“And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from Heaven and said, ‘By myself I have sworn declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of Heaven and the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’” — Genesis 22:15-18
The birth of Isaac was a miracle, for Sarah his mother was beyond the age for childbearing and was barren and incapable of conception. For so long Abraham and Sarah had waited for a child. Now, they were old, gray and tired. When God announced she would bear a son, it seemed ridiculous, and Sarah convulsed with laughter (see Genesis 18:12).
Yet, a miracle happened, and no language could describe the joy of Abraham when he beheld the impossible! God promised that in Isaac should all the people be blessed, that his seed would be as the sand upon the seashore.
It was surprising when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his boy upon the altar. The patriarch was a visionary who became God’s friend. He considered the matter and came to a conclusion. If Isaac died and remained dead, he could never have children, and God’s promise would never be fulfilled. That realization enabled him to say to his servants, “I and the boy will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” The epistle of Hebrews says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (11:17-19).
God’s delay was to prove His man. The slowness in rescuing this precious boy until the last minute gave the clearest look into the heart and motives of Abraham. The patriarch stretched forth his hand, took the knife to slay his son and was stopped by the angel of the Lord. He was willing to obey to the point of death.
However great Abraham’s faith was, the prospect of plunging a dagger into the heart of his beloved son was frightening. God watched with great compassion as this saint triumphed and then said, “Because you have done this…I will surely bless you.”
Why does God allow, and even orchestrate delays in our lives? Why must we come to the place of desperation and hopelessness before He intervenes? Could it be that He is proving us? God’s slowness strengthens. At times the heat of the situation is for the strengthening of the inner “metal” of our character. Sometimes, God wants us to see what we are made of.