Genesis 22-23; John 8:1-30; Psalm 15-16
Paradoxically it is here in the darkest of all texts, that Light is most clear. It is worth perhaps meditating on Isaiah 50:10-11 as a commentary on this story in Genesis.
As many many people have noted down the ages, this story of Abraham and the call to sacrifice ‘your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love’ is The Story of Faith. Abraham is confronted with the starkest of choices. Both ways seem to him to be ways of darkness. On the one hand he may say ‘Yes’ to God’s summons – and yet once more and now in the very starkest of terms he is confronted by the impossibility of Faith. For saying ‘Yes’ to the summons, Obeying, seems to do nothing more than contradict God’s Promise. The God who has said to him ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned’ – now calls him to sacrifice this son.
[In a sense here we face the essence of the struggle of our own walk – for we walk in obedience but rarely can we see what it will bring forth]
Yet the other choice is no less stark – Say ‘No’ to the God who has from the beginning summoned him forth? One way or the other he must say No to life. Of course God’s promise is Not that Isaac will live, it is that through Isaac will the descendents of Abraham be brought forth. The Promise goes way beyond what Abraham can see as he looks at his son. And thus is faith. We can choose to live by sight and trust our own judgement, obedient to ourselves, or live by faith, which is nothing more nor less than obedience to the one who has Promised to bring forth life through our obedience.
It is in darkness that faith comes Alive. When all we have to hold onto is the promise of God, Faith is most True, for it is All we have. It is in that discovery that we are set free – Abraham chooses to die, and trust the God will bring forth Life. He hears the word of one who was lifted up, who in his obedient dying bears much fruit and follows Him. Life revealed in and through Death. And thus, through faith Abraham does rejoice to see the day of the Living One. In the choice of faith in darkness, The Lamb of God is revealed, the Light of the World shines forth.
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”