“When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.” Genesis 22:9 (NIV)
Recently, we attended to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. One of my favorite events in the rodeo is when they have sixteen teenagers trying to catch and halter eight calves. It is hilarious! There are big strong boys and tiny little girls being drug around the arena by these calves that want nothing to do with being tied up. There is a prize to be won, so these teenagers give it their all!
At the time when Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham is old! He was a hundred years old when Isaac was born and this event was many years later. Most scholars agree that Isaac was in his late teens or twenties at least when this event took place. Isaac would not have been easy for Abraham to wrangle. It would have been very easy for Isaac to run away from his father if he was not willing to be sacrificed.
In order for Abraham to bind Isaac up, Isaac would have needed to be a willing sacrifice. He would have needed to obey Abraham and submit to his authority. I’m sure Abraham was not taking pleasure in this act of obedience. The grief and heaviness of what he was doing was certainly written all over his face. Perhaps he was sobbing as he tied the ropes. I know I would have been.
Obedience to God does not remove our human emotions. Sometimes it hurts to obey. Sometimes we must leave people and circumstances that break our hearts, but in order to obey God we must leave. Paul knew this pain when he was leaving Caesarea. “Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'” (Acts 21:13)
Personal Reflection: Are you willing to obey God even if it hurts?