Chapter 22, Verse 9 – 18:
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham,
Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done thisthing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
All of us may have been through situations where we have to sacrifice our greatest possession or give up what we most hold dear, as a result of one of the unavoidable circumstances of life. Be it financial wealth, the normality of the physique, or one of our kin so valued who may happen to be our child as embodied in the story. When such an adversity come into contact with our consciousness, like hiking a hill of destitution life begins to evolve. What difficulty is it to describe when a prosperous life of ours begins to dematerialize and turn ourselves into impoverished creatures? What extent of a misery would it be if we lose our physical abilities to perform the regularities of the body, such as losing our vision or the disablement of an arm or leg? And what agony beyond our souls it would be when a family member so close to our hearts suddenly departs from within the clutch of tangible existence?
One provoking question may be asked, are we willing to give them up, especially through the “demand” of another?
Let’s approach to reflect on the story why, out of inexplicable agenda, would God challenge Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, simply to test his obedience? Must he claim the life of his son to prove his loyalty to God? Practitioners of belief, let us not operate our minds in the confinement of literalism.
We are being shed the light of lore by the story that not anything material in this world (represented by Isaac) is worth the dignity and salvation of our Abrahams, our souls. We may have traveled far enough on cragged roads and at the end gain nothing but instead lose more, yet we must not withhold even the least we possess for another who might be in greater need than ourselves. We must not withhold what we could rightfully give to those who are hungry and thirsty when our stomachs are full and our throats are quenched. We may have worked hard to earn all our richness in life, yet our hardships are not enough to substantiate our reasoning that only us, and no one else, have the sole entitlement to make the most out of our accomplishments and fruits of our labors. “That in blessing I will bless thee” can mean that in sharing our blessings shall we be blessed even more. “And in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars… and as the sand…” is an insinuation of which a duplication of good deeds is like a growing vine which continually bears fruits, and whose seeds shall fall to the ground and turn themselves into further fruitbearing plants. Spread good deeds and selflessness then you will see behind you in no time “a ram caught in a thicket by his horns”, meaning, greater and better returns shall be at hand which may come unnoticed and unexpectedly. Selfishness is a symbol of decaying fruits unable to generate new seeds. Impart goodness to your children and so will they to their children and to the children of theirs, “and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” and the enemies are no other than all the evils in this world.
Listen hard to these echoing words, so shall you and your children be blessed.