For Twenty-five Years
Abraham had been in the Promised Land without the promised heir. God
had promised that He would bless all the nations of the earth
through him, and yet He did not give him a son. Abraham's faith
almost staggered a number of times. Ishmael was born, but God set
aside the son of the bondwoman, for he was not to be the ancestor of
the Son of God. God was setting Abram apart simply that He might
prepare the way for His own
Son, and now, at last, a messenger comes
down from heaven to Hebron, and tells Abraham in his old age that he
should have a son.
It seemed too good to be true. He had hard work to believe it; but
at the appointed time Isaac was born into that family. I don't
believe there was ever a child born into the world that caused so
much joy in the home as in Abraham's heart and home. How Abraham and
that old mother, Sarah, must have doted on that child! How their
eyes feasted on him!
But just when the lad was growing up into manhood Abraham received
another very strange command, and there was another surrender--his
only son. Perhaps he was making an idol of that boy, and thought
more of him than he did of the God that gave him. There must be no
idol in the heart if we are going to do the will of God on earth.
I can imagine that one night the old patriarch retired worn out and
weary. The boy had gone fast to sleep, when suddenly a heavenly
messenger came and told him that he must take that boy off on to a
mountain that God was to show him, and offer him up as a sacrifice.
No more sleep that night! If you had looked into that tent the next
morning I can imagine that you would have seen the servants flying
round and making preparations for the master's taking a long
journey. He perhaps keeps the secret locked up in his heart, and he
doesn't tell even Sarah or Isaac. He doesn't tell the servants, even
the faithful servant Eliezer, what is to take place. About nine
o'clock you might have seen those four men--Abraham, Isaac and the
two young men with them--start off on the long journey. Once in a
while Abraham turns his head aside and wipes away the tear. He
doesn't want Isaac to see what a terrible struggle is going on
within. It is a hard battle to give up his will and to surrender
that boy, the idol of his life. Oh, how he loved him!
I can imagine the first night. The boy soon falls asleep, tired and
weary with the hot day's journey, but the old man doesn't sleep. I
can see him look into the face of the innocent boy, and say:
"Soon my boy will be gone, and I will be returning without him."
Perhaps most of the night his voice could have been heard in prayer,
as he cries to God to help him; and as God had helped him in the
past so God was helping him that night.
The next day they journeyed on, and again a terrible conflict goes
on. Again he brushes away the tear. Perhaps Isaac sees it, and says:
"Father is going away to meet his God, and the angels may come down
and talk with him as at Hebron. That is what he is so agitated
The second night comes, and the old man looks into that face every
hour of the night. He sleeps a little, but not much, and the next
morning at family worship he breaks down. He cannot finish his
They journey on that day--it is a long day--and the old patriarch
say: "This is the last day I am to have my boy with me. To-morrow I
must offer him up; to-morrow I shall be without the son of my
The third night comes, and what a night it must have been! I can
imagine he didn't eat or sleep that night. Nothing is going to break
his fast, and every hour of the night he goes to look into the face
of that boy, and once in a while he bends over and kisses him, and
"O Isaac, how can I give thee up?"
Morning breaks. What a morning it must have been for that father! He
doesn't eat; he tries to pray, but his voice falters. After
breakfast they start on their journey again. He has not gone a great
way before he lifts up his eyes, and yonder is Mount Moriah. His
heart begins to beat quickly. He says to the two young men:
"You stay here, and I will go yonder with my son."
Then, as father and son went up Mount Moriah, with the wood, and the
fire, and the knife, the boy turns suddenly to the father, and says:
"Father, where is the lamb? We haven't any offering, father."
It was a common thing for Isaac to see his father offer up a victim,
but there is no lamb now.
Did you ever think