Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
We should never leave the story of Abraham without seeing him through his grand final victory. It is true that he had failed miserably in his (and Sarah's) unbelief that let them fall into the Old Covenant. While God had given them the New Covenant promise of having a "child of promise" (Isaac), they had disbelieved and assumed they must "work" to help fulfill it--hence, Hagar and Ishmael. (Paul says they are the Old Covenant! See Gal. 4:22-25.)
Finally, after decades of heart-bitterness even while they were having daily family worship and doing their Sabbath-keeping, Sarah allowed her unbelieving heart to be melted in repentance (see Heb. 11:11). Her new and different feelings about God made it possible for her, "by faith," to "receive strength to conceive." All this time, they were "one flesh" and so Abraham shared the repentance with her.
Isaac came, well named--"laughter." He grew to be a most delightful teen, the joy of their hearts. Then the bomb! When Abraham was old and weak: the same voice of God that had made the promises now told him to offer the beloved son as a sacrifice on a hill to be known as Calvary (Gen. 22:1, 2). The years of bonding went further than if he'd been told to do this when Isaac was a baby. Father Abraham roused Isaac, and left without telling Sarah goodbye (vs. 3).
That three-day journey was the longest and saddest Abraham had ever taken. But when puzzled Isaac quizzed him, he expressed no Old Covenant despair as we would probably do. Instead, Abraham said, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb" (vs. 8).
This was a shining tribute to "Christian education": Isaac then joined in the willingness of the sacrifice. He had learned to believe the New Covenant promises.
Note: Abraham didn't actually kill Isaac with his knife--but he made the full commitment to make the sacrifice. "You have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me," said God (vs. 12). It reflected Christ's cross. Christ didn't go into the literal Lake of Fire, but He made the full commitment, and thus He died the equivalent of our second death. (Let's say "Thank You!")
Now Abraham has finally earned his title, "Father of the Faithful."
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 23, 2006.
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