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.…
1. This trial is wholly unexpected. For several years the patriarch has been the recipient of great and uninterrupted prosperity. Instead of going through the bleak and barren desert he has been walking in the garden, which is smiling with the flowers of richness, fertility, and hope. How speedily may the heart be bereft of all joy and filled with poignant sorrow!
2. This trial is wholly unprecedented. Abraham is not a foreigner to suffering. He had been separated from his country and friends at the age of seventy-five. He had been driven by famine from the land of promise into a distant country. The companion of his youth and the affectionate partner of all his fortunes had been forced from him again and again. You may say, "I am the man that hath seen and felt affliction;" yet sterner calamities may be coming upon you than any you have ever experienced.
3. This trial is an assault upon the object which the patriarch loves and values most. He loves and values his son Ishmael. He loves and values his wife Sarah. He loves and values his own life. Isaac, however, is the son of promise, the root from which the final blossom is to be the Messiah, and on this account he must love and value him most of all. To slay him with his own hand, this is the climax of trial to Abraham — it cannot ascend higher. A man can only have one such trial in his lifetime. But if no such surrender has been demanded from us; then our trials have been only secondary. They have scattered a few blossoms, and swept away a little fruit, but they have not touched the root; the tree remains as healthy and vigorous as ever. Let us not heave one rebellious sigh, lest, instead of the wind, the whirlwind should come to us in all its terrific fury.
(A. McAuslane, D. D.)
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.