The story of the binding of Isaac in Genesis 22 is easily one of the most discussed, studied and written about stories in the Bible. And it’s not because of its beauty and wonder. It is because the story leaves us scratching our heads.
Would God really ask a person to sacrifice their child, even if God doesn’t intend for the person to carry it out, even as a test?
Does God test in this way? Is that an accurate image of God?
How do we reconcile this story with other moments (plural) when God vehemently prohibits child sacrifice?
Are there moments in Scripture that are, in fact, travesties, moments that look like one thing but are actually something else entirely, something false? Are there stories in Scripture that don’t reflect who God really is, but instead reflect a tragically broken world?
In stories like this one, the Bible requires us to do at least two things: 1) settle into the mystery of Scripture and 2) search for better questions. A better question might be this: In test or in tragedy, where is God?
Message from Sunday, September 18, 2016:
Image: Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985. Sacrifice of Isaac, detail, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54648 [retrieved September 20, 2016]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhimoff/3164484972/.