One of my favorite stories in scripture is Abraham and Isaac. It’s one of the earliest stories that many believers hear whether in church, Sunday school or from one of our guardians. For me, regardless of how many times I hear it, it’s still refreshing as it reminds me just how good God is. Plus, the story has everything including a love story, a lot of drama, uncertainty, and an ending that no regular person could come up with.
Abraham wanted a son and God gave finally gave him one and named him Isaac but later, God asks him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham knew that God was talking to him and knew what God was telling him but he did not know why. God gave him instructions and was clear on what he was to do but, again, Abraham would not know until later what was to happen. We know that Abraham did as he was instructed and had planned to sacrifice Isaac but right before he went through with it, God stopped Abraham.
Maybe it doesn’t make any sense but this is an example of God’s protection. Abraham tells Isaac in Genesis 22:8 that God will provide, answering his son when asked where the animal for the sacrifice was which shows us that Isaac was unaware of what his dad was up to. For just a moment, think about what it must have been like for both Abraham and Isaac. Scripture does not tell of a struggle between the two when Abraham strapped Isaac down and prepared for the sacrifice.
When I read this, I think that there must have been a great amount of trust from Isaac toward his father. There’s no other explanation as I’m sure I would have been swinging or throwing something but there was something special about these two. Abraham trusted God and Isaac trusted Abraham which illustrated there was a bond that the three men shared and it’s something special unlike anything most will ever know.
Genesis 22:12 tells us “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” God protected Isaac from Abraham’s slaying knife and trusting heart but He also protected Abraham. No, I don’t mean that Abraham was protected from death but he was protected from any doubts he may have had or protected from any worldly thought that may have crossed his mind.
When we read scripture, we must read within context and between the lines so we cannot think too much into the phrasing of “now I know” as it’s written that way but it doesn’t mean what many believe. That is, God knew what Abraham would choose to do and by allowing Abraham to express His trust and faith, it was to Abraham’s benefit. When Abraham expressed his faith to God, God personally witnessed it rather than just knowing it in His foreknowledge. Rather, God witnessed and experienced it personally and this is just another example of how great our God—the creator of the universe and the King of Peace—is.
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”–Genesis 22:12