What was God trying to show Abraham (since God already knew) when he tested Abraham by having him attempt to take his own son’s life?
Sacrificing Isaac was beneficial for both God and Abraham. Found in Genesis 22, this is also a great representation of God the Father allowing Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. There are some parallels with one major difference.
Abraham does not end up having to sacrifice his son of the promise, Isaac. But God allows Jesus to be the perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, we have the opportunity to have a relationship with God.
As we know from this account, an angel from heaven stops Abraham from going through with the sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham tried to fulfill God’s promise through Ishmael. But that’s not what God wanted. His promise referred to a miraculous birth of Isaac through a barren and elderly Sarah.
God wanted to be the one to fulfill his promise, not allow Abraham to do it. Then when Abraham received Isaac, he saw God’s goodness, and that God fulfills his promises. God tested Abraham by demanding the sacrifice of Isaac to see if Abraham would try to get out of it.
After all, Isaac was the promised son who would be his heir. Through Isaac, the nation of Israel would come about after his son Jacob was renamed Israel. But Isaac was crucial to the process. Without Isaac, you don’t have Jacob or his twelve sons.
God was bringing Abraham to a place where he could trust his promise even if he took away the result of the promise. Abraham had to believe that God will provide a way to fulfill his promise if Isaac was not there.
So God saw that Abraham finally trusted him for all things, especially his promise. Hebrews tells us Abraham believed God could raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). And God provided the sacrifice when he sent the ram in the ticket.
Abraham learned to trust in God’s promises and provision. No matter what happened, God would make good on his promises. Abraham learned about God’s character that day. He also learned that God provides.
The whole time he and Isaac are headed to the mountain, when Isaac asks about providing the sacrifice, Abraham says God will provide it. At the time, Isaac was the sacrifice God was providing through his promise. But then God stopped him and provided another sacrifice.
When we trust in God’s promises, his provision will always be available to us. This is what Abraham learned from the sacrifice of his son. God will make his plan work through his promises. He does the work of the sacrifice.
We must trust in his promises without trying to make them come to pass ourselves. It is up to God to do what he promised. It is up to us to trust his promise, that he will fulfill it in his own way and time.