Abraham reached out and placed a hand on his son’s cheek. The children could see his face over Isaac’s shoulder. He was struggling to smile. “God will provide a lamb,” he said in little more than a whisper.
Then raising the other hand to his son’s other cheek—and looking deeply into his eyes—he said louder and with longing, “God will provide!”
Isaac’s shoulders slumped. Something had happened.
“What’s wrong?” Hannah asked.
“I think,” Paul said, “Isaac just understood the answer to his question.”
Isaac reached up, placing both his hands over his fathers, and slowly pulled them off his face. He turned and looked at the large altar with a sense of dread. He looked from the altar to his father and back again.
“What’s wrong?” Hannah repeated. “What do you mean he understands the answer? What answer?”
“He is the sacrifice,” James said in an almost trance like voice. “Isaac is the sacrifice.”
“You’re right,” Paul said. “God told Abraham to take his only son to the top of Mount Carmel and offer him as a sacrifice.”
“But God doesn’t want us to kill people!” Hannah was getting upset. “God wouldn’t ask that!”
“He did,” Paul answered, still staring at the altar and the two men. “It’s in the Bible. Watch.” He pointed at the altar.
Hannah crossed her arms in frustration and stared at the scene unfolding in front of her. Isaac climbed onto the altar, lay on his back and folded his arms across his chest. Abraham untied a rope from around his waist and tied one end to a branch and wedged it into the stones of the altar, making sure it could not come loose. He did the same with a number of other sticks and looped the rope around each—crisscrossing across Isaac’s body, from head to foot.
Isaac seemed to have accepted his role in this sacrifice. In a quiet voice, he said, “Tie me tight. I’m nervous and afraid. If I break away, the sacrifice will be improper. I must not move.”
Abraham nodded without speaking. Tears were streaming down his dusty face. As he tightened the rope that crossed Isaac’s shoulder—leaning over his son to do so—a tear fell from his eye and landed on Isaac’s cheek. The two cried together as they continued preparing the sacrifice God required.
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