The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:1–12, 15–18, NIV).
There’s a wonderful hymn that declares, “But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows, and the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” How true this is.
When God called Abraham, He absolutely promised that He would bless him and make him a blessing. But none of this happened overnight. The journey was long, and many tests came along, as well as many failures. And in the ultimate test, Abraham’s absolute confidence was found in the character of God as he laid the son who would fulfill God’s promise on the altar.
Imagine the scene the night before. Every time I read this passage about Abraham, I cannot help but think about my two children. I wonder if Abraham could sleep that night. I wouldn’t have slept. Maybe he tried to sleep, but memories from the previous years filled his mind—like the moment he first heard God tell him and Sarah that they would have a son and they both chuckled as they thought about the silliness of a promise like that in their old age. And then that day when Sarah was indeed pregnant and no one could believe it. Or Isaac learning to walk and the first time he said “daddy.” What memories must have filled his mind?
Perhaps Abraham spent that night in Isaac’s room, watching his son as he slept, trying to freeze that moment in his mind forever. After looking at his son dozens of times, he wiped the tears and tried to go to sleep once more. Imagine how difficult it must have been for Abraham to even think about sacrificing his own son and the promise that God had given him. I am sure he would have gladly died in Isaac’s place if he could. But Romans 4:17 gives us a glimpse of how Abraham was able to obey the Lord, even in such a difficult request. It says that Abraham believed God, “who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
The road to friendship was the road of trust.