Day 16

Isaac Offered Up

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 22:1-24, Genesis 23:1-20, Isaiah 54:1, Hebrews 11:8-12

BY Claire Gibson

I really didn’t want to be assigned this passage. I’ve been a Christian most of my life, and still, when I read this passage about Isaac and Abraham walking up the mountain, I simply want to throw my Bible across the room. Why in the world would God ask Abraham to do this?

There are a host of things that God asks His people to do—things that, without faith and understanding of context surrounding these passages, seem really wild. Earlier in Genesis, God asked Abraham to circumcise every man in his household, even his servants. Today, Christians are asked to live in obedience to a lot of biblical commands which make no sense to the world and its culture today. We’re asked not to have sex outside of marriage. We’re asked to think of others as better than ourselves. We’re asked to go out of our way to give to and love others—even our enemies. These commands might seem obvious if you’ve been in church for a long time. But outside of the lens of faith, they really make no sense at all. Only God can give us the strength and faith needed to obey Him.

And so, I’m left to believe that God must have given Abraham the strength and faith to obey even this—this seemingly insane command. Why would God have Abraham sacrifice this child, who he and Sarah had waited and longed for throughout the course of their lives? Why this child of the promise? If you remember Genesis chapter 21, you’ll recall that Abraham had just sent his other child, Ishmael, away. So now, if he were to go through with the sacrifice of Isaac, he would have no children at all.

But Abraham trusted God. He trusted that God was good. Abraham had learned that obedience to God brings greater blessing than pain. So, if God was asking him to surrender to something painful—something as horrific as losing his only son—then there must be an even more abundant blessing on the other side.

I’m not sure I would have had the faith to walk up that mountain. But because Abraham obeyed, we now get to witness, through Scripture, the first example of substitutionary sacrifice, as God provides a ram in the thicket. Do you know who else walked up a mountain that led directly to an inconceivable sacrifice? Jesus.

Only when Jesus walked to Calvary, when the Roman guard slammed hammer into steel, through flesh, there was no ram in the thicket (Genesis 22:13). Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, became God’s autobiography on earth. And God’s nature is not punitive—it is sacrificial. Jesus willingly obeyed the Father to the point of death—even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). And because of His supernatural, unexplainable, indescribable obedience, we now have peace with God. Thanks be to God for obedience and the peace that comes with it—things that we may not be able to understand, but can only pray to the strength and faith to emulate.

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "Isaac Offered Up"

  1. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I wouldn’t be anything above God in my life even the God’s fulfilled promises!

  2. Dawn Sullivan says:

    I, too, am an infertile barren woman. Even at 45, with one ovary left and no fallopian tubes, I get smacked with waves of sorrow. Did God not see me worth bearing children? “No,” is the answer the Destructive Enemy screams in my ear. Almost every time I see life swelling in another womb. Especially when parents are in the holy moments of the gift. Yet, He gave me the heart for adoption at 16 years old. Our first adopted child came with a seizure disorder. Very soon after becoming her parents, we found ourselves battling for her life. I very much felt like Abraham and I did not climb that mountain. I kicked and screamed and tried to make deals. I questioned and doubted. At the bottom of that mountain, God still came. He heard. And He answered with His Spirit in a way that changed my life. Even at the bottom… God came. Abundantly and with lavish grace. O what a great God we serve. His love endures forever!

    1. Jessica Lembelembe says:


  3. Ashley White says:

    This was a wonderful devotion today. It gives me more faith to have in Him. God is really speaking to me.

  4. Diana Fleenor says:

    In reading through this very familiar passage of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son on the instruction of his God, draws me to consider my own willingness as many of you have indicated. I know that without faith in the work of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, I would fail over and over again. But, what hope we have that we are not left to be obedient by the powerlessness our flesh gives us, but by the power of God’s sufficient grace in our weakness! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Amen.

  5. Amber Ewing says:

    When I read this, so many emotions come up. However, the strongest I feel is God’s love for us. As a mother, I don’t think I could have the strength or faith to willingly give up my child as a sacrifice to God. Yet Abraham has such strong faith here, and we see God give His own son as a sacrifice for all of humanity so we may be forgiven. Oh, the overwhelming love of God!

  6. Maura says:

    This story use to baffle me as well, put me in a state of disbelief. But, over the years I have come to realize all that both Abraham and Isaac knew of their fathers. Abraham knew that God always kept His promises, knew His mercy, His compassion. God had already promised Isaac would have offspring to outnumber the stars. While he must have wondered, God’s request did not put Abraham in a state of panic because he had witnessed the faithfulness of Jehovah over and over. I believe Isaac knew of this promise by the words of his own father Abraham, who had taught him about our Father. So really Abraham’s obedience is a testimony of knowing God. Drawing near to Him daily. We do not have the testimony to how Isaac was bound or what he went thru in this scene I believe because Isaac’s faith was strong as well, he definitely could have run away, as Abraham was well past sprinting years. But he believed his dad’s words that God would provide the ram. I believe this might have been what happened. Lord help us to draw near to you that our faith would be wholly in line with who you are Almighty God, Price of Peace, Lion of Judah. Thank you for being the sacrificial Lamb Jesus that we might have eternal life. So grateful for such love.

  7. Mari V says:

    God is good ALL the time! Even when I don’t understand, God is good! Even when there’s heartache and sometimes I’m scared of the unknown God is good and I trust Him.

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:


  8. Allison Sherwood says:

    Lord, please give me obedience to answer your call in my life! Please give me the courage to walk in your will humbly and obediently! Amen

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