The sky was still dark when the old patriarch clearly heard God speak. "Abraham, ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Genesis 22:1, 2.
Abraham began to tremble when he considered the staggering consequences of this command. God had promised that through Isaac he would father a mighty
nation. All of Abraham's hopes and dreams were set upon this miracle son given to him and Sarah in their old age. He didn't understand why God was asking him to do this strange act, but he had learned to trust and obey his heavenly Father, even when perplexed.
So Abraham gently awakened young Isaac and two trusted servants, and the small company began the three-day trip to Moriah. As they neared the mountain of sacrifice, Abraham instructed his servants to wait for him and Isaac to return. Then he placed the wood on his son's back, and together they started up the mountain.
Sensing that something was wrong, Isaac said, "Father, we have what we need to start a fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham replied, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering."
When they reached the top, Abraham tearfully explained the reason for their mission. Willingly Isaac submitted to God's command. After the last embrace, the father tenderly bound his son and laid him upon the rock altar. Abraham raised the knife, but suddenly he was stopped by an angel and directed to sacrifice instead a wild ram that was trapped by its horns in a nearby thorn-bush.
This moving story was not the only time a father had to make a painful decision to sacrifice his beloved son.