Reposted from January 2010
I’m a BIG Community Bible Study fan. Have been for a while and LOVE every study that we go through (well… Song of Solomon was a bit much!). We are in the middle of Genesis and finished up the Abraham sacrificing Isaac story several weeks back. I found it interesting to see women’s reactions to the details of this story. Some women had heard it many times before, but for others it was a ‘debut’.
Refresher for us all… Abraham and Sarah had waited nearly 25 years for the son that God had promised them. Of course, Sarah – tired of waiting and being ever so resourceful – had contrived the ‘coming together’ of Abraham and Hagar (her maidservant) which resulted in the birth of Ismael. Regardless of that and its consequences, God was faithful and gave Abraham and Sarah the son that they had always wanted… the son that would father the multitude of nations (that was also promised by God).
So Isaac is born and begins to grow and is probably the apple of his mother’s eye and the mountain by which the sun rises and sets for Abraham. In Genesis 22 God tests Abraham. God tells Abraham to take Isaac up Mount Moriah and to sacrifice “your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.” Fascinating… as the story goes on, you find that Abraham and Isaac had to carry wood up the mountain because there would be none at the top. It took 3 days for the journey and they took along a few men for the journey. When they near the top, Abraham tells the other men to stay and that he and Isaac would return.
Abraham, being perfectly obedient to God, had left to do this chore immediately, had followed God’s directions perfectly, and was ready to prove that he not only was obedient to God in all that He asked, but that he loved God above all else and desired to please God… Abraham – in his heart – had chosen God over Isaac. That was the test. It wasn’t about a brutal child sacrifice which the pagan religions around them were fond of… it was all about a sacrifice in the heart. A test of true allegiance and trust.
Some of the women, in my CBS class, really struggled with the thought that God would ask Abraham to kill his own son. Of course, God wasn’t asking Abraham to do anything that HE wasn’t willing to go through… but I don’t believe that is the point. I really believe that it was about Abraham’s heart.
This particular recount is one that can be so misused. Recently I read a chilling tale in Christianity Today entitled Saving Witches in Kolwezi. This is a story of how the children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being accused of witchcraft by parents and churches and in many cases are being tortured and killed. It appears that many of the ‘backwoods’ pastors are not well grounded in scripture and they are not being held accountable to any oversight group. Their teachings are flawed and their interpretation of the scripture is wrong.
“In Kamina, 400 miles from Lubumbashi, a woman reportedly sacrificed her six children to God. She was part of a religious movement that attempts to follow Abraham’s example of being ready to sacrifice his son Isaac. The woman was jailed, but Mwebe fears more parents could follow in her footsteps unless church leaders receive in-depth teaching on how to interpret Scripture and how to treat children.”
There is much more to the plight of the children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and I urge you, with all of my heart, to pray for their safety and that God would bring adults into their lives to protect them from the evil that abounds and that they would find the love of Christ to be their salvation. But I also urge you to pray – not only for the pastors in the DRC – but for the pastors, teachers and leaders in our country. Pray that they would teach the Truth from the Scripture and that they would ‘test’ their learnings against other scripture and against the Character of God.
Seek time with Him daily… soak in His Word… let it change you from the inside out.