Day 11: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Genesis 22:1-19 Abraham put his complete trust, faith, and obedience in God and, consequently, after many years, God blessed him with a son he called Isaac. His faith and hope reflected a sure knowledge that God would fulfill all that he had said. Even when God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, he obeyed. This extreme test of faith and obedience would reveal heroic fidelity to God’s will although he could not comprehend it. Abraham is a model for the virtue of obedience as well as hope and faith in God. (CCC 706, 1080, 1819, 2572)


ABRAHAM IS A TYPE OF GOD THE FATHER (TYPOLOGY!!): The former offered his only son in obedience to God, and the latter offered his Only-Begotten Son to redeem humanity. Isaac, who obeyed his father and CARRIED THE WOOD OF HIS OWN SACRIFICE, is a TYPE OF CHRIST (TYPOLOGY!!), the Lamb of God, who carried the wood of the Cross. It is significant that Mt. Moriah would later be the site of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Chr 3:1). The Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount, covers what is purportedly the site of the sacrifice of Isaac as well as the place where some believe Adam, Abel, and Noah offered their sacrifices. (CCC 2572)


Ch 23:17-20 Once Abraham obtained his own land in Ephron, he ceased being a sojourner. Not only Sarah, but also Isaac and his wife Rebekah, Isaac’s son Jacob, and Jacob’s wife Leah would eventually be buried there. Later, when Moses brought the Israelites to the land of Canaan, the Hittites-who are thought to be descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah-would be generally peaceful neighbors and co-residents in the Promised Land. Again the common origin of all people is revealed; we are ALL RELATED through Adam and Eve and, therefore, children of the ONE FATHER, GOD. (CCC 2212)


Job 11:7 Deep things of God: We can neither conceive nor speak of God adequately; we can only define him by what he is not or by faint analogy to the perfections found in creation. (CCC 43)


Ch 12:1-25 Denying his friend’s assertions that they surpassed him in wisdom, Job stated that he had already pondered the arguments they had raised and found them unconvincing. Though reasonable within the narrow confines of human wisdom, they did not explain Job’s misfortunes sufficiently. In contradiction to his friend’s speculations, Job knew he had committed no sin that would warrant such punishment from God. Therefore, Job asked God to enlighten him with a cogent reason for his suffering in spite of his innocence. (CCC 159, 1804, 1834)


Ch 12:7-10 God not only creates but also providentially keeps ALL THINGS IN EXISTENCE. There is nothing that has not been created by God from the smallest particle to the highest spiritual beings, which are called ANGELS. (CCC 337-354, 2318)


Ch 12:13-25 Job’s hymn expresses some basic truths about the attributes of God: his wisdom, power, counsel, and understanding that are limitless, and his ways of acting are often mysterious and contrary to human understanding and expectations. (CCC 206, 230, 2507, 2809)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 10: The Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22)

God asks of Abraham the supreme test of faith: to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. At the last moment, though, God prevents Abraham from carrying it out. This near offering of Isaac prefigures God’s own act of love in giving up his only Son for the salvation of the world. In response to Abraham’s obedient faith, God swears an oath to bless the entire world-an oath he will fulfill through Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.

  • In so many ways we can hear this reading of Genesis, and like so many other readings of Scripture we might not get it on the surface and may not understand what God is trying to reveal to us.

  • We may think this is just crazy and hope that God never asks us to give Him the thing I love the most.

  • This is not an arbitrary story

  • Abraham has been walking with the Lord now for so many years

  • This is not God suddenly springing on Abraham this offering of a sacrifice

  • At the heart of everything in this reading is the fact that ABRAHAM IS THE FATHER OF OUR FAITH

  • Here is the moment that he not just demonstrates, but reveals the depths of his faith

  • It is a PROFOUND TRUST IN GOD

  • Abraham is not under the impression that God is going to take away his son, Isaac

  • How do we know this?

  1. The two young men who accompany Abraham and Isaac are told by Abraham that he and Isaac will go up the mountain and that they BOTH will come back.

  2. Abraham told Isaac that God would provide the lamb for the burnt offering and lo and behold, there was a ram caught in the bush (Father Mike did not mention this in the podcast Gen 22:8 but I have a feeling he meant to and just forgot)

  • Abraham knew that even if he did sacrifice Isaac, God had the power to bring his own son back from the grave.

  • This is Abraham’s deep and profound trust in God.

  • Why would God do this?

  • The point is it sets up THE CONTEXT FOR EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

  • This is not merely a story about the father willing to sacrifice his son

  • This is the story of a FATHER AND SON TEAM (Who else is a Father and Son team?)

  • Art sometimes depicts the image of the sacrifice of the binding of Isaac

  • Abraham, the old man, has bound up his own son Isaac who is struggling

  • This is Abraham and Isaac working together

  • Isaac is NOT a child who was overpowered by his father

  • Isaac is the stronger one in this story

  • Isaac is the one who carries the wood palettes for the fire on his back, which FORESHADOWS JESUS CARRYING HIS CROSS ON HIS BACK DURING HIS PASSION

  • The tradition is that Isaac is about 30 to 33 years old (Who else was 33?)

  • Isaac COULD HAVE overpowered his father

  • He laid down WILLINGLY

  • This is setting the stage for the Eternal Father with His only beloved, only begotten son whom he loves

  • The sacrifice of the Son and the Father on Calvary

  • This is UNMISTAKABLY a preparation for Jesus’ sacrifice

  • What do the words say?

  • Gen 22:2 ...“Take your only begotten son whom you love….”

  • (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only beloved son….”)

  • This story of Abraham and Isaac is a REVELATION of how the Father in Heaven and the Son of God will cooperate with each other in bringing about salvation

  • This is a deep and profound trust all the way up to the point of death

  • Mt. Moriah is right outside Jerusalem and Calvary and Moriah are part of the same mountain range

  • This story of Abraham and Isaac is about US

  • God is not going to ask you to sacrifice everything and everyone you love, that is not the point

  • The point is TRUST

  • Abraham is the father in faith because when it came down to it, he was willing to trust God

  • But it wasn’t just Abraham alone

  • It was Abraham the father and Isaac the son who trust each other

  • GOD IS NOT YOUR ENEMY

  • This is what Job wrestles with….Is God my enemy? Does God care?

  • The deep and profound expression of our Christian faith is that the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, on the night before he was to be crucified said, “Father let this cup pass from me, YET NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE

  • Jesus did not want it to happen, but he trusted God the Father

  • THIS IS WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO: TRUST GOD


  • Wow what a journey so far

  • Fr Mike is praying for all of us

  • Please keep Fr Mike and also each other in your prayers

  • After all, the podcast has over 2 MILLION followers

  • If you have any prayer intentions lift them up and know that the people listening with you also have prayer intentions that need lifting up


Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we glorify you and we praise your name. We thank you so much for your Word. We ask you to please enlighten our minds with your truth and enliven our hearts with your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."