You’ll Soon Enough
“Abba, look a perfect branch to make a catapult,” Issac looked with a mischievous twinkle at his father through the Y of an olive twig.
“Another catapult, eh? Son, the sun is getting on and we must gather enough firewood,” Abraham felt a knife sliced through his heart as he looked at his ruddy son, soon to be bar-mitzvahed (well, on the threshold of manhood, though they haven‘t invented the word yet).
“Why are we gathering all these firewood?” Issac caught the heaviness in his dad’s ambling gait.
“Son, we’re on the way to Moriah to make a sacrifice.”
“Why do we always have to make a yearly sacrifice?”
“Because God said so.”
“Like you always said, “Because I said so when want me to do something?”
“I guess so, except when God said so, you’d better do so. Trust me, I’ve lived long enough to say that.”
“Abba, you’ve known God for a long time, haven’t you? I’ve seen you talk to God like he’s your friend. How is it that I don’t seem to know Him like you do?
“You’ll soon enough, son, if you take time to hear Him. Believe me, He’s wonderful, even though…” Abraham’s voice snagged as a lump coagulated in his throat.
“Even though what, Abba?”
“Never mind. Let’s get on with our task.”
Abraham quickly turned away as a hot tear coursed down the ridge of his high nose. As soon as they gathered enough wood, Abraham saddled Issac with the bundle of firewood while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
“Are you there yet, Abba?” Issac wiped his sweaty face on the sleeve of his tunic and adjusted his kippa on the verge of falling off his mop of hair. His sandals were caked with dirt from maneuvering the stony terrain.
“Soon, son, a few stones’ throw away.”
“Abba, we’ve the fire and wood but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”
Abraham’s heart melted in a puddle of sorrow. “Why would God want to take Issac away from me after He brought forth the promise after almost twenty-five years of waiting? Didn’t God said that my descendants would come through Isaac? I don’t understand, God, I simply don’t.”
Yet he found himself saying things that he knew to be true, enough though his head was screaming foul.
“The Lord will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”
“But how? We’ve no means of catching a lamb in this vast wilderness.”
“Son, I don’t how either, seeing my old legs are too stiff for running. But actually… God wants you to be the … sacrifice,” Abraham managed to stutter the words out.
“Me? As the lamb on the altar? I don’t want to die yet,” Isaac starting bawling.
Abraham held his son tight and rocked him back and forth, “Remember how you said you wanted to know God like I do? Well, here’s your chance. In my long life, I’ve known him to be loving and true. Even though I don’t know why He wants you on the altar, I know it’s for the best.”
“I don’t want to and I won’t. I don’t even know Him like you do?” Issac’s sobs turned epileptic, hyperventilating between emotion and reality.
“You’ll not know Him unless you let Him. You know, how you use your favorite catapult so much and train it so well that you know you’ll always hit your target? Well, this is something like that. God has trained me so well, that I know I need to yield to allow him to show me the bull’s eye of his love. This is your chance to see God for yourself.”
Abraham’s heavy hands dragged the string around Issac’s hands. His eyes scanned the dry rocky hillside as if in expectation of some intervention. Mount Mariah - a specific place, a specific order - was there a specific purpose to this madness?
When Abraham finally laid a more subdued Issac on top of the firewood, he looked a final glance at his one and only son.
“Abba, this is what God wants, right? Then it must be right and good, like you always said too?”
Abraham couldn’t bring himself to nod his head. As he closed his eyes and raised his knife, he heard a voice calling, “Abraham, Abraham.”
As God stopped Abraham from slaying his son, both Isaac and Abraham heard the next sweetest sound --- the baa of a ram caught in the thicket.
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