Abraham's Sacrifice

The narratives of the Old Testament to many of us are familiar as household words; and yet, when we come to read them from the standpoint of Christian Science, we see that we may not in the past have recognized much of the spiritual meaning which lies behind the story, nor fully understood its application to individual experience. We may have grasped it in its moral, but not in its spiritual, signification.

The character of Abraham and his obedience to the demands made by the revelations of the nature of God which came to him are traced in the book of Genesis. We are told there of how Abraham's faith in God and in His promises was tested, and of the great blessing to the world which was to result from the success of the test. The story is told in the simplest words. Abraham's fidelity to God seemed to demand of him that he offer up his son, his "only son Isaac," whom he loved, as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains. Hitherto, Abraham had met each call of God with instant obedience; nor did his nature change when this crucial test came, for "Abraham rose up early in the morning," and made preparation to reach the place of which God had told him.

On the third day of his ascent, "Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off." Desiring—as later a greater than he desired—to be alone with God in his struggle, Abraham bade his servants tarry, while he and the lad went a distance apart to pray. As they went, Isaac, bearing the wood for the sacrifice, asked in his innocence where was the lamb for a burnt offering. The brave father, his heart wrung by his unswerving purpose, replied, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb." When every preparation was completed, and the boy bound, lest any resistance to the supposed will of God should mar the sacrifice; when the knife was actually raised in Abraham's hand wherewith to slay his son, "the angel of the Lord" spake from heaven, forbidding him to hurt the lad. Abraham then beheld a ram, caught by his horns in a thicket; and this he offered up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

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Homeward Bound
September 15, 1923

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