Habits of Heroes: Obedience


Abraham is taken aback. Eh? Which son? The son that God promised me, and finally gave me in my old age? My miracle child? Hmm, am I sure this is really God speaking to me? How can God ask me to sacrifice the very gift He gave me? Abraham made a decision…no, this can’t be God speaking.

“God forbid!” he exclaims. “I bind every foul spirit in this place now….flee…flee…FLEE!!!”

Gen 22:1 tells us that God tested Abraham by asking him to take Isaac to Moriah and sacrifice him on a mountain. God knew it was a test…but did Abraham know? I don’t believe he did. I don’t think he had advance notice so that he could ‘study’ and pass the test.

So, what was it that made him so ready to take off at God’s word and kill his son? Abraham was prepared by virtue of habit – a habit of obedience. He knew the voice of God because he had a relationship with him (he was God’s friend: 2 Chron 20:7) and he had formed the habit of obedience (Heb 11: 8), so he did not hesitate. How many of us would obey a command to sacrifice our only son – a miracle child, born of a promise?

The natural reaction would probably be to say “God forbid!” (just like in the imagined scenario above) and remind ourselves that Lucifer masquerades as an angel of light! It must be the devil. Relationship facilitates discernment.

There is no gap between verse 2, when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and verse 3 when Abraham woke up early in the morning to do what God had asked. The Bible does not say whether Abraham agonized over the decision or not: I believe that if he had, it would have been included because Jesus’ struggle with the cross was candidly documented. Abraham is special and one of the heroes of our faith not because he was superhuman. No, just a man like us whose relationship with and obedience to God gave him an everlasting legacy.

Onyih Odunze