Saturday, January 16, 2010

Isaac, Abraham--tell me why

I cannot think of a more troubling story told to me in my youth, with as little explanation or meaning, as the sacrifice---near sacrifice--of Isaac. Finally, I read an argument that one of the functions of this drama was to convey to Yaweh’s people that Yaweh would never require a child sacrifice, as was common in the era.

In the conclusion of this narrative, as you recall, God provided the ram.

In our narrative as Christians, God alone provides the child sacrifice, the Jesus, the lamb.

A little sweeter possibility to pass on to explain to our little lambs as bedtime story.

Years ago, my very good friends, Janie and Jimmie Lawson, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, introduced me to a book, An Eye for an Eye: The Place of Old Testament Ethics Today, by Christopher JHWright. No book ever gave me more delight in my understanding of the Bible. I cannot find my copy of that book right now, but I do have another one by him, Walking in the Ways of the LORD, The Ethical Authority of the Old Testament. I find them a little difficult, since I am not a formal theology student, but they have given me some theological background that helps me form a more coherent story in scripture.

It’s easier to read the Old Testament with some guidance. Christopher JH Wright is a protegee of the John RW Stott, the venerated Anglican leader.

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