We really must teach the account of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, not from the point how Abraham showed he loved God.
The Bible actually says God does not delight in sacrifices. He delights in the obedience of His Son Jesus. This can be seen in Hebrews 10.
We must understand that Abraham was called out from the Urs. He was a pagan man who thought that sacrifices, was the only way God would be pleased.
It was important that God removed this thinking. Hence when you read the story, you must see that it is Isaac, who is the central character. He carried the wood. He climbed the hill. He allowed himself to be bound by Abraham and to be laid himself on the altar to be sacrificed. Isaac was a grown man at this time.
He was obedient to his father. He was prepared to lose his life in order to raise it again. Remember Abraham told his servant both of them will be back.
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.”
We will come back. We.
It was Isaac’s sacrifice which will prove that Abraham loved God. Not the other way round.
Now do you see it?
It’s about a son of Abraham that will prove our love for God. Not by our love but by his sacrifice.
God gave us a glimpse of this future son when He showed Abraham the lamb who was to be offered.
” And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”
A ram caught in a thicket of thorns. A lamb with thorns on its head. A sacrifice with a crown of thorns.
So Abraham learnt a lesson that would lead him away from paganism. It’s not about what you give to God that would prove your love for Him. Rather it is the love of His Son for you that will form this new faith that Abraham, you and I are called to embrace. You are saved by the faith and obedience of the Son.
His name is Jesus.
That’s how the story of Abraham should be told.
” Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
Now read the next verse.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
We are Abraham in that story. That’s how I see that story.