Abraham named that place “The Lord Will Provide.” And even now people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The biblical character of Abraham is synonymous with faith. And for good reason. God had told Abraham that he would have a son with his wife Sarah. This wouldn’t be unusual except for the facts that the couple were well advanced in age, and Sarah was incapable of having children. Infertility isn’t just a modern problem; it has always existed. But Abraham believed God. Years later and with a mix of patience and impatience from the would-be parents, the promise from God was realized. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac.
“The child of the promise.” This was Isaac’s moniker – which makes the command coming from God so perplexing: Take your son, the child of the promise, and go to the mountain and sacrifice him there. Huh? What the…! But it only seems strange and super-weird to us. We get no reaction from Abraham, no questioning, no talk back. He just goes about the business of saddling up the donkey, chopping some wood for the sacrifice, and takes his only son with him on the journey to the mountain.
We can wonder what might be going through Abraham’s mind through all of this. While you and I might try and figure out if we really heard God or not, Abraham had a history of talking with God. He knew God’s voice as well as he knew his own. Abraham was well down the road of relationship with the God he served. We get an insight from the author of Hebrews into Abraham’s thought process, a line of thinking that is consistent with a person who has a regular habit of talking with God:
“Abraham had been promised that Isaac, his only son, would continue his family. But when Abraham was tested, he had faith and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, because he was sure that God could raise people to life. This was just like getting Isaac back from death.” (Hebrews 11:17-18, CEV)
Abraham didn’t try and figure out God’s mind. He didn’t get into a debate with God about the contradiction of ethics he was being asked to do. He simply obeyed. He reasoned that it didn’t matter if Isaac were killed because God could raise him from death. This, of course, is not what happened. It was all a test of faith. Abraham knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is the Lord who provides.
You and I don’t always know why we are facing the circumstances we’re enduring. We don’t always know what in the world God is thinking. Yet, like Abraham, if we have a spiritual history of walking with God and hearing his voice, we don’t hesitate to respond. We are convinced that God will provide. Obedience for the follower of Christ is not a burden; it’s a privilege, even when we are being tested beyond our seeming emotional ability to do it.
Sovereign Lord, your ways are sometimes strange. Yet, I know that everything you do is always right, just, and good. It is to your gracious and merciful character that I know you will provide. My allegiance is to you; in the Name of Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.