In their infinite wisdom, the NSW dept of education has decided that the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac is no longer allowed to be taught as part of Scripture lessons.
Here is a biblical narrative that has been told and retold by Jews and Christians for 4000 years. It is part of the collection of teachings that has given birth to great civilisations – Jewish, and both Eastern and Western Christian.
Even without an appreciation of its original context, the story contains some timeless insights. Life contains moments where you need to decide what is most important to you. Following God and his call on your life requires the willingness to sacrifice. Having said that, in the end, God does not ask anything immoral of us, and graciously provides a way forward when we trust him.
Understood in its original setting, this narrative is against child sacrifice. The nations inhabiting Canaan did sacrifice their children to gods, and by contrast, the God of Abraham is saying he requires that level of commitment, but his people will not do such things.
The original incident takes place at Mt Moriah. This will later become known as the Temple Mount, where God will allow his own Son to be sacrificed. But that is not the end of the story. Just as by faith Abraham “considered that God was able even to raise [Isaac] from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19), so God raises Jesus on the third day, and through his resurrection, all can find eternal life.
There is profound wisdom and prophetic insight here. But apparently, our ‘open-minded’, arrogant culture knows better, sees this lesson as harmful, and has censured the story.
Rev David Rietveld