Get up Abraham, take your son .....

"Abraham, take your son, your only son Isaac, to a place I will show you and there offer him as a sacrifice to me."

Abraham lay awake that night, tossing and turning as he wrestled with what God had asked of him. The loneliest night confronted him, for he had to bear his pain alone.

At four in the morning, when the first birdsong was heard, Abraham crept into his son's tent, shook him and told him to get dressed, for they were going on a journey. This was not altogether unusual for the family, so it would not have alarmed Sarah, but Abraham told her nothing of his plans.

They departed the farm in the twilight, to the soft sounds of sleeping forms, the gentle lowing of cattle and bleat of lambs. Long shadows crept across the ground and a mist hung over the valleys. The sky was clear and within half an hour the sun peeked over the horison, getting on with its normal activities, as was everything else, oblivious to the extraordinary crisis and significant moment confronting Abraham and his family.

How many have woken up on a fateful day to hear of the death of someone dear, driving through traffic in tears whilst life carries on as though nothing had happened. Those are the loneliest moments anyone can know, but at least we can find some support in friends, family or church.

Abraham had no support structure. He belonged to no congregation and had no family to turn to. He also could not share his pain with his closest confidantes.

Isaac was excited about the journey and animated. He wanted to know where they were going, but Abraham gave no details. Because of his sullen disposition, Isaac and the servants walked on ahead, leaving Abraham alone with his thoughts, his fears and his deep pain.

The defining moment of his long life had finally come.

(c) Peter Eleazar at

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