God creates contradictory trials as a part of fulfilling His promises to us. In Genesis 22:1-18, God tested Abraham and told him to take
his son, Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice – effectively telling Abraham to kill his own son. God’s instruction to Abraham presented
various contradictions due to what appeared to be conflicting truths. There was a theological conflict: Isaac was the son of promise
(Genesis 21:1-3) and, through him, Abraham was supposed to be a father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). This also presented a Biblical
conflict: God condemns murder (Exodus 20:13), yet, He told Moses to kill his son. The contradictions created an emotional and
familial conflict as well: Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah; if Abraham killed his son he wouldn’t be protecting Isaac’s
physical life or his wife’s emotional well-being. The story of Abraham and Isaac, even with all of its conflicts, presents an opportunity
for the believer to learn how to handle contradictory circumstances in their own lives.
Abraham’s example demonstrates the perspective we should have when things just aren’t making sense or when things don’t line up
with the truth of God’s Word. First, we must be willing to obey God even when we don’t understand Him. Abraham chose to obey
God immediately (Genesis 22:3) even when God’s instruction didn’t seem to make sense. In the same way, we have to obey when we
lack clarity about God’s purposes, His plans, or the outcome of our obedience. We also have to remember what God has done in the
past. Abraham believed God could be trusted to solve the problem he faced. He remembered that God had already proven Himself
capable: in Sarah’s old age God made it possible for her to bear a child. Another perspective that will help us in times of crisis is to
trust that God transcends our crisis (Genesis 22:8). The problems that God allows, He also has the power to solve. We just have to
remember to look toward the spiritual when the physical isn’t making sense. Finally, we must be willing to sacrifice what is dearest to
us – the most important things in our lives — to get the promises of God if that is what He asks of us.
God’s provisions and promises are tied to His experience of our commitment to Him. It was only when Abraham had walked in full
obedience that God declared, “…now I know” (Genesis 22:12). God has prepared His answers in advance just like the ram was
prepared in advance as a replacement for Isaac. The ram was already in the thicket ready to appear at God’s ordained timing. The
same is true for us. God is faithful to provide, He is faithful to His Word, and He desires that we are faithful in our obedience to Him.