"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I tell thee of." (Genesis 22:2)
I can not imagine a more difficult test of one's faith! Abraham had waited 25 years for Isaac. His wife, Sarah, was ninety years old when he was born! He was her only child.
Can you imagine Abraham telling Sarah what God had asked him to do? Did Abraham keep it from her? Was she as faithful as Abraham, and did not question what he was about to do? I don't know. But, I will have the opportunity to sit down with Abraham and Sarah one day, and ask them to tell me the story of it all.
Certainly, this test was not for Abraham's benefit, nor for God's. God is omniscient! He already knows what Abraham will do.
This whole story is for our benefit! It is an illustration of the sacrifice that God was willing to make to save us from the penalty of sin.
1) The Father's Resolve. Abraham was willing to do whatever it took to make an atonement for sin. God is also resolved to do whatever it takes to secure the salvation of those who trust in Him!
2) The Son's Surrender. Isaac did not even question his father about what he was about to do. His only question was, "Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" Jesus was absolutely willing to obey His Father's will. His only question was, "If there is any other way to do this...nevertheless, not my will, but thy will, be done."
3) The Location. Mt. Moriah is the place that God sent Abraham unto for this sacrifice. "Moriah" means "Hill Country". It took three days for Abraham to make the journey. Mt. Moriah is the place that Jerusalem was built upon, and the place where God offered His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for the world's sin.
4) The Altar of Sacrifice. Abraham would take stones that had not been shaped by man's hand, and arrange them into an altar. They were rough and unevenly shaped. He would bind Isaac with ropes, and lay him upon it. God used an old, rugged cross, and His Son would be nailed to it, and left to die.
5) The Resurrection. Abraham believed that, even if he sacrificed Isaac on that altar, that God would raise him back to life. After all, God had promised that Abraham would have a family, one day, that could not be numbered! How else would Isaac be able to marry, and to have kids. God would have to bring him back from the dead, in order to keep His promise! God did bring Jesus back from the dead! It was on the first Easter. The church celebrates the resurrection of our Savior every Sunday!
God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. But God did not stop the sacrifice of His only Son. If there had been any other way, God would have done it. But there was none, so He "gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life". Jesus is the "only" way out of this world alive!
There is not a second way. If there had been another way, God would have taken it!
Abraham triumphed in his faith in God! How did he do it? He trusted God in every thing, even in his family.
Place your trust in God, too. Look to our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to save the world from sin. It was not the nails that held Him to His cross, it was His love for you and me.
From my heart to your heart.