Part 1 – Part 2
The interpretation that stated Sara’s death was caused by the roar of her soul cannot be clearly known for sure. But we do need to re-think about what had happened to Sara that morning. Imagine when she woke up, she did not find her husband beside her. She began to search only to discover that her son, Isaac, was gone too. To make matters worse, they did not come home after 3 days. The rumors she might have heard made her day worsen. Probably after that, she would have run to search them, especially to search for Isaac. What is clear, Genesis 23:2 said she later died in a different town, in Kirjath Arba, namely later as Hebron, in the land of Canaan. More than 40 km away from Beersheba to the north. Mount Moriah itself is twice the distance from Beersheba to Hebron in the same direction, if Mount Moriah was located in the Jerusalem area.
The price Abraham paid
Genesis 22:1 shows us clearly that God is testing only Abraham. Not Sarah, and not even Abraham and Sarah as husband and wife. Just Abraham. In this matter, Sarah’s faith was not found to reach this capacity to be tested. Sarah was the one who caused Abraham to sin by giving Hagar to him, Genesis 22. And Sarah also laughed at God’s promise of Isaac in Genesis 18: 13-15. So it was only Abraham who was tested. Perhaps that is why, very early in the morning, according to Genesis 22: 3 he had gone up to Mount Moriah. Abraham did not want the incident of Genesis 16 to repeat itself in which Sara intervened in his affairs with God. Yes, it can’t be denied that Sarah would not definitely let Isaac go. The child she waited for 25 years, was born in her old age when she was 90 years old. Now, Abraham would sacrifice him? He is crazy! she would have cried out. No wonder if she would have roared, howl so much that she died because of it.
One other thing, if this is true interpretation of Genesis 22-23, then Isaac also would not be a child anymore or a teenager when he was presented on Mount Moriah, he would have been 37 years old! Genesis 23:1.
Why God?! Why did you take Isaac back? Why?! Roared Sara.
Notice here, it is not only Sarah who later separated from Abraham after Genesis 22. After the incident Abraham sacrificed Isaac, Isaac is said to have lived in the Negev, in Lahai-Roi, Genesis 24:62. Negev Land is located south of Beersheba, as far as approximately 75 km. The Negev is an area of Canaan that closed to Egypt. Often referred to as descending, downward, or south. Yes, because of its position south of Canaan. In allegory, it would likely to be interpreted as a spiritual descending state. Lahai-Roi itself is the place where Hagar met the God who helped her when she was casted out by Sara, Genesis 16. So if Sarah was about 40 km further north and Isaac 75 km south of Abraham in Beersheba, could Abraham’s obedience of faith had made him to pay a very big price, too much, more than his own family could bear.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26-27.
God’s way and our objection to it
Often times we can’t understand God’s ways, and we shouldn’t even try to understand. Our inquiries about His ways are more likely to get in the way of our walk with Him. More, it would reflect our unbelieve hearts instead of an attitude to find answers. God will certainly make us understand His purpose and will, but only along the way or towards the end, not at the beginning. So don’t let our questions get in the way of our step of faith.
Many times, why God?! shows more of our anger and resentment to Him because we like to think we are righteous, worthy, and spiritual. He doesn’t deserve to treat me this way, we think. Yes, this is true when we acknowledge our honesty. We often feel God shouldn’t let this happen! Why is that? Because our spiritual life is based on a lot of wrong things. Unaware of many things before the Lord, we like to feel that God owes us a lot. Especially when we have done a lot of good things and our nominal offerings and donation are very large. We feel we have served God. Not to mention when we first came to God, many of us were indeed good people. Because of it, we like to feel we are those good people who would come after God and He is the one who needs us, aren’t we good people? And because we are good, we can’t see what the Cross is for us. We think it’s only for the sinners. I am innocent, I am not that bad person. And because I’m good, God owes me a debt. So when we get into trouble, we start to protest God’s chosen way. Why God?! Aren’t I good? I am as you want, right?! I am spiritual, pleasing enough to You?!
These are the wrong things that become much of our foundation of our Christianity. God’s trials will make all of this revealed on the surface. Yes, the pressures of life will show who we really are. Why God?! shows our pride as we think we are more righteous, better than God. A very selfish thought, very self-centered, self-righteous. No wonder that many of us as Christians become very judgmental of others.
First, we should realize that when we come to Him the first time, even though we are good people, we always have to come through repentance. If you think you have no basis to repent only because you were a good person, then that is also the main basis for repentance: repent from self-righteousness. We don’t have to be evil just yet to understand what repentance means. Self-righteousness is also a sin, a state of mind that will initially make us feel right, corrected already, but will ultimately bring us only to judge others. There is no self-righteousness that can justify us before God. As much as righteousness within us, there will be always an error that comes from the seed of sin which we were born with it. We can’t deny it, escape from it. We would only be able to try to balance it with our righteousness, to cover it. To justify it by showing our good deeds are much more. But we know we are not able to redeem it at all. The worse part, this self-righteousness would trick us to think that we would not need any repentance nor any redeemer. This would make us the same as the Pharisees. The Pharisees’ fault was not that they understand the Word more, but because they felt they are more righteous than others. A feeling of being spiritual which cannot be avoided when we start our life journey with God without repentance. That’s why we really need to repent, repent from our own righteousness. Only the Cross, death, and resurrection of Christ can justify us. All our righteousness is like a dirty rag before Him, Isaiah 64:6. The dirty cloth Isaiah refers to here in the original language is the cloth used by women to clean themselves when they have just had their period.
Next, our journey of life must always return to the Cross. Start with the Cross, and always based on the Cross. As Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9 for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. So if we walk with Him, we must also grow in Him by His own Cross, not by our own efforts. Here, our motives are often becoming wrong as we would love for Him to love us more. We do not serve for us to become more pleasing and acceptable to His favor. But we love and serve Him because firstly He had loved us, had served us. We are only able to repay, not to give merit or to get more from Him. Because He had done it perfectly, loved us completely on the Cross, He was faithful until death. He gave it all for us on the Cross, 100% without missing something. There is nothing else we could do to gain more of His favor which originates only by and from the Cross itself. We owe him our lives, not the other way around. We must love Him more, serve Him, give Him even everything because we owe our lives in full to Him who died in our place on the Cross. To Him who has reconciled us to the Father by His own blood. It is not the other way around that because with all our righteousness and good deeds God owes us. We should not expect a reward from Him, because all we could do is to pay a debt that we will never be able to pay fully in our lifetime. Think about this, do you love God? And why do you love God?