You remember that we went to Acts for a while just after God had rescued Isaac from death as a sacrifice. It was meant to be and was a hard test for Abraham’s preparedness to obey the God who had promised him heaps.
And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” (Bethuel fathered Rebekah.) These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
Comment: It is only if we look at a much broader picture than this short passage gives us to see much point in the family history given in the second half. It is important as God is planning way ahead. We are given here the name of some who are to be in-laws for the chosen line promised by God to Abraham through Isaac, who had never been meant to be sacrificed – it was a test of commitment. The offering as burnt offerings of children was common in some of the surrounding religions. I am not trying to tell God how to think, nor to say that He did think like this. Abraham would have seen that practice being carried out. I can imagine Abraham wondering if he would ever go that far or if his God would ever ask it of him. I can imagine that God, knowing that He would never allow Isaac to be killed, saying something like this to Abraham – ‘people around you offer their children to their false gods. Would you do it for Me.’ I’ve heard people say that God would never do that. But He did, as this recent story tells us, but providing, at the same time, an alternative. And it stretches the mind to the limit but it is a good example of what God has done in providing the sacrifice of the perfect GodMan, Jesus, as the substitute for the punishment that peoples’ (mine as well) sin deserves.
Prayer: Help me to trust You completely.