People often get misleading view of God because of this story. God's request does not seem ethical or reasonable.
( 22:2 )
How it all started...
Promise of God
Let's go back in time and look into what happened years before. Here's what God promised to Abraham then.
( 17:16,19,21 )
God's promise is to establish a covenant with Isaac, the only son by Sarah. The promise is made before Isaac was born. So clearly, God's intention is to keep Isaac alive. However, look at how Abraham reacts to God's promise.
Abraham does not have faith in what God is saying.
( 17:17 )
We do not see from Abraham actions that he has faith in God.
Abraham still does not trust in God.
Later, God reassured Abraham again about his promise. Now Abraham did not express any doubt about it even though Sarah did:
( 18:10-13 )
Can we see now that Abraham has faith in God? If he did, God would not have to remind about his promise again. More than that, from the next verse we can see that Abraham still does not have trust in God and lied about Sarah being his sister before Abimelech king of Gerar. As if Abraham is killed, there won't be Isaac, and God's promise would be broken.
( 20:2 )
( 20:11 )
A year later, God has given Abraham son, exactly as he promised. Did this change Abraham's faith in God?
Prove that Abraham indeed has faith in God far stronger than we can even imagine.
Years later when Isaac grew up, God has made a shocking request to Abraham. Now, Abraham responded immediately and did exactly what God said. Despite that Abraham deeply loved his son Isaac, the only son from his wife Sarah, he did not withheld him from God.
( 22:2,3,9,10 )
( 22:12 )
It's a very significant moment in Bible, but not by the ethical aspect of it that draws most of people's attention to it.
At first, God knew Abraham and what he can and cannot do before he made the request to him. In the same way as God knows everyone else before any actions or words are taken place.
( 139:2-4 )
At the same time, Abraham has faith in God, and knows that God's promises will always be fulfilled. Likewise, he undoubtedly knew that God will keep his promise to establish the covenant with Isaac and his descendants. Therefore, Isaac cannot die. Or, it will die but will be raised up again. Or, something else will happen as he fully trusts in God. Abraham says that both he and Isaac will return and that the sacrifice will be provided by God.
( 22:5 )
( 22:7-8 )
This demonstration of Abraham's faith is for us, readers of the Bible. So that we understand how faithful was the person chosen by God. And how significant the actions and faith of Abraham to all of us...
( 22:18 )
Abraham did not sacrifice his son. God sacrificed his...
While Abraham believed that his son will get to be alive at the end, he did not know how and when... Isaac was 'dead' for Abraham during the long 3-day trip to the mountain pointed out by God, and 'rose' on a third day at the end of it. God's Son Jesus got crucified and rose on the third day...
( 22:4 )
( 15:4 )
Without understanding how deeply Abraham loved and feared God so that he was ready to sacrifice his son, we won't be able to understand God's love to us. He gave his only son to die on the cross for us...
( 3:16 )