Father Abraham

Abraham scooped up a handful of straw and held it in front of one of his camels, which began to slowly churn the food around in its mouth. Abraham smiled as he looked down at his little boy Isaac, who carefully eyed his father while attempting to feed another camel. Isaac tried to duplicate his father's feat, but he struggled.

Eventually, Isaac's hands would grow large enough to handle a straw snack for the camels. For now, he just imitated his father.

Abraham wondered if it was possible to love a human being more than he loved his son, yet serving God brought Abraham even more satisfaction.

Isaac, born to Abraham at age 100, was the fulfillment of God's promise: Abraham would become the father of many nations. (Genesis 17:5) He was Abraham's only son born of his wife, Sarah.

The fact that Isaac even existed was a testament to the power of God and His faithfulness to keep His promises. We can forgive Sarah for laughing when God told her at age 65 that she would bear a son. But God wasn't laughing–He was planning the start of a great nation. And with Sarah at age 90, she and Abraham conceived Isaac.

So we can understand the confusion Abraham felt when God told him to sacrifice Isaac.

Abraham surely wondered, "God, let me get this straight. You want me to sacrifice my only son whom You gave me 25 years after You promised Him to me?" However, Abraham obeyed the Lord and gained a tremendous reward.

Abraham was mighty in spirit because he understood the importance of obedience to God. He knew that apart from God life was empty; therefore, obedience to the Lord was the only decision for him to make. God had promised that Abraham would be the father of many nations, and Abraham believed the Lord. Even if it meant sacrificing his only son, so be it. Obeying God was all Abraham desired to do.

With a torch in one hand and a knife in the other, Abraham climbed the mountain with Isaac, who carried the wood necessary for the sacrifice. This time when he looked down at his son, it's doubtful Abraham was smiling. Perhaps he brushed a tear off his cheek and kept walking. Obedience to God was of utmost importance to Abraham; it even came before Isaac.

Isaac knew nothing but trust and love for his father. His dad always knew the right thing to say and was always there for him, so why should he question what they were doing? Isaac's only question was, "Where is the lamb?"

That's when Abraham taught his son one of two life-founding principles. "God will provide," answered Abraham, as the pair continued climbing.

God's provision–what a lesson to teach his son!

Abraham knew of the impending doom on Isaac, yet he reassured him that God would provide. With time running out and Isaac on the sacrificial altar, God did indeed provide. Isaac saw his father's trust in the Lord rewarded right in front of their very eyes as a ram became ensnared in a nearby thicket.

It wasn't until years later that Isaac fully understood his father's actions that day. But it was then that Abraham shared with his son another life-founding principle: complete obedience to God.

F. B. Meyer writes of Abraham's obedience, "There is nothing that God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; who then finds rock beneath him as he puts his foot down." Isaac saw that truth unfold in front of him. He saw how God would provide in even the most unlikely of circumstances–if he would just obey Him.

God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, but He called Abraham to be a father to Isaac first.

One of the greatest callings on any man's life is to father his children in a way that is pleasing to God, to teach them the importance of obedience to God and reliance upon Him and Him alone.

No, Abraham wasn't called to be a king. He wasn't even called to be a governor. He was called to be a father, to teach Isaac to seek earnestly after God. As Abraham neared death after 175 years on earth, he recognized this was the greatest call God placed on his life. The reward for Abraham was eternal. "It came about after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac ..." (Genesis 25:11).

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