The post below is an attempt to imagine what both Abraham and Isaac were thinking as they went through the ordeal described in Genesis 22. I also bring out the similarities between the story and that of the death of Jesus Christ at the hands of His Father.
It was a very long trudge up Mt. Moriah as Abraham went to sacrifice his son to his God. He was thinking about it as he went along. He knew that it was a common enough thing among the gods of the people’s around him for them to ask for such sacrifices. But somehow he had hoped it would be different with his One. And then there was the confusing thing about that promise that through Isaac all his descendants would be named. If there was one thing certain about the God Abraham served, it was that He kept His promises. “I bet you He is going to raise Isaac from the dead!” thought Abraham to himself. That encouraged him a bit…. until he thought again about raising that knife….
Isaac was a good lad. Humble, submitted, meek as a lamb going to the slaughter. Abraham was an old man, why did he have to go through this? All his hopes and dreams were tied up in Isaac. There was no one else like him. But he had learnt a long time ago not to give into self-pity.
Silent, confused, trusting still, trudging along with Isaac beside him.
The wood was heavy. It was biting into his shoulder as he trudged up the hill. Only a few days earlier he had travelled on a donkey, a foal of a donkey in some style but now their followers had been left behind and it was just him and his father walking. He saw the fire and the knife…
He asked the question but he knew the answer somehow fitted. He was the lamb that was led to the slaughter, uncomplaining. God had indeed provided. So he submitted silent, still while the altar was prepared, the wood arranged a cross it and the knife was raised.
Abraham looked down at his son who was in all his heart and all his mind and all his soul and all his strength –himself- and it had come to this! The angel had said both their names. So he thought and said: “Here I am”… “My everything. Ask me to sacrifice myself it would be easier!”
God saw the transaction. Yes, He had made man in His image so it was possible – the Father could slay His Son, this man had demonstrated that. So infinitely difficult though, so distressing that He didn’t want a creature to have to endure what He as a Creator would, the loss of a son at His own hand. He saw the intent, that was enough, now He would provide. There had been times enough when fathers had lost their sons and there would be times again when it would happen, times without number. He would do the best thing possible so that those who received the Gift would receive again their sons back from the dead, just as Abraham believed he would.