If he was ten years old, then he surely could have outrun his one-hundred-ten-year-old daddy. If he was twenty, he could have fought the one-hundred-twenty-year-old man and prevailed. The Bible doesn’t tell us… so we don’t know how old Isaac was when God tested Abraham’s faith by commanding, “Take your son … your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Genesis 22:2).
Isaac foreshadows Jesus, who sacrificed His life voluntarily to save His sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep… This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again” (John 10:11-18).
Abraham, “the father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5), had waited faithfully for a son to be born, one who would make possible God’s promise of “offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17). One can only imagine the pride of the century-old pappa.
But God’s voice was clear, “so Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about” (Genesis 22:3). It was a three-day journey… the same length of time that Jonah was in the belly of the great fish (Jonah 1:17), and the same length of time the Jesus was in the grave (Luke 24:7). In Abraham’s heart and mind, Isaac was dead for three days.
At the foot of Mount Moriah, later called Mount Calvary, Abraham commanded his servants to stay with the pack animals. “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you” (Genesis 22:5). Abraham faithfully knew that God was “able even to raise (Isaac) from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19).
How much did Isaac know? “Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, ‘My father… The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ Then the two of them walked on together” (Genesis 22:7–8). Apparently, Abraham’s explanation was enough. Isaac trusted his daddy, and, more importantly, he trusted God!
At the top of the hill, they made an altar and set the wood in place. Then Abraham took his son, his only son, and laid him before God. Isaac didn’t run. Isaac didn’t fight. Isaac gave himself faithfully and obediently.
Just as the loving daddy and faithful worshipper was about to complete the sacrifice, God spoke, offering a substitute sacrifice. “Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son” (Genesis 22:13).
Isaac is an extraordinary hero of faithfulness! Jesus, the One dead for three days, the One who willingly gave Himself, our Substitute Sacrifice, is even better!