Misguided? Part I

Posted: December 3, 2007 in Theology

Abraham and Isaac is a weird story. I don’t care who you are or what some preacher said, it’s strange. God tells Abraham that He is going to bless him with a son, He does and then He tells him to kill his son. Is that weird to anyone else?

Here is what I thought of when I read that passage this morning. Why did Abraham say, “Stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” I realize that most people think it was his great faith (not saying he didn’t have great faith), but I wonder if his faith was misguided. Here is what I mean…

Abraham was either thinking God won’t make me kill him or God will bring him back from the dead.” There aren’t really any other options. The story doesn’t have some drama where Abraham held the knife up in the air for seconds, that felt like minutes, and then God shouted from Heaven to tell him to stop. He just grabbed the knife and went for it. I wonder if Abraham was so blind in his faith toward God that it is why his faith was rewarded. Can someone believe in something so strongly that even though it makes no sense it actually works? What if God really wanted to talk it over with him? What if God wanted Abraham to ask what the plan was? What if God didn’t think he would really do it?

Nobody had been raised from the dead before, God had changed His mind before (or at least regretted a decision He made – Flood), and God had been “unclear” about how Abraham was going to become a great nation (hence Ishmael). So what in the world was Abraham thinking?

I feel like this story is critically linked to Matthew 21:21. When has anyone had faith that moved a mountain? Have you heard of a story where someone has been able to move even a small hill into a lake? If he shriveled up a tree by his prayers shouldn’t we at least be able to do that?

My thesis is that we aren’t recklessly abandoned in our faith. What if we got to the point that the only way we could be saved, not look foolish, or see a miracle happen would be for God to come through…even if He wasn’t intending too.

  1. Dane says:

    In that day and time it was “normal” for parents to sacrifice their children. Some small “g” gods required child sacrifice to appease them. In my opinion Abraham would have thought this was just another normal thing to do. It’s weird to us now, but back then it would have been par for the course. The fact that God stepped in and said, “Wait a minute” was weird to Abraham. Since violence ruled the day God could only show He is different by coming to Abraham in love. That was and is special.

  2. CS says:


    You said above, “Abraham was either thinking God won’t make me kill him or God will bring him back from the dead. There aren’t really any other options.” Abraham also could have been thinking, “The creator of Heaven and Earth is telling me to do something, so I better do it.” He could have been thinking, “Boy, I shouldn’t have sharpened my knife this morning.” He could even be thinking, “I could really go for some roasted goat right now.” Whatever the case, it is dangerous to try to read more into the Bible in this way and to try to read the minds of the people whose lives were documented. This can lead to bad theology and errant teaching.

    While this example is a relatively minor quibble that really doesn’t matter too much, it is still a good point where we should discuss hermeneutics and interpretation of scripture.


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