15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 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 all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
This occurred after Abraham had been ready to sacrifice his son Isaac in obedience to God. Many wonder how Abraham could be prepared to do such a thing to his only son. Earlier in this chapter he had received this instruction in verse 2
“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.”
It took three days to get see the mountain in the distance. We are not given any insight into Abraham’s thoughts through those three long days. We are not told of any doubt or emotional pain he must have experienced on three days although we know he must have experienced such. So again we wonder how Abraham could be prepared to do such a thing. To find the answer we would have to turn to chapter 15 where Abraham lamented to the Lord he had no children, no blood heir, so a servant in his household would inherit all he had at his death. The Lord answered with these words in verses 4-6
“This man [servant] will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Abram believed and became Abraham, a father. Then God made an even greater promise to Abraham in chapter 17 concerning his son Isaac
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
Thus somehow, someway, God had to either keep Isaac alive or bring him back from the dead to keep His word with Abraham and with Isaac. Because Abraham obeyed God increased His promise of descendants as numerous as the stars to a promise of descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.
Two more things I would like to mention in relation to today’s verse. In many ways this is to be considered a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross permitted by His heavenly Father. However, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was to be the last or final blood sacrifice. Any thoughts or stories to the contrary are simply wrong or deceptions. God hated human sacrifice, but granted one and one alone – His Son. Many scriptures back this up, but I will refer you to seven found here within a very good read.
Just as God was faithful to His word with Abraham, He is faithful to His word with us. He has granted us Grace through His son’s sacrifice on the cross. The only question is will we accept this free gift before Jesus returns.