Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
Pablo Picasso was the most famous painter of the 20th century. His paintings often broke with the traditional notion of beauty and harmony. When questioned about his unusual artistic style, the distinguished painter replied, “The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” Many people would probably agree with his observation. Often the world doesn’t seem to make sense.
Surely this thought must have passed through Abraham’s mind when God commanded him to sacrifice his son. After all, Abraham had waited 100 years for the birth of this child. But there was more involved here than paternal love. God had made significant promises with worldwide implications based on Abraham’s descendants. It simply didn’t make sense for Abraham now to take this essential link to the future welfare of the world and offer him as a sacrifice.
Fortunately, if this thought did pass through Abraham’s mind, it didn’t stay. He bound his son on the altar and lifted the sacrificial knife. He had learned from his past mistakes never to question God and never to delay obeying Him. With a faith that took captive his feelings, he prepared to do exactly as God commanded.
The lesson of Abraham is clear. It is not necessary to understand; it is only necessary to obey. The prophet Samuel reminds us, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22). Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
If God is calling you to take a step of faith that defies earthly wisdom, put obedience first and let logic catch up.
If you can’t understand the why, trust the Who.
Martin A. Cisneros