God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.” (Gn 22:1-2)
Dictionary.com tell us that “Sacrifice” is a noun and that it means:
- the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.
- the person, animal, or thing so offered.
- the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
- the thing so surrendered or devoted.
- a loss incurred in selling something below its value.
No matter how you slice it, “sacrifice” is not something many people want to do.
Even more, a “sacrifice” is not something many people would want to be!
Abraham truly was put to the test by God. Abraham, a just man, was used to offering sacrifices. The best sacrifices, according to the people back in the time of Abraham, were “first fruits”. They would offer the first born of the animals or the first picking of the crops because they were always the best.
Imagine Abraham’s emotions when God asked him to make a sacrifice of his own “first fruit”: his son, Isaac. And yet, Abraham trusted so much in God that he was prepared to offer up his son. He went so far as to take his son up the holy mountain, erect an altar, and lash his son to the altar. He had the knife at the ready in his hand to slash his son’s throat when an angel stayed his hand.
Then, and only then, did Abraham find out that this was a test and that he had passed it with flying colors.
We say to ourselves, “Pray, God, that I am never put through a test like that!” We often are. For some of us, it might be a health scare or a health condition that we never would have imagined. For others, it might be the loss of a job we felt was very secure. For others it might be the loss of a good friend, the death of a family member or friend, or some other “loss”.
As we go through those things, we find our faith in God tested. Hopefully, as we come through those situations, we find our faith stronger.
None of us desires to go through those kinds of things. All of us, however, desire to become closer to God. The tests in our lives make our faith stronger and our relationship to God closer.
FAITH ACTION: Is there something in your life to which you believe God is calling you? Have you been unwilling to respond because of the sacrifice involved. Make an attempt to say “yes” to God this day.