Next, let’s go on to see what God did on Abraham. In the words of Genesis 22:2, God told Abraham: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.” God’s meaning was very clear, that is, He told Abraham to offer up his only son, his beloved Isaac, as a burnt offering. From the viewpoint of today, isn’t this thing God did still discordant with man’s notion? Yes. The thing God did at that time was greatly discordant with man’s notion and was incomprehensible to man. Men think in their notion: God bestowed to a man a son when he disbelieved it and thought it was impossible. Yet after he had the son, he was asked to offer him up. It was really inconceivable! What exactly did God want to do? What exactly was God’s intention? God bestowed to Abraham a son unconditionally, but He required him to offer up the son unconditionally. Did it go too far? From the standpoint of the third party, it not only went too far but was somewhat “making trouble willfully.” However, Abraham himself did not think it went too far. Although he had some petty thoughts and had some small suspicions about God, he was still ready to offer up Isaac. What thing do you see here that could prove Abraham was willing to offer up his son? How was it put? It was put this way in the text: And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. (Gen 22:3) 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 on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. (Gen 22:9-10) When Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, did God see the whole action? God saw it. In the whole course from God’s requiring Abraham to offer up Isaac to Abraham’s lifting the knife to really slay his son, God saw Abraham’s heart. Whether he was foolish or ignorant or misunderstood God before that, his heart for God at that time was genuine and sincere, and he truly wanted to return to God his son—Isaac, whom God bestowed to him. God saw in him his obedience, and that was what God wanted.
In man’s eyes, many things God does are incomprehensible and even inconceivable. When God wants to orchestrate a man, this “orchestration” in many cases is discordant with his notions and incomprehensible to him. But this “discordant with his notions” and “incomprehensible to him” is exactly God’s trial and test to him. However, Abraham could show obedience to God, and this is the most basic condition for his being able to satisfy God’s requirement. Only at that time, that is, only when Abraham could obey God’s requirement—offering up Isaac, did God have true trust and true approval in the human being, that is, Abraham whom He chose. He was sure that the man He chose was an indispensable leading one who could bear His promise and undertake His management plan that followed. Although this thing was only a trial and test, God already felt gratified, felt the love man gave Him, and also felt the unprecedented comfort from man. At the instant when Abraham lifted the knife to kill Isaac, didn’t God stop Abraham’s action? God did not let Abraham offer up Isaac, because He did not intend to take away Isaac’s life at all. So God stopped Abraham’s action in time. In God’s eyes, Abraham’s obedience already stood the test, and what he did was enough; God already saw the result in what He wanted to do. Was this result satisfactory to God? It can be said that this result was satisfactory to God and was what He wanted and what He hoped to see. Wasn’t it real? Although God tests everyone in different ways against different backgrounds, in Abraham He saw what He wanted and saw that Abraham’s heart was genuine and his obedience was unconditional. This “unconditional” is just what God wants. Some people often say: I have offered this and have abandoned that. Why is God still not satisfied with me? Why does God still try me continually? Why does God still test me continually? This shows a fact: God has not seen your heart or gained your heart. That is, God has not seen such a true heart in you as that of Abraham, who could take the knife to personally kill his son and offer him up to God. He has not seen your unconditional obedience to Him. He has not derived comfort from you. Of course, He tries you continually. Isn’t this real? Well, that’s all for this topic. Now read the next passage “God’s promise to Abraham.”
3. God’s Promise to Abraham
(Gen 22:16-18) By myself have I sworn, said the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.
This is an exact record about God’s blessing Abraham. Although it is brief in words, it is quite rich in content. It contains the reason, background, and content of God’s blessing Abraham. And it also embodies God’s pleasure and excitement in His saying these words and God’s eagerness in “His hoping to gain those who can listen to His word.” Here, we see God’s treasuring and cherishing of those who listen to His word and obey His command, also see the price God has paid for gaining man and God’s thoughtful kind intention, and even more see the bitterness and suffering God has borne alone behind this work of management plan, which are clearly shown in the scripture “By myself have I sworn.” This is a passage of words worth pondering and also a passage of words which has extraordinary significance and far-reaching influence on later generations.
From A Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh—The Way to Know God I
God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself (II)