The Gospel According to Genesis–The Offering of Isaac

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

The rider in the video is a guy named Danny MacAskill.  He has mad skills and travels around the world taping himself doing stunts.

The video is awesome yet if you think about it, Danny MacAskill is stupid!  Who risks their life for a free Youtube video that people will post nasty comments under?  It doesn’t make sense

Of course, sometimes God doesn’t make sense either.

Look at Genesis 22:1-19,

22:1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.

Hebrews 11:17-19 and Gen. 22:5 tells us that Abraham had faith that God would resurrect Isaac from the dead.  But he still may have had to plunge a knife into his own son…what kind of God does that?  It doesn’t make sense to me.

I get the theology behind it–it points to God’s offer of Christ and it assures Abraham of the faith God has given him.  I get it…but…

A few years ago, my son nearly died.  He fell into a pool, my wife pulled him out and administered CPR but she panicked and was doing it wrong.  My son was turning blue and dying in her arms.  She screamed and that sound drew a nearby nurse who, by God’s grace, was outside at the time.  She grabbed my son and saved his life with no after effects at all. 

On the way to the ER, all I did was pray over and over again, “Thank you, God! Thank you, God!” 

But my wife had a different reaction.  She was haunted for months by nightmares.  In her dreams, our son continued to turn blue and no one came to help.  She became angry with God.  She was upset that God would put her through such a traumatic event.  What kind of dreams did Abraham have? I’m sure they weren’t pleasant.

Why would God do that?

Have you ever read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?  My favorite line in the book, which they screw up in the mediocre movie, is from a scene where the four children are speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about the great lion Aslan, who is the Christ figure in the novel.  The children ask why they shiver in fear when they speak of Aslan if he is good and they respond, “He is not a tame lion.”

God often doesn’t make sense and always calls for what we don’t want to give Him. 

Yet, thankfully, He doesn’t do what we would expect and our very salvation depends on Him not doing what we would expect.

God asks Abraham to offer his son but not sacrifice him but God offers us His son and not only sacrifices Him but abandons Him so that we, who deserve to die shall live.  That’s what Christians call “the Gospel” or “good news.”  Jesus, the perfect Son of God, takes the punishment for our sins upon himself on the cross.  In doing so, God abandons His own son because He cannot be in the presence of sin.  Jesus also grants each of his followers His own perfect, sinless life so that we are judged by His life not our own.  That is truly good news. 

It doesn’t make sense that God in the flesh gets what we deserve and we get what he deserves but it is beautiful and ultimately will save the world.

So often, what God calls us to do doesn’t make sense like leaving a law practice to pastor “ghetto church” or forego buying a church building in order to purchase homes in a crime riddled area to reach out to drug addicts and prostitutes.  It doesn’t make sense but like an acrobat on a bike it’s beautiful, isn’t it?

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Comments
  1. That bike is like a piece of him! amazing!

    on a more serious note, I have myself asking those questions from time to time.

    “Why do you put these dreams in my heart? Why do you direct me to do things I have never done before? Why do you allow my friends and family to suffer so much?” and yet I always come back to the knowledge that God is good; And He understands things so much better than I ever will.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m standing on shaking ground. Turns out just my legs are shaking, they stand on the solid rock.

    It’s a hard place to go through though; these situations don’t seem to get any easier from what I can tell. But as you said, there is something beautiful about the oddness of how God does things.

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