Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
This passage, where God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac, isn’t an easy one. But much like I pondered on what it would have been like for Noah, it’s interesting to ponder this passage through Isaac’s eyes.
In my mind I see a young boy following and obeying his father. But this boy isn’t lacking in knowledge and understanding, he realizes that a key component necessary for them to worship is missing – “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” His father’s response? “God himself will provide.”
God was himself going to play an active role. Abraham and Isaac would provide the fire and wood, as well as themselves, and God would provide the lamb.
I wonder whether Abraham’s voice would have had a tremble to it as he answered his son’s question. Did Abraham truly think that God was going to provide a lamb and that his son would be spared? (In time, God was going to provide another ‘lamb’, and God’s own Son wouldn’t be spared…)
So often I like to make sure that I have everything organized before I begin anything. But I wonder whether that maybe sometimes might block God out, not create space or allow me to be open to what God might bring?
A reflection based on the Lenten Cross Reading for the 5th day of Lent.