My pastor is doing a series on Wednesday nights on Hebrews 11 and the men and women of faith mentioned there. This week it was about Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. He said that this request from God to sacrifice his son would not have seemed foreign to Abraham, because it was the custom of some of the other countries to sacrifice their first-born in order to appease the "gods".
However, it was an emotional sacrifice, to sacrifice his own flesh and blood. And more than that it was a spiritual sacrifice because Abraham had a promise from God that his seed would come through Isaac--he was the child of promise.
From Hebrews 11:19 it seems that Abraham had complete faith in God, not that he was going to keep him from sacrificing Isaac, but that he believed with all his heart that God could raise him from the dead.
What was important to me from all of this were 2 things: (1) God is Able! He is able to supply all of our needs, to protect us, to give us direction. And (2) God will provide! I was thinking about our economy, and how we tend to be concerned about finances etc, but we have His promise, He will provide for us.
Something I hadn't thought about; our pastor said that Isaac is a sort of prototype for us as believers. Isaac was spared by the intervention of the Spirit of God (in the form of an angel). Only through the intervention of the Holy Spirit in our lives are we able to sacrifice our own wills and desires. I'll have to think about that for a while; but I do know that I need to be more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life, so that I can be better used by Him.