He (God) said to him (Abraham): Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.(Genesis 22:2)
Abraham and Sarah had been childless for many years. There age was such that when God had promised them a child, Sarah had laughed. Isaac was a miracle child. Naturally, he was extra special and was loved very, very much. He was the son of Promise-the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and his posterity would be as the sand of the sea.
Imagine the shock to Abraham when God came to him with this command: "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest"! How could it be? God knew the son was loved. He knew the great hopes Isaac's parents had for their beloved son. He knew how their lives were wrapped up in this precious son. And now they were to give him up. He was to be slain in a faraway place!
The objections must have come to Abraham very fast. Since Isaac was born by a special miracle of God; since God had promised seed through him too great to be numbered; since Abraham loved Isaac so much, how could he be expected to bear slaying his only son? How could it be fair? What a test!
Obviously, Abraham faced hard choices. Yet we sense no faltering, no resistance, no resentment-only obedience. We are told nothing about his struggle, pain or grief; only about his obedience, obedience that moved forward to carry out what he was told to do.
It is said that crisis never makes a man, it exposes what the man really is. What a person is and what he lives by affects (or determines) his response in times of trial. Since we aspire to make the right responses our selves, we will examine Abraham's life more closely to see what prepared and enabled him to respond so faithfully to this command. Two basic forces governed Abraham's life. We will discuss them individually.
Next: Abraham's Character