The Lord wanted to test Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” he called.
“Ready!” was Abraham’s answer. “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”
Abraham always tried to please the Lord, but sometimes the things he was asked to do seemed impossible, and this was one of those impossible tasks. The next morning Abraham loaded his donkeys with supplies and firewood, and he headed out with two of his servants and Isaac to the place the Lord had indicated.
After a three day journey, Abraham could see his destination. He said to his servants, “Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.”
The servants made a camp as Abraham, carrying a burning torch, a length of rope and a knife, went toward the spot where he would make an altar. Isaac went with his father, carrying firewood for the holocaust offering. “Father?” he asked. “Yes, son?”
“Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?” Abraham took a deep breath and answered his son. “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.”
When Abraham reached the altar site, he built the altar and stacked the fire wood on it. He tied Isaac up with the rope and put him on top of the altar. With tears in his eyes and the knife in his hand, Abraham prepared to offer his son as the holocaust. Then a loud, commanding voice from one of God’s messengers called out from heaven. “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes, Lord?” answered Abraham.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy. Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”Abraham wiped his eyes, and threw down the knife. As soon as he did, he saw a ram that was entangled by its horn in the thick brush. This he offered as the holocaust to God.
Then God’s messenger spoke again. “I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore.”
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1. What sacrifice did God ask Abraham to make?
2. What promise did God’s messenger make to Abraham because of his faith?
During the times when the events of the Bible took place, there was no modern farm equipment, so everything had to be done by hand or with the help of animals. This forced the people to be very resourceful, and they tried to use as much of every plant they harvested as possible. Wheat and other grains were among the most important crops. They boiled, dried, roasted and prepared them in many ways in order to make bread, soups, casseroles and even desserts. A recipe for what has been called “Ezekiel’s bread” was made using wheat, barley and several other grains. This whole grain diet helped to keep the people healthy, when medical care was very primitive by today’s standards. A study by British scientists in the 1990s revealed that wheat grain, which was a staple food in biblical times, is one of the best natural sources of fiber. A verse in the Book of Jeremiah calls wheat a “hidden treasure.”
Lubin (d. 558) was the son of country peasants. He was able to escape the daily labor in the fields by going to a monastery, but he was assigned daily chores there as well. When his work was done, he would spend the rest of the night studying. Eventually, Lubin’s religious scholarship was recognized by the monks of the monastery. He left that monastery to join an abbey. When bandits raided the abbey, they beat Lubin hoping he would reveal the hidden location of valuable objects. He did not, and the bandits left him to die. After regaining his health, he joined a new monastery. Although he did not want the added responsibility, he was ordained to the priesthood and later became a bishop. He became an effective leader, and many miracles are attributed to him. He also was a member of both the Fifth Council of Orleans and the Second Council of Paris. We honor him on March 14.