The voice of the Lord came to me in the stillness of the day: “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” I replied.
It was then that I heard the most devastating words: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
I began to tremble. How could this be? Isaac had been the promised child and had been a blessing to Sarah and me in our old age. God had promised He would make my descendants as numerous as the stars and this would take place through Isaac’s legacy. How could such a thing take place if I were to sacrifice my son as an offering? Oh, how I loved my only son! Why would God ask this of His servant? I had done my best to be faithful. Where had I gone astray to warrant a circumstance of this magnitude?
Fears and doubts assailed me, but I knew I had to obey the commands of the Lord or risk His anger and disappointment. So the next morning, I gathered supplies, sought out two of my servants, and then went to find my son. We set out for the place that God had told me about.
The journey was long, and all the while, I endured questions from my son: Where were we going? Were we going to worship the Lord here so far from home? I think he recognized that I didn’t feel like talking a great deal. I did my best to revel in these last moments with my son. Oh, if only I could tell Him of the Lord’s command! But my lips would not form the words, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that our time together was limited.
Three days later, I knew we had reached our destination. I said to my servants: “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” I said this even as I felt tears burning at the back of my eyes. I was fully aware that I would be returning to them alone.
I took my son’s hand and we started off together. I was lost in my thoughts as we walked, so I was startled when Isaac spoke to me.
“Yes, my son,” I replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” he said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
I looked to my son with tears brimming in my eyes. “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” It was all I could think to say when my soul was in such turmoil. How could I begin to explain the ways of the Lord and the task I must soon complete?
We walked on together, and soon we reached the place the Lord had told me about. I set about building an altar, seeking to hide the brimming tears from my ever-curious son. With trembling hands, I arranged the wood on the altar and turned to my son. He gazed back at me with trusting eyes, and it was almost my undoing. The tears came in earnest now as I bound him and laid him on top of the altar.
“Father?” the boy whispered, fear leaping into his eyes. “What about the lamb for the sacrifice? Why have you put me on the altar?”
But I couldn’t answer. I let out a loud cry of despair as I lifted the knife, prepared to complete this inconceivable act.
“Abraham! Abraham!” The voice was deep and commanding, and I knew it to be an angel of the Lord.
I dropped the knife as I startled at the sound. “Here I am!” I replied, my voice cracking with raw emotion.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
It was then that my eyes caught a glimpse of a ram, caught by its horns in a nearby thicket. With overwhelming thankfulness welling within me, I retrieved the animal and quickly prepared the sacrifice to the Lord. Just in time, the Lord had provided the sacrificial lamb, and I trembled with the incredible mercy he had bestowed upon me and my family that day. The Lord had provided, and to this day, I refer to that place upon the mountain by that name: The Lord will Provide.