Skeptics often dismiss faith as just “a crutch for the weak.” Don’t try telling that to Abraham. On one occasion God gave the elderly patriarch this chilling challenge: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering.” Faith sometimes places great demands on its adherents, so it can hardly be considered a crutch. Sometimes it feels more like a club.
But isn’t this command from the Lord way over the top? Is God a blood-thirsty monster who places unethical demands on his people? Is he, in the end, all-powerful but not all-good? Does he like to “toy” with his people in order to inflict unnecessary trauma on them? Pastor Tim wrestles with these questions and others in this message from the famous “Binding of Isaac” story in Genesis 22. He contends that it’s precisely because Isaac’s life is on the line that something even more horrendous than child sacrifice is at issue—namely, the possibility that God could be a liar. After all, Isaac was the child of promise, so if he dies, God’s integrity dies with him.
In many ways, the story is disturbing, repugnant, and infuriating. We want to know what it was that drove Abraham up the mountain to take the life of his beloved son. We want to know why Isaac was so passive and compliant in the whole affair. And we want to know why God intervened at the last possible moment. Find out in “Shadows of the Cross, Part 1: The Ram in the Thicket.” Ultimately we discover this life-transforming truth: The hardest thing God could ever ask of us is the very thing he did for us—he gave us his only Son. So in the end, this provocative story points us to the best story of all—the gospel of Jesus Christ.