Sacrificing Your Own Child
Below is my wife's first blog post. If God uses it to encourage you, share this post and let her know so she will write more!
Yesterday, my daughter and I laid on our tummies together to read the story of Abraham and Isaac in her Jesus Storybook Bible. I opened the bright, colorful pages to a story we have read twice through together. While Charlotte excitedly looked at the pages trying to eat them, I enthusiastically read the words on each page to capture her attention. For now, I am the one being blessed by the beauty of each story pointing to Jesus. But I pray that this sweet time reading God’s word with Charlotte will only be the beginning.
I began to read the story to Charlotte, recounting to myself the fact that Abraham and Sarah had desperately wanted a child for many years but could not conceive. So they attempted to bear children by taking things into their own hands. God had finally answered their prayer and promised Abraham that Sarah would become pregnant and give birth to a son though she was now 90 years old. Sarah laughed at the idea that God could miraculously provide the very thing she had desired for so long at her age. They doubted God and tried to plan other ways to conceive their promised child. Ultimately, after let downs and disappointments, which were the result of their unbelief, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac.
Though Abraham and Sarah doubted, God was faithful to his promise. Skip ahead a few years and back to our story.
Charlotte continued smiling and drooling as I read the story of God calling Abraham to sacrifice “his one and only son” Isaac.
I thought to myself how hard this must have been for Abraham. Abraham knew God was faithful. He had personally experienced God’s faithfulness in the sparing of his nephew Lot and in the birth of his son Isaac, and he had hope in God’s promise to multiply his family more than all the stars in the sky. But it’s probable, this calling from God must have confused Abraham greatly.
I imagine that as he and Isaac gathered wood for the sacrifice to God, Abraham’s stomach was churning. He probably couldn’t eat for his nerves. Each step up the mountain must have felt like a thousand pounds. “His only son.” A fulfilled promise of God. “How could you ask me to sacrifice my only son?” he probably demanded of God, yelling in fear and confusion. But he walked. Though his steps lead the way to the hardest thing he’d ever had to do. He walked.
I pondered this story for a moment. As a new mom, I now know the love a parent feels for their child. Some days I rock my baby to sleep and think my heart may burst from the amount of love I have for her. I capture her milestones in pictures. I laugh with her and lose all sense of embarrassment. She is a joy, a blessing, and my biggest challenge.
I try to put myself in Abraham’s shoes for a moment envisioning carrying the wood up mount Moriah with Charlotte walking step for step with mine. The sound of each step echoing surrender to the one true God. Each step heavy and hard. Mouth dry and eyes fighting back tears, crying out to God, “Why does it have to be this way? Can’t I bring you anything else?”
Abraham made it up that mountain. He built the altar. He bound Isaac, “his only son”, to the altar atop the wood and prepared the knife for the sacrifice. He trusted the Lord, though his heart ached, in the beauty of surrender and obedience.
In this moment, Abraham trusted God with his son’s life. He knew that no matter how long he had waited for a son, no matter how hard it would be to lose him, God was still better. He clung for dear life to the promise, a promise he did not even completely comprehend.
“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, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:11-14)
The Lord will provide. Did you catch that? Yes, following Christ may lead to the unimaginable. Living for Christ may mean giving up everything, surrendering it all at the altar of the one true God. In fact, that’s exactly what it means. But God loves his children. He provides a way even if it’s not OUR way. I can promise you the Creator of the universe has a much better plan for your life than anything you could ever dream or imagine.
And God’s way was better. He has already provided the very best gift possible, the ram in the thicket. The sacrifice of His only son whom he loved! Jesus Christ, the son of God, came as a babe, lived a sinless life, died an undeserved death for my sins and yours. Hallelujah, Emmanuel! The promise fulfilled!
When I read this story, I cannot help but tear up. God did what we couldn’t. He PROVIDED our redemption through his one and only son. The sin that separated us from our Father no longer has the final word! Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice. He died in our place defeating our shame, sin, and death. Taking what we deserved on himself. His sacrifice gives us the ability to approach the throne of God as sinners made clean by the blood of the Lamb. And that same Lamb that was slain shall one day surely return, next time as a roaring Lion. Praise God that he provides.