Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Abraham's Sacrifice

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”,
1Thessalonians 5:21
“Question everything”, Einstein

It started out as a curiosity.

You may know the story, but follow this compendium as it is written to get the full impact of the point I wish to make.

I remember reading in my Bible in the book of Genesis about Abram wanting a son by his wife Sarai, but because she was “barren” she could not bear one. So she reasoned that if she was going to have a son, that maybe she could have one by her Egyptian handmaid Hagar (Gen 16:2). “…And gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.” So Abram went in to Hagar and she conceived.

Then, because of strife between Sarai and Hagar, Hagar fled from Abram’s camp to get away from Sarai. Resting by a fountain of water in the wilderness, an angel of the Lord had an exchange with Hagar, and told her “Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.” (Gen 16:9) “And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (Gen 16:10)

Hence Hagar bore Abram a son, and they named him Ishmael. Abram was 86 years olde.

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram…“ (Gen 17:1) “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” (Gen 17:2) “…my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.” (Gen 17:4) From that point forward, Abram was called Abraham.
“As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah (princess) shall her name be.” (Gen 17:15) “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations:…” (Gen 17: 16)

So when Abraham was 100 years olde, Sarah bore him a son, and they named him Isaac.

This is where my curiosity started. In the process of researching this subject I came across lots of interesting information. In the end I didn’t get the answer I was looking for; I got something better!

There are going to be overlaps, so I will take this part by part.

In Genesis chapter 22, God calls to Abraham to take Isaac to a designated mountain and sacrifice him. For Abraham to take his son and sacrifice him would set an undesirable precedent: that is being human sacrifices. So then, “why would God "test" Abraham to sacrifice Isaac while prohibiting child sacrifice to the god Molech?” (ref 1) Which begs the question: “Why did God punish the Canaanites for child sacrifice, when He personally ORDERED Abraham to do it?! See Glenn Miller” (ref 2)

One of two things would have to happen: either God would intercede and the son would not be sacrificed; or if Abraham did as he was told, then God would raise the son from the dead. As you probably know, the former occurred, for if the latter had, that would have justified the Canaanites child sacrifices, and lessened the impact of Jesus’ Resurrection.

Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn. God always demanded the first fruit of the faithful’s labors. So I wondered, if Ishmael was the first-born of Abraham, why didn’t Abraham take him to sacrifice?

I was talking religion with a tanker driver trainee, Marwan, who is Muslim, and he told me the story about Abraham’s sacrifice as he knew it from the Quran. Abraham heard God, and went to Egypt to get Ishmael for the sacrifice. Abraham did this because Ishmael was the firstborn.

Here are John Gill's comments on only son: "thine only son Isaac; for, though Ishmael was his son, he was a son by his maid, by his concubine, and not by his wife; Isaac was his only legitimate son, his only son by his lawful wife Sarah; the only son of the promise, his only son, in whom his seed was to be called: " (ref 2)

But in Genesis 16:2, it says: “…And gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.”

This got me wondering about the veracity of the King James Bible. But as Glenn Miller put it: “Actually, you are missing what we ALL are – most of the story!
“The story in Genesis 22--The "Binding of Isaac"-- is a classic case of a narrator selecting ONLY the details needed to make his point--and ONLY addressing his own authorial question. The passage is so focused on the teeth-gritting commitment of Abraham and his absolute confidence that he would NOT lose his divinely given son Isaac, that the explanatory details are stripped out of the bare events to drive his point home. There is virtually NO dialogue or background given in the passage--highly unusual.” (ref 1)

The Answer: Muslim, Christian or Jew, the story of Abraham’s Sacrifice is NOT about which son was sacrificed, but God’s covenant with Abraham! It is about God making a promise to a man, and keeping it! It is about a man, Abraham, having faith, listening to God and obeying what He tells him!

The Better Answer: God made a promise to our Forefathers that they would get their religious freedom in a land that would become the United States of America!

From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—(ref 3)

Bill of Rights, Amendment I:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; (ref 3)

The point here being, considering the condition of our country at this writing, “We The People” need to accept the Gift that God has given us, that being our country, and the freedom and blessings associated with it. He upheld His end of the deal to allow us to live where we can have religious freedom. Now it is up to us to uphold our end of the deal and exercise our right to religious freedom.

Muslim, Christian or Jew, we are all descendents of Abraham, united by faith in the one God. All persons that believe in God need to unite together in prayer and ask Him to correct the mistakes that we as a country have made, and to restore that which He meant for us to have. We need to humble ourselves before God.

Statistically, 84% of our country believes in God; that means 16% don’t. So why are we, the majority, succumbing to the rantings of a overly-vocal few? We have bent to the will of man, instead of obeying the Will of God. We have allowed God to be removed from our public offices and schools. We have turned our back on God! Politician or commoner, it is high time for us to obey God’s commandment(s) or face the consequences. Ever hear of Sodom and Gomorrah?

As Abraham had faith in God to fulfill His covenant with him, “We the People of the United States” need to be like Abraham, to have and exercise our Faith in God.

And pray that we aren’t too late.

Addendum: Wisdom that was left off from the original.

Part of the problems that we are experiencing in this country is because the people that we have elected into office over the years are more interested in fulfilling the wants and needs of either their peers, or of their constituents. They have forsaken the teachings of their parents and of the Bible to satisfy their own cravings.

If decisions by the lawmakers were based upon Biblical teachings, then we would not have Roe Vs Wade, welfare, and a slew of other undesirable after-effects of their actions.

The politicians that are running our country need to now embrace the one true God. The time is coming that those who shun God will have to answer for their insolence.

“We The People” need to elect only those who fear God and will act accordingly. Beware the decisions you make at election time.