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A Bitter Burden

December 18, 2019
By Martin Luther

On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. . .. Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son…. So they went both of them together.

GENESIS 22:4, 6

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A Bitter Burden

I am truly surprised that the father did not die from that bitter and persistent grief, for he had to make a journey of three days. If that struggle had lasted one or two hours, he would have prevailed rather easily. Therefore this delay makes his obedience greater. Meanwhile he thought: "Behold, I am walking along with my son, who is my greatest hope and a young man; he has to die." During these three days he endured this kind of torture of his flesh and at the same time the darts of Satan. Nevertheless, he had to endure it in silence because of the command, and since he relied on this, he was strengthened and preserved. . .. These two were alone as they walked in the desert. The whole world is ignorant of what is going on here, and there was no one at hand to encourage the sorrowful father. The son, however, does not know that he is to be killed. Nowhere else in Holy Scripture is a walk like this described. There were two. Who were they? The very dear father and the dearly beloved son. In what frame of mind were they? This was their frame of mind: Isaac was unaware of the situation. Nevertheless, he was ready to obey. Abraham was fully determined to immolate his son and reduce him to ashes.

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