He remembers the smell of the smoke. The acrid fires of the past. The land and life he left behind. The people who burned their crops and offered their children to try and please gods they barely knew. Cruel, capricious, unpredictable gods, angry, punishing gods, greedy, selfish gods. Bad shepherds of their sheep. Never thought it would come to this. Never thought this mysterious, unseen God, this good shepherd, this God of vision and hope and promise, never dreamt he would ask for the same thing. The sacrifice of a child.
Abraham lifts the knife, sees his sad reflection in it, and looks deep into the eyes of his beloved boy. A thousand memories fall like dominoes in his mind. The promise, the waiting, the astonishing birth, the days of crawling, toddling, playing, walking. The laughter, the tears, the wonder. An unbearable little earthquake crackles through his heart. And suddenly the voice breaks in. The God who does not want this kind of sacrifice. The God who is different. The God he can trust. The God he can know. The God he can serve.
And as he reaches down and takes the boy in his arms, he casts a shadow, a smudged silhouette of a dark cross. A glimpse of a future boy dying, not rescued. And a father’s heart broken by the necessary surrender of his only son. And as Abraham takes his resurrected boy and they ride home, his heart filled with songs of relief and laughter and praise, they pass quiet caves, empty tombs, stones rolled away with the promise of another resurrection. And another boy brought back from the dead. Not only for his father, but for his father’s people, for his father’s world, for the whole of his father’s creation.
Genesis 22 vv 1-14