Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah, promised by God and born to them late in life. Abraham loved his son very much. When Isaac grew to be a young boy, God tested Abraham by telling him to take his son and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Though filled with sadness and grief, Abraham obeyed God's words without hesitation and took Isaac to the mountain. Though he was very hurt and confused, Abraham had faith that God would provide a way out and that he would not lose his son.
At the moment that Abraham tied up Isaac, the angel of the Lord stopped him and said, “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.”
God had provided a ram for Abraham and Isaac to sacrifice as a burnt offering. Abraham built an altar and named the place Jehovah-jireh which means "the Lord provides".
Many years later when Isaac was of age to be married, Abraham called for his most dependable servant and bestowed upon him an important job in this story. He commanded the servant to search out and find his son a wife from a good family that would join him in devotion to God.
The servant traveled to a town called Nahor and stopped by a well to pray, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’-let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this, I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
As he was praying, a woman named Rebekah approached the well. She was very beautiful and from a good family. The servant requested to her, “Please give me water from your jar.” Rebekah not only gave him water to drink, she also drew water for his camels. The servant observed her and saw that the Lord had delivered his prayer, and he praised the Lord.
He went to her family and told them about his prayer and what had happened, asking if Rebekah would join him. She agreed and her family said, “This is from the Lord; take her and go, and let her become the word of your master’s son as the Lord has directed.” Genesis tells us that Rebekah went with the servant and she married Isaac and he loved her greatly and she comforted him when Sarah, his mother died.
Isaac and Rebekah would have two sons- Esau, father of the Edomites and the Amalekites, and Jacob, who would later be called Israel. When Rebekah was about to give birth, she felt a strange struggle within her, and she was worried. In answer to her prayer the Lord revealed to her that she would have twins and that each child would become the leader of a separate nation. One nation would be stronger than the other, and the older child would serve the younger. Through Israel, the Messiah would one day be born, fulfilling the covenant made to Abraham and reestablishing a loving relationship with the Father for all mankind.
Why do you think God tested Abraham this way?
What does it mean to have faith?
In what ways did God answer prayer in this reading?