God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is a tough story. It brings up a lot of questions about God and a lot of questions about Abraham. We don’t get all of the answers but one of the answers we do get is found in Hebrews 11:17-19 in regard to what was going through Abraham’s mind when he bound his son and raised the knife,
“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.“
What struck me about this is the faith of Abraham. I reasoned that he had never seen anyone resurrected before. He didn’t have a Bible in his hand to have any idea resurrection could even happen. This was a tremendous act of faith. Of course that is correct…this was a tremendous act of faith. Still there was something that I had missed in my reasoning. In a way Abraham had prior knowledge of life from the dead. Look back a few verses earlier in Hebrews 11,
“And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.“
Abraham was “as good as dead” and yet God gave him a son. What is more, Sarah was barren and yet God brought life out of her womb. In a very real sense, Abraham knew of life out of death. He just hadn’t seen it in the form of a dead body raised back to life again. This doesn’t diminish his faith. Quite the opposite. We recognize that Abraham’s faith was not boiled down to this one moment but also his acceptance and trust that God would give him a son even when both he and his wife were “as good as dead.” That is faith!