“As Isaac matured into manhood, Abraham realized anew the many sacrifices God required of him had been well worth it. Secure in the fulfillment of the promise of Isaac, no doubt remained in Abraham’s mind. Everything else God had promised would surely come to pass. Life was good as the elderly patriarch sat by the well within the shady grove and listened to the infectious laughter of the promised child.”
By Ruth Rieder
And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the ever-lasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.”‘ Following the departure of Hagar and Ishmael, life began settling into a peaceful pattern. Abraham planted a grove of trees and tarried in Beersheba many days. The years passed and the anguish of Ishmael’s departure became less acute. As Abraham poured himself into the rearing of Isaac, the bonds of love grew stronger between the father and his remaining son.
As Isaac matured into manhood, Abraham realized anew the many sacrifices God required of him had been well worth it. Secure in the fulfillment of the promise of Isaac, no doubt remained in Abraham’s mind. Everything else God had promised would surely come to pass. Life was good as the elderly patriarch sat by the well within the shady grove and listened to the infectious laughter of the promised child. Surely the testing had come to an end with the climax of Ishmael’s departure.
One by one the Almighty had removed every idol from Abraham’s heart; however, one idol yet remained. God had to know one more thing about the man of faith. “And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” Eagerly Abraham waited to hear what God would say, but His next words almost turned Abraham to stone. “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 will tell thee of.”‘
With stark simplicity the story of Abraham’s final testing unfolds in the Word of God. The Author permits the reader to mentally fill in the blanks of emotional upheaval that surely must have assaulted the devoted father. For the first time in Scripture, God uses the word lovest. This word poignantly illustrates the depth of Abraham’s devotion for his only son. Did he initially feel outrage, fright, rebellion, or hatred toward the Lord? We will never fully know the extent of Abraham’s emotions until each of us is summoned to this place of ultimate sacrifice.
Heaven held its breath as the aged patriarch reasoned within himself. Reaching the place of surrender, Abraham began preparing for the journey. He could not forget God’s unwavering faithfulness to him and once again he answered the summons to the place of sacrifice. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.’
After three days they entered the foothills of the land of Moriah. Abraham saw the dreaded hill in the distance. When they arrived at the base of the mountain, Abraham briefly instructed the young servants to wait with the donkey. “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”‘ What a wondrous expression is the word worship. Even in the midst of the testing, God deserved adoration and worship. It reflects the mood of the patriarch’s mind. He was absorbed with the One who had sent him forth on this sorrowful errand.