Abraham – The Father of Faith
One of the greatest examples of faith, with believing and trusting, is God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son with his wife Sarah, Isaac. Up to that time in the book of Genesis we had two sacrifices of faith. The first is Adam, whose faith was tested in the sacrifice of not eating the forbidden fruit. We all know that Adam failed in his mission with not trusting and having faith in what God asked him not to do. The next one in Genesis is Noah, whose faith was tested with building an Ark. Yes, we all know that Noah was successful in his building of the Ark and fulfilling what God asked of Him to do. The third is Abraham who is known as the “Father of Faith”. Let us begin with looking at God testing Abraham, Genesis 22:1-8, which is our first reading today, Sunday, 28 February 2021.
Abraham had complete trust, faith, and obedience to God. After many years, God blessed him with a son he called Isaac. God tested Abraham, by asking him to sacrifice his son. Abraham obeyed. Specifically, God said, “Take your son, your only begotten son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Abraham rose early in the morning, cut the wood for the burnt offering, and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son while Abraham took the fire and the knife. Being inquisitive, Isaac said to his father Abraham, “behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering. Abraham replied, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”
As a father, we can all imagine the weight upon one’s shoulders and the anxiety to know that we would have to sacrifice one of our own children. The anxiety and the weight of that mission that Abraham was bearing as he walked with his son to the sacrificial offering spot. And with that, to place the wood upon Isaac’s back that would be used to offer a burnt offering to God!
We can literally feel the weight upon Abraham’s shoulders, although he was not carrying the wood, he was carrying something much heavier. He was being totally obedient to God’s will. With any sacrifice to God, we need to remember that sacrificial offerings to God were an act of gratitude, an act of justice. During Abraham’s time, humankind’s relationship with God, was lost by injustice. That injustice could only be restored by an extreme act of self-giving sacrifice. That self-giving sacrifice was Isaac’s sacrificial offering that would seal God’s covenant with Abraham. A foreshadowing of the self-giving sacrifice spiritually fulfilled by Jesus Christ in the New Covenant that mirrors the self-giving sacrifice that Abraham was obediently doing unto his son Isaac in the Old Covenant.
Abraham’s faith in God is totally revealed when he obediently was willing to forsake his son, Isaac. Although God intervened and saved Isaac’s life, it would be different for Jesus Christ whom God did not save of the cruel death. But God has and continues to have a master plan. Jesus Christ was not spared death on the cross but rose from the dead in splendid glory.
All our hope, all our faith and all our love for God our Father comes from his son, Jesus Christ, who obediently obeyed God His Father, as Abraham did when asked to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Let us remember that God’s ultimate plan was to renew the holiness of humankind in which His plan and New Covenant would be fulfilled with the obedience of his only son, Jesus Christ, willingly dying on the cross for our sins. As we continue our forty days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent, let us emulate the faith of Abraham and reflect that Jesus Christ is and was the only pleasing sacrifice for the injustice of our sins.
Blessings – Dcn Jim