Without a doubt, this is one of the most scandalous, surprising, disturbing, and shocking passages in all of Scripture. God asks Abraham to straight up murder the son that was born after a 25-year-old promise was finally fulfilled.
This was the passage that I preached on Sunday. I wrestle with Scripture every week--actually, Scripture wrestles with me--but this week this text got the best of me. The difficulty is that we are not allowed to read Scripture as bystanders. We can't peek into Scripture as we peek out of windows. We don't read Scripture as a history book. Instead, we are invited to put it on...get into the story...live into the moment. However, this is one text that I struggled to get in on.
Here's how I preached it. Let me know what you think:
-One way to read this story is to see Abraham as a man that is fully present. In 22:1, 22:7, and 22:11, Abraham responds, "Here I am." This is his response to God, to Isaac, and to the angel of the Lord. Abraham is fully present. He is fully attentive. This is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to God and to our fellow human beings.
-God takes faith very, very seriously.
-An untested faith cannot be strengthened.
-This story doesn't allow Abraham to be the hero. This story is not about the faithfulness of Abraham; this is a story about the faithfulness of God.
-The statement, "God provides," is scandalous. We live in a society that says that bank accounts provide. It says that reason, logic, and greater knowledge provides. However, we are the people of God that hang our hats on the fact that God provides.
This text got the best of me.
Are there pieces of Scripture that have gotten the best of you?