First Reading: Genesis 22:1-12

Command to Sacrifice of Isaac

1 It happened after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!"

He said, "Here I am."

2 He said, "Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, even Isaac, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of."

3 Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off. 5 Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you." 6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, "My father?"

He said, "Here I am, my son."

He said, "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

8 Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they both went together. 9 They came to the place which God had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.

11 The angel of YHWH called to him out of the sky, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!"

He said, "Here I am."

12 He said, "Don't lay your hand on the boy, neither do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."

World English Bible

[1] God's call was one in a series. Even when God had given Abraham and Sarah a sign of his faithfulness in the birth of their child, God continued to call. Abraham's response was immediate.

[2] Human sacrifice was repugnant to the Hebrews, but was known in the ancient world. Sacrifice meant the offering of self to the gods, or the offering of great personal worth. A first born male represented the continuation of one's identity through a child and the most precious thing a man could have on earth, his son. Offering such to the gods was only secondary to self-sacrifice.

[2] The sacrifice of Isaac presented great moral problems to the reader. Why did God order Abraham to do what is clearly against his own Law?

First, what was more important: God's Law or God's will? If we follow God's Law, we are "safe," but are we following God's will? If we follow God's will, how are we sure we are not fooling ourselves?

Second, was God free from his own Law? Didn't that make God inconsistent, and imperfect? What did this act say about God?

Like the problem of evil in the world, there are no easy answers, only more questions to vex one's faith.

What is more important God's Law or God's Will? Explain.