1After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”
3So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. 9When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.
11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
- What does this Scripture say about God?
- What does this Scripture say about life?
- What am I hearing in this Scripture?
- What am I going to do with this Scripture?
- Want to explore Scripture more deeply? Then check out our Exploring Scripture page!
Use these conversation starters to talk about life and God with your kids, spouse, or friends during the week! A great place to do this is at the dinner table. There’s one prompt for each day of the week!
Tuesday: Read the Scripture passage together.
Wednesday: How has God provided for you?
Thursday: How do you think Abraham felt during this event?
Friday: How do you think Isaac felt during this event?
Saturday: How do you think God felt during all this?
Sunday: Why do you think God tested Abraham?
Monday: What have you heard from God over the past week?
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. It is easy to get sidetracked and think only of the dissonance that God’s request brings to our modern sensibilities. But if we do that, we miss the message – a message of provision. That’s why I chose the image above. It is an image of abundant providence. When Abraham was unsure of how God was going to provide, he did not doubt the fact that God would provide. Read verse 5 again; here Abraham assures the young men who accompanied him that both he and Isaac would return to them after the offering was made. Abraham trusted in God’s goodness and faithfulness, even in the presence of almost certain strong doubts. When have you faced an impossible situation? How did God provide for you in that experience?
This is a changed man from our earlier experiences of Abraham. This is the man who used to attempt to fulfill God’s promises by his own means. He’s the same man who tried to pass Sarah off as someone other than his spouse, for fear that Pharaoh would kill him and take Sarah away from him. This is the same man who had a child with Hagar because he thought God was too slow in fulfilling his promises. Now, Abraham is different. He has been changed through the continual experience of God’s faithfulness, even in reaction to his own unfaithfulness. When has God proven faithful to you, even when you have not been faithful to God? What does this say about God, God’s trustworthiness, and God’s care for you?
God’s abundant provision inspires a reaction of praise and thanksgiving on the part of Abraham. That act of thanksgiving then serves as an inspiration for future generations, who return to that place and remember its new name – the LORD will provide. How does Abraham’s story inspire confidence in God within you? Spend a moment and ask God to provide for you in a situation that feels uncertain or frightening. God will provide – trust in that truth.
Spiritual Practice: Fasting
Fasting is a difficult spiritual discipline. It requires that we make a sacrifice of something dear to us, relinquishing our rights to it for the sake of making more space in your life for communion with God. Sometimes we fast food, but other times we fast things that have stolen our focus away from God. Consider if there is anything that has impeded your connection to God. If so, fast from that thing/practice this week. How do you feel after you have fasted? Is there more room in your life for God?
Breath Prayer: LORD God, provide for us.