Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now 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.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:1-5)
Sacrifice Is Worship
The testing of Abraham highlighted the confidence God had in His servant and the trust and faith Abraham had in his Lord. When men are tested, they face overwhelming odds in many ways. The testing of physical strength requires men of robust character to win the prize. Testing one for knowledge can task the mind beyond comprehension. The spiritual challenge from the devil is a constant source of affliction. Little in life does not present itself as a test of the will of the human spirit.
Abraham had incredible faith. At the age of seventy-five, he obeyed God when he was told to leave his family and go to a place that God would show him. He obeyed, not knowing where he was going. The Lord promised Abraham a son. In the days of Abraham, men of seventy-five and above would not be considered candidates for fathering a child. God told Abraham he would have a son by his wife, Sarah, who was ten years younger. The fulfillment of that promise came when Abraham was one hundred years of age. Sarah gave birth to a healthy baby boy when she was ninety. Only by the power of God could the joy of birth be shared by two people beyond the age of childbearing. Abraham did not waver. He believed in the promise of God.
It is uncertain how old Isaac was when the Lord came to Abraham and gave him the greatest test of his life. Isaac was not an infant, and while the age is not given, Abraham calls him a lad. God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah and offer his only begotten son as a burnt offering to the Lord. Early the following day, Abraham takes Isaac and two servants and begins the journey to Moriah. It takes three days to complete the trip. Abraham knew for three days what he would do with his beloved son. There would be a natural affinity for a man to cherish a son that was a miracle birth. As Abraham watched Isaac grow from infancy to adolescence, his heart filled with love and joy. There was a special bond between the aged parents of the young child. But God demanded a burnt offering, and that sacrifice was the son of Abraham.
The man of God thought of what needed to be done to sacrifice Isaac. The two of them would ascend the mountain told them by God. They would carry the wood and the fire to prepare the offering. Using rocks and sticks from the mountain, Abraham and Isaac would build an altar to the Lord. Abraham knew Isaac would ask what the purpose of the journey was and, when it came time to sacrifice, where they would get the offering. God told Abraham to offer Isaac, and Abraham fully planned to bind his son, put him on the altar, and kill him. After killing his son, Abraham would set the wood on fire and watch the flames consume his only begotten son. While his heart grieved at the sight of his dead son burning, he would not waver in his obedience.
When Abraham ascended the mountain, he told his servants he and Isaac were going to worship the Lord, and they would return. Abraham knew what was going to happen. He would kill his son, offer him as a burnt offering, and the Lord would raise his son from the dead. Then, he and Isaac would come down from the mountain and return home. In the mind of Abraham, that was worship. Worship was not a casual experience of a bored mind going through rituals long held by traditional culture. Abraham was obedient to the word of the Lord in his willingness to kill his son, believing in the power of God to raise him from the dead. The Lord did not permit Abraham to kill Isaac and offered another sacrifice. Worship is God giving His only begotten Son to die so that you and I would not suffer. Our worship is the faith of Abraham. We believe we will ascend the mountain and give everything to the Lord we love and serve with all our hearts. Until that heart is created in the mind of the child of God, worship is empty. Worship is obedience, and obedience manifests our worship of the Lord God Almighty.