IT TAKES A MAN #3 ABRAHAM AND ISAAC
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The Rest Of The Story
I often wonder about Scripture. I believe it’s the inspired story of the evolution of man’s relationship to God. And there is a pronounced difference between man’s relationship to God in the Old Testament compared to the New Testament.
I also wonder if there are contexts to the Scriptures that either we don’t see or have just forgotten about with the passage of time, contexts which alter the meaning of the stories. We obviously read the biblical stories in a modern (last five hundred years) historical context. Life is different today than it was two, three, or four thousand years ago. Take, for example, the passage "the word was made flesh." The actual Greek translation is "He pitched his tent among us." Wow, that’s really different.
I also wonder how often the inspired authors (they were flawed folks like the rest of us) intentionally left out a particular context or, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story." I wonder how much more meaningful Scripture could be for us if we were able to take into account "the rest of the story."
Take for example, the story of Father Abraham. Now to begin with, he had already, somehow or another, came to the conclusion that God wanted a piece of his foreskin as a sign of his covenant with his new found God. That’s a little out there. Well, a lot out there. Don’t you think? I mean what organization would you join that says, "Hey, cut a piece of it off. Give it up!" I mean it’s one thing to try to be blood brothers or blood sisters, but foreskin, that’s OUT THERE!
But we’ll just let that one go and focus on this next part of the story.
We do not appreciate how difficult it was for Abraham to make a covenant with the ONE God, when all of his neighbors were still pledging allegiance to multiple gods. So there’s an example of that context I was referring to. I’m sure Abraham spent many hours distressing about his decision to be the only guy on the block who worshiped ONE God.
Also we probably don’t realize that back in those days, it was not uncommon for folks to sacrifice their own children to their gods. That’s another one of those contexts. So perhaps the story of Abraham taking Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice him was more a story of misunderstanding or anticipation and expectation than of obedience.
So here’s my version of the rest of the story. Abraham is sitting under a palm tree, smoking a little hashish. They did that in those days, just like we do today! I think he was probably also smoking hashish the day he decided to cut off his foreskin. So here he is on this given day, in his altered state of consciousness, worrying about this covenant with his new-found God. He was probably still a little sore! Not only did this new God want his foreskin, but maybe He would, like all the other gods, demand that he sacrifice his only son. The more Abraham worried about it, the more he heard the distant voice grow louder till he actually heard God say, "Abraham, sacrifice Isaac to me." And so Abraham proceeded up the mountain.
Perhaps Abraham was sober by the time he reached the top of the mountain and heard God screaming, "Holy Moses, Abraham. First you slice off your foreskin and now you’re about to slay your own son. I said I wanted your heart."
Yes I know, I have blasphemed and distorted the scripture all over the place, but what if? And the rest of the story is this. What do you think the relationship was like between Abraham and Isaac after that eventful hike up the mountain? Do you imagine Isaac went on any more hikes with good ol’ dad? And isn’t it interesting that still today, we just can’t stop ourselves from sacrificing our own sons to the gods? We do that in so many different ways, war being the most obvious and the most heinous way.
My friend Jack, who is a tall, well-built man, and was probably somewhat formidable to his peers as a teenager, told me that when he was fourteen, the neighborhood bully kicked his ass big time. When he went home to lick his wounds, his Dad told him that he better go back out and kick the bully’s ass or good ol’ Dad was going to kick Jack’s ass. I cringe every time I hear that story, but it’s a good example of sacrificing our sons to the gods. In the guise of being real men and making sure that our sons are also real men, we sacrifice them to the gods over and over and over again. When will we stop? Why do we insist on making our sons tough? How does that help them become GENTLEmen?
SHARE WITH US IN THE COMMENTS YOUR EXPERIENCES OF BEING SACRIFICED TO THE GODS OR HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF SACRIFICING YOURS SONS TO THE GODS.
THANKS FOR READING.