Genesis 22: Isaac
As promised, God gave Abraham a son by Sarah when Abraham was 100 years old. The son was named Isaac, and he was circumcised at 8 days of age.
Remember that son Abraham had with Hagar, the maidservant? He’s still in the picture, but Sarah doesn’t like that. Sarah sends Hagar and her son away into the desert. They ran out of water and Hagar feared for her son’s life, but God showed up with water and all was well.
The camera pans back to Abraham.
God tells Abraham to take Isaac—who is referred to as Abraham’s only son as if Hagar’s son somehow isn’t Abraham’s—into the woods to sacrifice him. Yup, sacrifice. Abraham prepared the alter and the wood for the burnt offering…of his son.
Isaac questions where the sacrifice is, and Abraham dodges the question as he ties up Isaac to kill and burn for the Lord. Abraham doesn’t question God’s instructions. Not even once. He doesn’t even show emotion.
As Abraham is about to slay Isaac, the angel of the Lord tells him to stop.
It was a test.
And Abraham passed.
God provided a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac.
Phew! That was close.
And it seems like Abraham and Isaac never mentioned the incident again.
Most cringeworthy grammar instance of this chapter? In one line, Abraham says, “…while I and the boy…” which made my skin crawl.
Fun fact: this chapter was actually called “Birth and Near Sacrifice of Isaac,” but I felt like that gave too much away.
Genesis 23: The Death of Sarah
Again, the title is just giving it away.
Sarah died. She was 127 years old, so she lived a long life (though nothing compared to the 900 years of Noah).
Abraham was in yet another strange land when Sarah died, but his reputation preceded him, and the residents gave Abraham land on which to bury Sarah. She was buried in a cave in Abraham’s newly acquired land.
This was a pretty uneventful reading. Besides the close call on sacrificing Isaac, I guess.
I remember the story of Abraham and Isaac from childhood. Looking back, it doesn’t seem like a great story to tell children. But it didn’t phase me then.
My recollections of the story involve much more questioning by Abraham. I’m not sure if the story was told to me that way, or if my child brain added questioning.
Abraham was 100% ready to blindly follow God’s orders to kill his one and only son (with Sarah). On the one hand, I understand how that shows true devotion to the almighty God. On the other hand, though, blindly following someone (even a deity) frightens me. Perhaps that’s one of the factors that led me to withdraw from religion.
I’m naturally curious, and therefore questioning. I want to know why. I want to know how. I want to know what if. I don’t think I’m capable of the blind faith required to follow someone or something with the kind of dedication Abraham shows.
I understand that this type of questioning is what makes faith, faith. Faith is all about believing when there’s reason to question. But for some reason, I just don’t have it. I’ve seen people with true faith. I feel like I understand it on some level. But it’s just not a way I feel capable of living.
As always, I want to know what you think. Does Abraham’s story resonate with you? (In terms of faith, not in terms of sacrifice your child…I hope.) Comment below or, since this is a touchy topic, shoot me a private message.
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