Good morning, Bishop!
We were meditating about Abraham’s obedience. When we speak about the sacrifice of his only son, Isaac, we can’t imagine the depth of his actions.
For us, having children is common, but in that time and culture, having a son meant a lot, because he was the guarantee of the future of the family’s livelihood. Through him, the family name would continue for one more generation. For this reason, great care was given to male children, especially the firstborn. They were the most protected, notably treated differently and privileged.
When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, He knew the true value of what He was asking for. At the altar, he would be sacrificing the only opportunity to give continuation to his family, to guarantee their future and their generation.
In the Hebrew Bible, the words used by God are very strong. When speaking with Abraham, He referred to Isaac saying, “whom you love” “אשר – אהבת”. This expression has a much greater meaning than the notion of love people usually have. It means “unreserved love, full, complete, perfect”. In addition, “Asher” means “one that allows” and “Ahava” means “love”. This is, God asked Abraham for “the one who allowed him to love”. This shows that Abraham only became a complete, full, perfect man after Isaac was born, where he did not need anything else and could finally know the love that comes from God.
Despite everything that Isaac represented to Abraham, the hero of faith decided to obey the voice of God. He did not complain, he did not hesitate, he did not regret undergoing everything he did to obtain a son, nor did he consider all his efforts up until that moment to have been in vain. We also pass through the same situation as Abraham: God cleanses us, changes, transforms, magnifies, but there comes a certain time when He asks us for our “firstborn”. However, many of us do not have the same reaction as Abraham – and certainly our “firstborn” is much lesser than what was asked of Abraham. Unfortunately, we complain, look back and accept many thoughts that prevent us from doing what God truly wants from us.
Recently we were in Nazareth, and during the meeting we did, we were able to experience in our day what Abraham experienced in his time. There was an Arab couple participating in the meeting. They have two daughters, and the wife explained that her husband isn’t considered a father yet because he hasn’t had a son. In Nazareth, when a son is born, the father changes his name. So, for example, I would no longer be called Gustavo and would become “Gabriel’s father – Abu Gabriel”. Since this Arab man only has daughters, his name has not changed, and therefore he cannot be considered a father.
In this city and for these people, it is important to have a son, a firstborn. Before this happens, daughters are not taken into consideration – many mothers even abort female babies until they have a male child. There is enormous pressure from family and friends, and this couple told us that they’re always looked down upon because of their situation. Through this example, we can imagine how strong and faithful Abraham was, even with all the pressure he suffered. He even denied the right to have another woman in order to have a son. Abraham remained faithful to his wife and God, showing that he did not care about what others thought.
I hope to have contributed in some way.