ABRAHAM AND ISAAC
When Sarah was ninety years old, she bore Abraham a son he called Isaac, and Diversity watched as Abraham did to Isaac what he had done to himself, and again she approached Terah, and again he turned pale and vomited, and she knew that her heart was now with Abraham and Isaac, and from then on, Diversity’s greatest hope was to open the eyes of the Abraham and his tribe, to make them more inclusive and diverse, to end their fixation on the One and rededicate themselves to the many.
Now Abraham was already one hundred years old when Isaac was born, and from the moment he laid eyes on his son, Abraham delighted in whatever Isaac did, and the boy became his world—and the entire time Abraham continued to worship his God exclusively. God, however, decided to test Abraham, and he called his name.
“Here I am,” Abraham replied.
Then God said, “Take your son Isaac, whom you love dearly, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Diversity, observing the scene at a distance, thought: Oh, snap!
Abraham fell to his knees at God’s command. “But he’s my son!”
“Your point being?”
“You promised to make me into a great nation,” Abraham said.
“Maybe I changed my mind.”
“But you’re God. You don’t change your mind. That’s the point.”
“Yeah, well who says I meant Isaac? You’ve got that Ishmael kid. He looks like he’s got nation-potential too.”
“But he’s from my wife’s servant. Isaac is from my beloved wife.”
To which God responded, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
That ended the conversation.
And Diversity thought, This ought to be good!
So early the following morning, Abraham awakened and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for Moriah, as God had instructed him. On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance, and he said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go the rest of the way. We will worship, and then we will come back to you.”
As Abraham gathered wood for a burnt offering, Diversity rushed back to her couch with a fresh bag of popcorn from the microwave. Once he’d gathered enough wood, Abraham placed it on Isaac’s back, and the two of them went on together, with Isaac carrying the wood, and Abraham carrying the fire and the knife.
Then Isaac said to Abraham, “Father.”
“Here I am,” Abraham answered.
“We have fire and wood,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Diversity burst into tears as she heard Isaac say this, and she pushed aside her popcorn and leaned in even closer.
Then Abraham said, “God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
The two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar, and he arranged the wood on it. Finally, he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
“No!” Diversity cried.
But at that moment, an angel appointed by God called down to Abraham from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” Abraham replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” the angel said. “Do not harm him in any way. For now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld your son, your only son.”
“Thank you, Lord!” Diversity sighed, wiping away tears.
Then Abraham said to the angel, “So then God changed his mind.”
“I did not!” came a voice from heaven.
“You did so,” Abraham said. “You told me to sacrifice Isaac, and then you sent your angel to tell me not to sacrifice him.”
“That was my plan all along,” God said. “I was testing you.”
“Nice,” Abraham said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“How about creating me a couple of Rolaids?”
Then Abraham looked up, and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
It’s always the animals, Diversity thought. I made them too, you know.
But her heart swelled with affection for Abraham and his son.