Draw Close to God
The Greatest Proof of God’s Love
ABRAHAM loved God. That faithful patriarch also loved Isaac, the son of his old age. But when Isaac was possibly 25 years old, Abraham faced a test that went against the natural instincts of a father—God told him to sacrifice his son. The story, however, did not end in Isaac’s death. At the critical moment, God intervened by means of an angel. This Bible account, recorded at Genesis 22:1-18, gives us a prophetic glimpse into God’s great love for us.
“God put Abraham to the test,” says verse 1. Abraham was a man of faith, but now his faith would be tested as never before. God said: “Take, please, your son, your only son whom you so love, Isaac, and . . . offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall designate to you.” (Verse 2) Remember, God does not allow his servants to be tried beyond what they can bear. So this test showed his confidence in Abraham.—1 Corinthians 10:13.
Abraham responded with prompt obedience. We read: “Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his ass and took two of his attendants with him and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering. Then he rose and went on the trip.” (Verse 3) Abraham evidently kept the details of the test to himself.
A three-day trip followed, giving time for somber reflection. But Abraham’s resolve did not weaken. The words he spoke revealed his faith. Upon seeing the selected mountain in the distance, he told his servants: “You stay here . . . , but I and the boy want to go on over there and worship and return to you.” When Isaac asked where the sheep was for the offering, Abraham said: “God will provide himself the sheep.” (Verses 5, 8) Abraham expected to return with his son. Why? Because “he reckoned that God was able to raise him [Isaac] up even from the dead.”—Hebrews 11:19.
Up on the mountain, when Abraham took the “knife to kill his son,” an angel stayed his hand. God then provided a ram, caught in the thicket, that Abraham could offer up “in place of his son.” (Verses 10-13) In God’s eyes, it was as if Isaac had actually been sacrificed. (Hebrews 11:17) “Before God,” explains one scholar, “the willingness was reckoned as equal to the deed.”
Jehovah’s confidence in Abraham was vindicated. And Abraham’s confidence in Jehovah was rewarded, for God repeated and enlarged upon his covenant with Abraham, which covenant promised blessings for people of all the nations.—Verses 15-18.
In the end, God spared Abraham the sacrifice that He would not spare himself. Abraham’s willingness to offer up Isaac foreshadowed God’s offering of his only-begotten Son, Jesus, for our sins. (John 3:16) The sacrifice of Christ is the greatest proof of Jehovah’s love for us. Since God made such a sacrifice for us, we do well to ask ourselves, ‘What sacrifices am I willing to make in order to please God?’