This is one of my contributions to the Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2014.
I am furious.
I have sojourned with him all across the Middle East. I forgave him when he tried to pass me off as his sister. Twice.
We’ve had some good times too, for sure. He stood by me in my barrenness. Even after God promised we would be the ancestors of more offspring than we could count, Abraham stood by me. He even agreed to my ill-conceived plan to have a child through my maid, Hagar.
But at long last, well past anyone’s expectation of childbearing, I gave birth to Isaac. When you wait 100 years for a child, he is treasured indeed.
Which brings me back to my fury.
The boys have just returned from what I thought was your standard father/son weekend at Mt. Moriah and Isaac told me a chilling tale. Apparently his father tied him up and put him on an altar. And, apparently, Abraham took out a sharp knife and was going to KILL MY BABY BOY. Isaac saw the blade of the knife headed toward his body!
I guess I am supposed to be thankful the angel got there just in time to stop Abraham from carrying out this sordid story. But I can’t be thankful right now. I am furious. What was this “exercise” supposed to prove? That Abraham was obedient? Or that Abraham was insane? Why weren’t Abraham’s many years of sojourning and obedience enough to prove his faithfulness?
We are going to have a talk, you can be sure. If Abraham wants to watch his son grow up, he’s going to have to learn new ways to talk with God. He’s going to have to learn to suggest God find some other ways to prove his point. He’s going to have to talk back to God, because God can take it. But I’m about done.
Because my poor son is devastated. How do you recover from having your father tie you up and nearly sacrifice you on an altar?
I’m going to go for a long walk. I’m going to keep saying to myself, “God would never have let this happen. God did not let this happen,” until my fury abates.
And I’m going to let Isaac eat all the ice cream he wants.
And when I calm down, (please, God, let me calm down), I will pray that I can see redemption in this story. Because I don’t now. I will pray to see Blessing as I kiss Isaac goodnight and smell his hair as I hug him, thankful he came home from this horror story. I will pray for the strength to forgive Abraham for his faithfulness. I will pray I have the courage to invite him back into the house and out of the not-proverbial-but-very-real-doghouse, so I can console him. And when I calm down, I will pray to God this never happens again to any mother, or that at least the presence of God is tangible with them through the horror.