26 June 2012

Trusting God in the Dark

'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love . . .'
--Genesis 22:2
The command to offer up the son of the promise, with whom the whole future lies, seems the complete contradiction of the Purpose of God on which Abraham has set his faith.

Abraham in the story is called by God to make a supreme sacrifice, an act of complete and entire worship, trusting God in the dark, committing everything to him: 'not my will but thine be done.' While God did not in the end demand this sacrifice to be made, that which he did demand was the entire willingness to make the offering.

Such is the meaning of the story as the writer tells it; and because this and nothing less is the true and original meaning therefore we, in interpreting it, may and must look onward to the self-giving of our LORD, in whose case no offering of a substitute was possible. Hence we may and must find the final answer to Isaac's question 'Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?' and Abraham's reply 'God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son' (22:7-8) in the words of John 1:29, 'Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.'
--Gabriel Hebert, The Old Testament From Within (Oxford University Press, 1962), 34

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