Athlete, God Tests

*This devotional series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 22

How could God ask this of Abraham? How could Abraham obey?  We, the readers, are relieved only by our knowledge that it was a "test" to prove Abraham's trust, by Abraham's faith that God will somehow restore Isaac to him (22:5; cf. Hebrews 11:17-19) and by God's provision of a "sacrificial lamb," a ram in this case,  in the end.

The seeming absurdity of God's command is matched only by the "foolishness" of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). Why would God miraculously provide Isaac to continue the covenant promises to bless the nations, only to take away his life?  Why would God send his beloved Son to give life to the world only to allow him to die a humiliating death?  No other passage in Scripture gives us such a penetrating view into the emotional pain that God endured for us in offering up His son for our sins. No other passage gives us such a glimpse into the Son's loving, faith-filled obedience, as we envision Isaac carrying the wood as Jesus carried his cross (22:6). The difference is that Isaac was spared in the end, but Jesus was not. He is Isaac's sacrificial lamb and ours. The Father watched him suffer and die.

Questions for Reflection & Prayer

1. When Jesus' work on the cross becomes familiar to us, it can be easy to forget the depths of God's love and the pain and grief that the Father, Son, and Spirit endured in order to give us life.  His love for us is the same today. How does this love change your outlook on today?

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