The road back home

Abraham and Isaac return from Moriah with Eliezer. His faithful servant notices the change in Isaac.
Abraham and Isaac rejoined the servants and began the long journey home. The head servant, Eliezer, was once deemed to be Abraham’s sole heir until the birth of Isaac (Genesis 15:2).

It is a powerful witness to the character of the man, that Eliezer not only accepted the transfer of that mantle to Abraham’s only son, but that he also had to absorb the profound changes that took place in the relationship between Abraham and Isaac after the Moriah experience. It was such a watershed that we could well speak of a pre- and post-Moriah era.

Eliezer probably learnt about what happened on Moriah before his own death, because he outlived Abraham, as did the story. It is not impossible that such a trusty steward and faithful servant, was also entrusted with transferring the oracles to subsequent generations – I doubt if there was a more trusty man alive who had so proved his unwavering loyalty to his master, Abraham.

Eliezer was able to accept the change in status, because he too was an old man and content to live out the balance of his days in Abraham’s household. But, although he had known Abraham for most of his long life and had built a deep relationship with the Patriarch, he now watched that relationship shift, as Isaac came into prominence.

Isaac was now more than a son. His life and destiny changed forever on that hill. Up to then, he really was not much more than a servant, sitting at the feet of servants to learn the basic rules of life and the disciplines of Abraham’s household. But the changes in Isaac cast off that yolk and elevated him to significance in Abraham’s house, as a man (no more a child) of God.

The primary factor for those changes related to the principle of Isaac being offered back to God, a process of dedication that surrendered Abraham’s own parental prerogatives. The future of the heir, Isaac, was now largely out of Abraham’s hand, yet that future would still be Abraham’s future and it would ensure his co-inheritance in the kingdom of God. Indeed, as much as Abraham’s had returned his son to God, so God had ceded His people to Abraham, through Isaac, thereby perpetually sealing his patriarchal place in the history of Israel.

Another key consideration is that the events of Moriah had bound father and son into a very special relationship that no one else would ever understand. Unspoken knowing passed between them and choked them up each time they reflected on that moment on the windswept hill of Moriah.

For all of the changes in Isaac, Abraham still mentored his son and prepared him for his future role, but as the son had now come of age, the roles had changed: Isaac no longer instructed his son, but coached him and Isaac no longer sat at his feet or the feet of servants, but walked at his father’s side as coheir to the blessings of God.

Thus it came to pass that Abraham initiated the process of finding a wife for Isaac. It would be his final fatherly act and it would ensure the preservation of the blessing and his seed. Abraham had yielded to God but he would never let go of his own stake in the great legacy that had consumed his years and defined his life struggles.

It is things like this that have helped me to see Abraham as one of the greatest men that ever walked the earth and one of the men I will queue up to meet when and if (by God’s grace), I arrive on that distant shore.
(c) Peter Eleazar at www.bethelstone.com

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