In Case You Missed It -- Genesis 22-23, Psalm 14
Background information often enhances our appreciation of the stories in the Bible. The story about the planned sacrifice of Isaac showcases Abraham’s faith. The book of Hebrews tells us that Abraham even reasoned God could raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham’s faith is primary in this story, but we can better understand the reason God puts Abraham through this entire experience when we know more about Abraham’s world. Abraham was surrounded by polytheists—that is, worshippers of many gods—who often believed that gods demanded children as sacrifices for further blessings. These neighbors would willingly kill their children to appease gods and hope for their favor. God takes Abraham through this experience to show that He is not a God like the gods of other nations. God offers a more suitable sacrifice instead of Isaac, surprisingly like Abraham told Isaac would happen when deflecting his son’s questions. Abraham finds his own assurances to Isaac to be ironically and gladly true. God is not a God that demands life (see Leviticus 22:2-3), but the One who gives life. Abraham needed to see the difference between God and the false gods we manufacture. Do we sense the difference between God and those gods, such as fame and fortune, which receive our sacrifices instead?