At one point in the story of “Testing of Abraham,” as Abraham and Isaac are on the way to carry out what Abraham believed was the Lord’s will that he sacrifice his son, Isaac presented him with the inevitable and pointed question:  “Father,” he said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”  Now, imagine that you are Abraham; imagine how you would feel if your son, the son of the promise that was at long last fulfilled miraculously by God, the son whom you loved above anything that you could possibly imagine, the son whom you are at that very moment taking to the place where you are about to offer him in sacrifice to the God who gave him to you, asked you that question?  How on earth would you answer him? Could you answer him? Would you tell him the truth?  Would you lie to him?  Well, this is how he did answer him: “My son,” Abraham said, “God Himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” So, did Abraham lie to his beloved son?  I contend not.  I argue that he shared with his son the only truth that his faith would allow him to believe and on which he depended.  I believe that the only hope that kept him going was the hope that somehow, provided that he was totally obedient to what he truly believed was the will of God, he would come back down that mountain with his son by his side.  And that is what did happen. God did provide the sheep for the sacrifice.  There was a ram caught in the thicket. That, I believe, is the invaluable lesson of this story.  For those who are faithful and obedient to the Lord no matter what He asks, no matter what it costs, no matter how much sense it does not seem to make, there will always be, at the very last moment, a ram caught in the thicket and the promise of the Lord will always remain intact.

AuthorCathy Remick