When I was a missionary kid, we had this great story line about Abraham and Isaac.
It said basically that if you wanted to be involved in the work of God and the kingdom of God, you needed to be willing to sacrifice your children on the altar of God’s purposes. That how we told the story.
Either Abraham didn’t know himself if God was a priority, so God was going to test him to prove to him that God needed to be first. Or, God didn’t really know and he was testing Abraham to find out. Either way the whole thing was a sort of a test to prove that God needed to be first in Abraham’s life. And so, what is he going to do?
God is going to run Abraham right up against this unbelievable love that he has for his own child. And he is going to create a conflict inside that in order for Abraham to establish a priority that God matters more than his child.
What really is going on here?
Do you know where Abraham was from? Abraham was from Ur. Do you know how many seminaries were in Ur, how many monasteries were in Ur? Do you know how many churches were in Ur? Zero. There was a big temple there. But it’s a temple to Nanu and Ingall the moon god and goddess.
Now on a scale of spirituality from A to Z, with Z being somewhere we haven’t got yet, where would you put Abraham? Abraham has to be an A on the scale because that is where the Hebrew Scriptures are starting. Well maybe he’s not just an A; I think he’s got a foot in B because he hears voices. And nobody around him hears voices, not like this voice. So he’s got a foot in A and a foot in B.
Now where does God come to talk to you? God is a good communicator. A lot of us don’t believe that because we believe God should talk to us in a language we don’t understand, because that’s how he talks to those people. So we’re always trying to incorporate somebody else’s experience to validate our sense of separation.
God is such a good communicator that you take for granted the communication of God because you think it’s just who you are. It’s so natural to you. He knows how to speak your language. He speaks “Paul.” But I thought I needed to have some kind of experience like other people so that I could hear. I didn’t realize that God is so good at communicating that he knows how to speak inside my world in ways that I get. I just discount them because I’m so full of shame anyways that I can’t possibly hear anything from God.
So if God’s going to come and talk to Abraham, he’s not going to come in Q, or R, or Z and be saying, “Abraham get over here.” No because Abraham’s got a foot in B and, by the time he puts both feet in B, guess what… he thinks everybody in A is an idiot. And he thinks everybody in C is nuts. We’re going to build our church here. This is where God led me. He got me out of A thank God.
So God is going to come and speak Abraham’s language. When you go into a different culture, you don’t go in speaking your language thinking, like what’s wrong with these people. You speak their language. So guess what language Abraham knows.
In fact if you go to any religion on the planet at the time of Abraham, it doesn’t matter whether you go to South America, the Middle East, Africa, every religion on the planet, is about sacrifice and appeasement, and magic.