Abraham’s faith was tested many times. The first test that we are told about came when God told him to leave his home in Ur and go to an unknown land. (It is likely that he faced tests while he was still living in Ur. If his faith hadn’t previously been strengthened by exercise he wouldn’t have been willing to leave his home at God’s command.) When he entered the new land God told him he would become the father of many nations and he continued to believe this promise even though it was 25 years before Isaac was born.
His greatest test came after Isaac was born.
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Abraham was ordered to offer Isaac as a burnt offering and he obeyed immediately. The writer of Hebrews explains the reason.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Have you ever wondered how Isaac felt about being offered as a burnt offering? Abraham didn’t tell him before they got to the place of sacrifice but on the way he did notice they didn’t have a lamb to sacrifice.
And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
When they reached the place of sacrifice he soon learned that he was the lamb.
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
We aren’t told how he responded when he learned he was to be sacrificed. Did Abraham have to spend a lot of time convincing him or did he submit immediately? We don’t know the answer to that question but we do know that in the end he allowed Abraham to tie him up and place him on the altar. He evidently had the same faith Abraham did, that God would raise him from the dead. The incident tested his faith as well as Abraham’s, and like his father he passed the test.