Following God's command, a man left his own country and people and traveled far away. God had promised that He would give him a new land. This promise was a perpetual covenant given for generations to come. Because of his obedience, this man, Abraham, would be a father of many nations.
His wife Sarah was childless, and she was growing very old. So you can see that when Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son, it seemed a miracle. They named the child Isaac and loved him greatly.
Abraham mistakenly believed that God wanted him to give up that which he most loved-Isaac. Abraham did love his only son, but even greater than this love was His love for God, who had given him this son.
Abraham got up early one morning and took off with Isaac. On the way he cut wood for a burnt offering, but he kept to himself the heavy burden he felt. And still, Abraham trusted God. Could he have trusted enough to know that somehow all this would come to good? When Isaac, not seeing any sacrificial animal at hand, asked his father what they were going to sacrifice, Abraham simply said, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Genesis 22:8).
Yet it must have been with the greatest trepidation that Abraham bound Isaac and placed him on the altar. He raised his knife to slay Isaac. Imagine what this must have felt like for both of them. Then at that very moment, he heard the message from God, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me" (verse 12). God only required of Abraham his unswerving obedience and allegiance. Having clearly shown this obedience and willingness to follow God's will as he understood it, Abraham was promised that God would forever bless him and the generations that were to follow him in footsteps of obedience to God.
A loving God could never require human sacrifice. But aren't some people, even today, tempted to believe that hardships, sickness, even the loss of a child, somehow come about under God's will? Some say tragedies are God's way of proving our faith, of testing spiritual mettle.
The only sacrifice God requires of anyone is a mental one. It is the forsaking of the belief that God, who is good, is not All-or, put another way, that evil of any kind is real. This is the supreme sacrifice. To follow God does not mean we are required to give up that which is precious and good for us to have. Happy relationships and marriages, health, and prosperity are good. God wants us to have good. God never brings about suffering, tragedy, death. He delivers us from them.
A book called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, says this: "Do not believe in any supposed necessity for sin, disease, or death, knowing (as you ought to know) that God never requires obedience to a so-called material law, for no such law exists. The belief in sin and death is destroyed by the law of God, which is the law of Life instead of death, of harmony instead of discord, of Spirit instead of the flesh" (p. 253).
Christ Jesus revealed God's will for us to be only good. He did this through healing people and improving their behavior. He knew that God makes each one good, perfect even as God is perfect. Jesus showed it was never God's will that even one of us should suffer or be sacrificed for any reason. What God requires is our love of good, our obedience and willingness to act in good ways. This is not a sacrifice but a blessing! Christian Science can help you know more of God's good will for you.
Abraham was blessed because of his obedience to God. Blessing is the inevitable sequel to obedience.
Sacrifice and offering
thou didst not desire;
mine ears hast thou opened:
burnt offering and sin offering
hast thou not required.