By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. . . . He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead.
–Hebrews 11:17, 19
In Genesis 22:3, God told Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
Every time I read this story, I think, “If God told me to do the same thing, to kill one of my children as a sacrifice to God, would I be able to do that?” If I am honest, I do not think so. But Abraham obeyed. He was fully ready to sacrifice Isaac until God intervened at the last second.
Hebrews 11 gives us the secret of how Abraham was able to obey God’s command: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. . . . He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead” (vv. 17, 19). The word for “considered” is an accounting term meaning “to add up, to weigh.” I imagine the night before they left for Moriah was a sleepless night for Abraham. I can just picture him tossing and turning as he considered what God had asked him to do. I am sure he added up all the reasons not to do it: It would break the heart of Sarah, his wife, and probably end the marriage. It would mean the child of promise had been killed and there would be no nation.
But then Abraham added up all the reasons he could and should obey God’s command. God had provided for him supernaturally and fulfilled every promise He had made. Finally, Abraham considered that God is able to raise people from the dead. That was the tipping point in his calculations. He reasoned that even if he killed Isaac, God would raise him from the dead. You know, Abraham had never heard of anybody being raised from the dead. He had never been to an Easter service. But Abraham knew God, and he believed that God could be counted on.
In his commentary on this portion of Hebrews, William Barclay noted, “For everyone at some time, there comes something for which there seems to be no reason and which defies explanation. It is then that we are faced with life’s hardest battle–to accept when we cannot understand. At such a time, there is only one thing to do–to obey and to do so without resentment, saying: ‘God, you are love! I build my faith on that.’” That is what Abraham did. He trusted in the character and the promises of God, and he obeyed.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Legacy Of Faith” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
William Barclay, “The Letter to the Hebrews,” The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002), 181.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org