In order to understand this story it is necessary to go back to an earlier time in Abraham’s life. In fact, at that time his name was not Abraham but Abram. Some four hundred years after the Flood we find Abram living among his tribe in a place called Haran. God calls Abram to leave his people, his family, his home and go to a place where God will lead him.
Isaac is born. Just as God said, just when God said. He is then circumcised, according to the covenant and command of God, at the age of eight days. Abraham is one hundred years old …
“Here I am, Lord.”
“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love. Sacrifice him as a burnt offering.”
Early the next morning Abraham is saddling his donkey. As he pulls on the straps, tightening them into place, he glances over at his son. Isaac is his usual delightful, cherubic self, playfully running around in circles, then figure eights, anxiously anticipating a journey with dad. Road trip! Quickly, Abraham looks away, his stomach taking a few turns as well, still wondering what this is all about, simply not understanding.
The voice from heaven continues, “Do not harm the boy. I can see that you love and fear God because of this incredible act, this willingness to sacrifice your only son.” …
Straightaway, a sound catches Abraham’s attention. He turns and sees, in a nearby thicket, a ram, its horns stuck among the branches. How exquisite and delightful to realize the truth of his own earlier words — God does indeed provide.