Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 22:1-2

1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

The most famous of Abraham’s stories is this, the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. This can be a difficult story to grapple with. Yes, God doesn’t actually have Abraham go through with it, but even the suggestion to kill one’s own child seems torturous. God even stresses “thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,” as if to make this even harder on Abraham.

Killing is wrong, after all, especially killing one’s own flesh and blood. Destroying a child goes against every natural and paternal bond. When I hear this story it agitates me deeply, and I think the reason why is due to a key different between me and Abraham.

I just wouldn’t do it.

If I’m being totally frank and honest, I don’t love God more than my children. I don’t trust Him implicitly. I don’t assume that what He says will work itself out for good even if I don’t see how. My discomfort in this story is based around the incongruity of “I want to follow God, but I wouldn’t follow Him in this.” And that challenges and vexes me. He is a God that I am not ready to fully follow.

And honestly just acknowledging that helps me to surrender it. I’m not at that same level of trust and devotion, so I don’t get how to properly process this. I don’t have the answers, but I think for today I don’t need to. I’m still a work in progress. One day I hope to understand all, but I won’t get there by constantly agitating over things that are beyond me for now.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 21:32-34

32 Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.

34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.

Something we did not know until these verses is that Abimelech was king over the Philistine people. Obviously the Philistines will come to be one of the constant vexations to the people of Israel, but at this time their leader is friendly with the forefather of the entire Israelite nation.

I never realized before how the early records in Genesis take special care to detail the origin of nations that will become significant later on. For example we also learned how the Ammonites and Moabites came from the daughters of Lot, and they, too, will eventually be long-time enemies of the Israelites.

I had always assumed that when the Israelites were led out of Egypt the nations they warred against in Canaan were complete strangers to them. Evidently that viewpoint was incorrect, all these countries already had a history with each other.

Another interesting foreshadowing in these verses is that Abraham planted a grove to worship the Lord. Later on his descendants would keep the practice of worshipping in groves of trees, but they would be dedicated to pagan gods instead of the Lord. In today’s culture we have lost the connection between groves of trees and worship, but evidently it was a strong idea back in biblical times.