on his faith. I particularly liked the observation about how much time was involved here. There were days of preperation and travel involved, he didn’t just have to muster the faith for a minute, but for likely a week, and continue to act on it. When he could have backed out at any point.
A few observations that I had from the text, Isaac was the son of the promise, but he also wasn’t the first son born to Abraham. After God had promised him a son, and before Sarah became pregnant with Isaac, Abraham took matters into his own hands and had a son with this servant Haggar. He didn’t trust God to provide!
And when they traveled to Egypt to avoid a famine (two chapters earlier) he told the Egyptians Sarai was his sister, because he was afraid of what they would do to him if the Egyptians found out he was Sarai’s husband. (He didn’t trust God to provide protection)
And now, God has finally provided the son of promise, and everything is going well, I think this test wisely hits Abraham right in his weakest (and now strongest) point. God is asking him, “Do you trust me now?” It would be very easy to make Isaac into the object of his faith, because God had said this was the child of promise.
Another observation on this text that I found fascinating, came from a Jewish rabbi, (Rabbi Daniel Lapin, in the book ‘Thou Shall Prosper”), that the Hebrew word for “Donkey” and “Materialism” are the same word.
He goes on to explain that in ancient Jewish tradition, when one word means two things, they are seen as closely related. (Not like English “Sole” of your shoe, and “Sole” type of fish). His comment is that the donkey in the story is symbolic of Abraham conquering his materialism, his putting faith in what he has, in his stuff, or his son. And that leaving the donkey behind to go and worship on the mountain is really a beautiful picture of Abraham’s faith, in his ability to leave it behind.
(Backing this up, you’ll notice that the text doesn’t mention anyone riding or loading the donkey, just that Abraham “saddled his donkey” and then left it behind when he went to worship, the assumption that the donkey carried the wood is just an assumption, it’s not in the text…) So again it’s a moment of Abraham choosing to obey, to follow his faith, which is just awesome.
I also really liked the explanation of the dance between faith and reason, it’s a delicate and beautiful thing. Being an engineer, logic and reason make sense to me, so the dance with faith is a difficult one for me at times, I have faith in God, but mostly when it makes sense to me… :-/ hmm…
Either way, God is my provider, I am not. May He ever be the object of my faith, and may I learn to walk in that dance of faith and reason listening to His spirit.
Have a great week men, thanks for reading.