Sunday, February 11, 2018

Abraham and Isaac

       In the early days of Bible story there lived in the land of Ur of the Chaldees a man named Abram. Ur of the Chaldees was a city of Mesopotamia, which is the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, in Western Asia. There is today a ruined temple on the west bank of the Euphrates River, at the place where a canal joins that stream and the Tigris, and Bible students tell us that in the time of Abram Ur lay at the point where the temple may be seen. Abram was a rich man; he owned large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and he had many servants. But there came a time when it was revealed to him that he must depart from the country of ^Mesopotamia and go to a land called Canaan, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It would be interesting to trace on a map that long, toilsome journey over desert, stream and mountain. After he had settled in his new home, God told him that he was to be the father of a chosen people, and that his descendants were to possess all the land of Canaan. Kings were to come from his race, and he himself was to be called Abraham, which means "father of a multitude." A son, too, was promised him, for Sarah, his wife, was childless.
       When, at last, a little son was born to Abraham and Sarah, they were so happy they named him Isaac, for Isaac means "laughing." The child became a great comfort to his parents, and Abraham loved him above all other things. In those days men offered up sacrifices as a part of their religious duty. Very often they would kill a choice lamb out of the flock, and burn it on the altar as a sacrifice. One day God spoke to Abraham and said, "Take thy son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go to the land of Moriah; thou must offer him there as a burnt offering, upon a mountain which I will tell thee of." There is nothing in the Bible record to make us think that Abraham rebelled or complained when he received this strange command. Early in the morning he saddled his ass, gathered the wood for the offering, and departed with Isaac and two young men-servants. On the third day he saw a summit in the distance that he knew to be the place of sacrifice, and he said to his servants, "Wait here; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and will come again to you." Then Abraham and Isaac went on together; Isaac carried the wood, and his father bore the fire. The lad did not understand why they were going up to the mountain, and he said to Abraham, "Father, here is fire and wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" "My son," was the reply, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering." When they came to the place of sacrifice, Abraham built an altar, arranged the wood upon it, and then placed his boy on the wood. But just as he was about to lay his hand on him he heard a voice saying, "Abraham, Abraham." He answered, "Here am I." Then the voice said, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad: for now I know that thou fearest God." And Abraham knew then that God was testing him, to see whether he was willing to give up the dearest treasure he possessed. But he was not required to give up his son, for as he looked about him he saw a ram caught in a thicket by the horns, and he took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering. But because he had been obedient to the divine voice, and had not refused to give up that which he loved most dearly, Abraham received greater blessings than ever before.

No comments:

Post a Comment