The Test by Scarlett Stough

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Genesis 22:1-2

Every time I read this passage, I am shocked—shocked God would command this sacrifice, shocked Abraham would comply. This reaction seems perfectly reasonable, and I think God intends it to be shocking.

This side of the cross, I realize Abraham and Isaac are acting out the sacrifice made by God the Father and his Son. I still breathe a sigh of relief when Abraham is told not to go through with it and sacrifice instead the ram caught in the thicket (Genesis 22:10-14.)

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

I realize the ram caught in the thicket represents Christ who substituted himself for every child of Abraham’s faith. How much more shocking is it that God would give his body in suffering and death so none who believe and accept his sacrifice have to be executed for their sins? This is so shocking that the idea of it offends the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and is ridiculed as foolish by those of other nations, especially intellectuals:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look to wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

1 Corinthians 1:20-25

Our test asks of us: Do we believe “the message of the cross” truly is “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God?”


Volume 13 Issue 02 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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Editor's Note: Graphic is etching of Abraham and Isaac by Gustav Doré (French illustrator 1832-1883)