Day 13

The Birth & Sacrifice of Isaac

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 21:1-34, Genesis 22:1-24

Have you ever wondered what it would’ve been like to walk in Abraham’s shoes? Here’s Isaac, the child of the Covenant, your only natural son; and God is asking you to do what?!

I’m not yet a father, but for all you fathers out there who are familiar with this story, I’m sure you’ve thought of the terrible pain and tension that must have been whirling in Abraham’s heart. How could God ask such a thing? How should Abraham respond?

The writer of Hebrews seems to indicate that Abraham believed God would eventually raise Isaac back from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham had faith that God would make good on His promise to establish a people through Isaac. Still, in Abraham’s place, I would’ve been sweating bullets.

The application from Abraham’s perspective is pretty straight forward: what is it that you’re holding back? What are you afraid to lay at God’s feet? Now, lay that at God’s feet.

But have you ever wondered about Isaac’s perspective?

We don’t know exactly how old Isaac was at the time of the offering, but we do know that he was informed enough to understand how a sacrifice was supposed to work. Look at the question he asked his father: “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7). I can’t say for sure, but it seems like Isaac was starting to put the pieces together, and likely getting a little nervous.

Whether Isaac recognized it or not, the Christ-like imagery in his story is undeniable. Compare these two verses from Genesis and John:

“Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife” (Genesis 22:6a, NIV).

“and [Jesus] went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha” (John 19:17, ESV).

Like Christ, Isaac was made to carry the instruments of death and sacrifice to the place of offering. Unlike Christ, Isaac was ultimately spared. But up until the point that angel showed up, Isaac had no clue what was going to happen.

By this point in his life, Abraham was quite old and perhaps a bit weak. Some have speculated that Isaac would have had the strength to resist. Even if he was a young man, it seems reasonable to assume that the only way Isaac was on that altar was by his own compliance.

Here’s the point: Abraham faced an incredibly difficult decision; there’s no doubt about it. But Isaac also faced a decision, he had to decide whether he should take matters into his own hands or whether he should trust his father.

While we serve a perfect and loving Father, to follow Him is to take up our cross. There are no halvsies here. You’re either all in and willing to take up that cross, or all the way out. Like Isaac, part of our attempt to honor the Father looks like obedience. The other part is trust, established by love. Without trust, we cannot follow God into the hard places. Without obedience, we falter in the midst of challenge and trial.

Do you feel the love of God in that way? Do you know Him well enough that His love has created a deep and unfaltering trust? Sometimes the road to this type of trust requires a journey to which there seems to be no way out. Ultimately though, that trust rests on the love of the Father, who is unshakeable and intimately invested in our lives.

Written by Andrew Stoddard

Post Comments (11)

11 thoughts on "The Birth & Sacrifice of Isaac"

  1. Matt Hert says:

    God is a being of imagery and foreshadowing he built many things in our world to point to himself and many things in the bible. We see the actions of Christ in this text.

  2. Matt Hert says:

    If the Lord gives us the tools we can serve him we can give up our desires for his. This may be something he calls until and when he does we aught to be ready for it.

  3. Matt Hert says:

    With a heart of service. And thankfulness

  4. Matt Hert says:

    Here we see a picture of Jesus choosing his own death on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God. The gospel is Christ’s choice to trust the father and give up himself for us.

  5. Matt Hert says:

    Thank you god the father almighty maker of heaven and earth for saving me and loving me. It is undeserved but the best gift.

  6. Jeremy Hill says:

    Man should trust in God like Abraham and Isaac did.

  7. Jeremy Hill says:

    The Gospel ties with this so closely because Isaac represented Christ.

  8. Jeremy Hill says:

    God knows what He is doing and is never going to withhold from you a promise.

  9. Jared Cross says:

    God will provide opportunity for us to show the world His greatness and His love in us and through us. God will bless us even when things are not going right God has a plan it is not our plan it’s his perfect plan God always provides just as he sent Jesus the perfect sacrifice for our sins God always provides.

  10. Jared Cross says:

    God wants obedience from us just as Abraham was giving up the most important thing to him his son this demonstrated great obedience and love to God.

  11. Jared Cross says:

    We as a people will not and cannot draw near and be blessed by God until we are obedient and let go of everything and really put God first and foremost in our lives.

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