And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.…
The birth of Isaac brought Abraham nearer to God; though he had believed in Him so long, it was as if he now believed in Him for the first time — so much is he carried out of himself, such a vision has he of One who orders ages past and to come, and yet is interested for the feeblest of those whom He has made. Out of such feelings comes the craving for the power to make some sacrifice, to find a sacrifice which shall not be nominal but real.
I. The Book of Genesis says, "God did tempt Abraham." The seed did not drop by accident into the patriarch's mind; it was not self-sown; it was not put into him by the suggestion of some of his fellows. It was his Divine Teacher who led him on to his terrible conclusion, "The sacrifice that I must offer is that very gift that has caused me all my joy."
II. Abraham must know what God's meaning is: he is certain that in some way it will be proved that He has not designed His creature to do a wicked and monstrous thing, and yet that there is a purpose in the revelation that has been made to him; that a submission and sacrifice, such as he has never made yet, are called for now. He takes his son; he goes three days' journey to Mount Moriah; he prepares the altar and the wood and the knife; his son is with him, but he has already offered up himself. And now he is taught that this is the offering that God was seeking for; that when the real victim has been slain, the ram caught in the thicket is all that is needed for the symbolical expression of that inward oblation.
III. When this secret has been learnt, every blessing became an actual vital blessing; every gift was changed into a spiritual treasure. Abraham had found that sacrifice lies at the very root of our being; that our lives depend upon it; that all power to be right and to do right begins with the offering up of ourselves, because it is thus that the righteous Lord makes us like Himself.
(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.