We know that Israel was the land of The Lord, but did you know that it was founded by Abraham? Even his original name, Abram, means “exalted father. When this great man founded Israel, God changed his name to Abraham as a symbol of his covenant with the Lord. This covenant would allow him to have many descendants & to establish the great nation.
The first of God’s blessings was a son to bless his childless marriage, even though Abraham & his wife, Sarah, were advanced in years.
He didn’t think twice when God asked him to go to the unknown & pagan land of Canaan, he just gathered up his family, including his nephew, Lot, & hit the road. Then when famine hit Canaan, they moved again to Egypt.
It was here that Abraham was truly tested. Pharaoh took Sarah (Abraham had pretended that she was his sister to protect the family). Well, we all know that lying does work out well, but in this case the Lord kept His promise as he always does & gave Pharaoh a disease while telling him that Sarah must be returned to her family.
After many years & many tribulations, the promised son was finally born, the child Issac. It was through Issac that God would give Abraham perhaps the hardest test of all, asking him to sacrifice his son. But there is, of course, a happy ending for this man who waited so long to be a father. God provide a ram for the sacrifice & Issac was spared.
This is that story from Genesis 22:
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”