The Offensive God

The sacrifice of Isaac is one of the most offensive commands of God to the modern mind. Many enemies of God have pointed to this account to illustrate how the God of the Bible is harsh, evil, and capricious.

The fact that the command seems to have no reason and is stalled at the last minute, after causing Abraham and Isaac so much stress and anxiety just adds to the maliciousness. It’s like a cosmic version of those childish YouTube pranksters. Enemies of the faith probably imagine God telling Abraham, “It’s just a prank, bro!”

But why wasn’t Abraham offended? And why is this moment one of the finest moments in Christian history?


Here’s the text:

Hebrews 11:17-19

[17] By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, [18] even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” [19] Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

So much can be drawn from these verses. But I wanna focus on one thing. It says, “Abraham reasoned.” The whole thing hinges on your starting point.

 To God’s enemies they start with this reasoning: “God gave this command. This command looks evil. Therefore, God must be evil.”

 Abraham’s reasoning was completely different:

“God took me out of the sin of my past, my family, and my culture. God blessed me beyond measure, even though I don’t deserve it. He even gave me this son with Sarah when it was impossible. He has been exceedingly good to me. Therefore, God is good.

Now God has given me this command. I don’t understand it. It looks evil. But it’s from God. Therefore, this command is good. He promised to produce nations from Isaac. So I know I won’t lose him.”

In short, Abraham knew God. So he understood and obeyed the command. God didn’t let the sacrifice continue and Isaac lived his life as God promised.

The question for us is, “Do you know God?”

Have you been brought out of sin because of the sacrifice of His son, Jesus? Have you received the Holy Spirit even though you didn’t deserve it? Have you experienced the blessing of a changed life? Do you have His promises to hold on to as an assurance for the future?

Do you know that God is good?

If so, then you can obey with confidence because only good will come of it.

Many people condemn this command as the sign of an offensive God. Abraham didn’t need to argue the point. He knew God, he obeyed, and he received the blessing.

Join the discussion

  • “In short, Abraham knew God. So he understood and obeyed the command.”


    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Good day Ptr!
    Very first time to read an article written by you and I’m so thankful that I did. Am so blessed to received revelations upon revelations.
    May the Lord continue to pour out His wisdom and favor upon you as you faithfully serving Him.
    Shalom Ptr!

  • Very beautiful thoughts. I pondered your question “Do you know God?” I think “Do you know YOUR God?” will make the question sound a little more personal and appealing.

More blog posts

Our National Purpose

I’m posting something I wrote for one of our discussion forums in Asbury Seminary. (I’m in seminary, by the way.) I just wanted to...

Connect with Joe