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Bible Basics: Child Sacrifice

Bible Basics - The Sacrifice of Isaac  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Does God Commend Child Sacrifice?

Genesis 22:1–19 NIV
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 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.” 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. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 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.” 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, 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?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. 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. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “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.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 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.” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 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, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
Things to note:
Isaac was not Abraham’s “only son”, rather his “special son.” He had Ishmael through Hagar, but Isaac (through Sarah) was the one who was primarily to carry God’s covenant promises.
Child sacrifice appears to have been somewhat common in the cultures around Israel at the time, and, indeed, Israel succummed to the influence of here neighbors and sacrificed children to the god Molech on a number of occasions throughout the OT

Sacrificing Family for the Gospel?

A song from Arcade Fire, a Canadian band says “Working for the Church, while your family dies”
James Dobson even confessed in his book Building Your Church through Counsel and Care: 30 Strategies to Transform Your Ministry, that he had neglected his family—sacrificing them—on the altar of ministry for God.
And it’s not just ministers, evangelists or missionaries either.
Anyone, really

Sacrificing Family on Other Altars?


Let Off the Hook

God himself provides the sacrifice…both on the mountain in place of Isaac, and in Jesus for us.

The Only “Child Sacrifice” That Matters

This is why we don’t have to sacrifice our families on whatever altars may come our way.
Caveat: sometimes God calls our loved ones home before we are ready for this, but this is different then sacrificing them.
Caveat: sometimes our families themselves force us to “sacrifice them” for the gospel. If our families force us to choose between them and the Lord, then we must choose the Lord of course, but we must be very careful when we do so that we are sure that this is what we must do.
Caveat: sometimes God does call us to leave our families for the Gospel…but not
Here’s the priority list:
Our spouses
Our children/parents/family
Everything else
Normally, Jesus says to us: taking care of your spouse and loving him/her is your number one priorty after me.
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