It was barely light, but she had been up for hours. Now, she watched the small band of men in the distance. Two servants, each leading a donkey laden with firewood and supplies, followed her husband and son as they moved further and further away. Sarah stepped back into her tent. Just last night, in this very room, Abraham had come to her with the news.
“The LORD has spoken to me, Sarah. I must make a sacrifice in the land of Moriah.”
“Oh…When do you need to go?” Sarah’s hands resumed their work. She had expected something a bit more dramatic than a trip to make sacrifices.
“Tomorrow morning…early. Can you have some supplies prepared for us?”
“Of course. How many will be going?
Abraham paused. “Four. I’ll take two servants…and Isaac.” Sarah’s hands stopped instantly.
“Isaac? Why Isaac?”
“Sarah, he’ll be fine. He’s strong. And anyway, God told me to take him.”
“Why?” She stared at her husband, suddenly concerned. “Abraham, is something wrong?”
“Sarah, God told me to sacrifice Isaac at Moriah.” The soft words hit her mother’s heart like daggers. She sucked in her breath and stood quickly.
He reached out to her, but she pulled away. She suddenly needed air; she couldn’t quite breathe. She lifted the flap of her tent, and a soft evening breeze wafted in.
“But this is our boy, your promised son. I don’t understand…” She shot the anguished whisper over her shoulder at her husband.
“Neither do I, Sarah. But The LORD has never lied to us, has he?” She only shook her head, her back still to him. “And he promised Isaac long before Isaac was born, right?”
Again, she nodded. She remembered the day she had laughed at the promise that she would have a son. She hadn’t meant to, but at ninety, the thought of her being pregnant was absurd, so she had giggled. And yet, there was Isaac. He had made her life more full than she could have ever dreamed possible. And now, God wanted to take him away? The God who had miraculously given him to her now wanted her to give him up? It was unfair…impossible.
Abraham spoke again. “He can’t have lied to us, Sarah. He promised me that through this son I would become a great nation.”
“So why would he take him away now, Abraham? How can he ask that of us?”
Abraham put his arms around her, and this time, she let him come, drawing strength from his body.
“Listen, Sarah. Here’s what I think. God promised Isaac, and Isaac came. God told us that he would fulfill his promises through Isaac. So, if I sacrifice him, God could give us another son to replace him. But that wouldn’t really seem to fit. So…I think that…well, Isaac will have to…live.”
For a moment, his words hung in the air between them. Then suddenly, she understood. She faced him, searching his face for a sign that she had heard him correctly.
“You think that God is going to…that once he’s been sacrificed, God will…bring him back to life?”
Abraham looked her in the eye and nodded. They had discussed it at length and decided that they would do as the LORD had asked, trusting that he would have the answer. Sarah had made the preparations, and now the men were on their way. She could no longer see her husband and son, but she was going to trust in Abraham. She was going to trust in God. No matter how crazy it seemed, this was her only hope: God could raise the dead, so Isaac would return with his father.
One week later, the word spread through the camp. Some servant children came running to her tent. The master is returning! She drew a deep breath, offering one last prayer that her hope would be fulfilled, and lifted the flap of her tent. In the distance, she could see the donkeys, led by two servants. Slowly they came into view: the first donkey obviously carrying Abraham. She strained to see the other and then gasped with delight. On the back of the second donkey, tall and strong, sat her only son, Isaac.
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