October 9–Abraham, Patriarch

From the LCMS website:

Abraham (known early in his life as Abram) was called by God to become the father of a great nation (Genesis 12). At the age of 75 and in obedience to God’s command, he, his wife Sarah, and his nephew Lot moved southwest from the town of Haran to the land of Canaan. There God established a covenant with Abraham (15:18), promising the land of Canaan to his descendants. At the age of 100 Abraham and Sarah were finally blessed with Isaac, the son long promised to them by God. Abraham demonstrated supreme obedience when God commanded him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. God spared the young man’s life only at the last moment and provided a ram as a substitute offering (22:1–19). Abraham died at the age of 175 and was buried in the Cave of Machpelah, which he had purchased earlier as a burial site for Sarah. He is especially honored as the first of the three great Old Testament Patriarchs—and for his “righteousness before God through faith” (Romans 4:1–12).

Hard Things

We stepped into some uncomfortable territory in our Bible readings this week.  In the past, whether it’s been intentional or not, there have been some Bible stories I have avoided telling the children.  In part, probably because a lot of children’s Bibles leave out (or diminish) some of the harder stories.  Cain and Abel is one example of this that we tackled in the first days of homeschooling.  That’s a story that, if it even appears in a children’s Bible, is usually grossly understated–Cain wasn’t nice to Abel, etc.  Understandable–when you’re talking to impulsive children who are prone to push, hit, or bite (OK, only Moose does the biting!) when they’re upset, you may not want to mention a guy who killed his brother.  That tends to make the aforementioned pushing, hitting and biting seem less bad.  But we made it through that story without incident…

This week was harder, though.  We had to read about Abraham being instructed by God to sacrifice Isaac. Another story we hadn’t read before, and one I really didn’t want to have to try to explain to two small children.  How do you talk about a father preparing to kill his only son, and then add in that he was doing it because God told him to?  But we made our way through that one, too.  Turkey and Bunny didn’t say or ask much, but I could see the wheels turning in their heads as they pondered what the story meant.  I didn’t want to press them too hard–I certainely didn’t want to be the cause of any nightmares by talking about it too much.  

What we did talk about, though, was how good it was that Abraham loved God so much, was obedient and able to trust Him.  And how good it was that God provided a ram so that Isaac wouldn’t have to be the offering.  And most of all, how, because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, we don’t have to offer sacrifices to God anymore, and He would never ask us to what He asked of Abraham.  I hope I reassured them sufficiently.  Reading that part of the Bible is a totally different experience when you’re doing it with your own, rather sensitive, children.  I think I need some reassurance, too!