The task of narrowing down to one principle that I learn from Father Abraham, and my ability to express the honor that he deserves, has been overwhelming for me. Each time that I considered what I would leave my children about the test of sacrificing his son, I felt inadequate to address this scriptural account.
Brooke and Will,
I can only ponder this event, read the chapter over, and over, so many times, (as well as the LDS Institute manual) ; I hope this helps in your studies, and I hope that you will study about these things on your own as well.
Our Heavenly Father does not like to see us struggle here in mortality anymore than we as parents struggle to let our own children go through the trials of life. Often times I succumb in my limited view of mortality as your parent. I am too quick to save you from your struggle, and this is because I am not a perfect parent; but our Father in Heaven truly is a perfect parent.
Our Father knows that the process of learning and growing to become more like Him can only happen in a fallen world, and in a human body. The process of learning to have faith, comes with having a struggle.
The first principle of the gospel is faith Jesus Christ, and in fact, Joseph Smith stated that, " We must exercise faith in God unto life and salvation; which includes faith that He exists, Faith in what He can do for each of us through His Atonement, and last, faith that the life we are pursuing is according to His will." ( Lectures on Faith )
In the talk written by Bruce C. Hafen titled " The Value of the Veil " he explains to us the ways in which our mortal experiences and tests are necessary.
He says :
" Knowledge can also be called skill development - learning how to do something like playing the piano or swimming. The process of becoming Christlike is a matter of acquiring skills more than a matter of learning facts and figures. And there is something about the nature of developing those divine skills that makes it impossible even for God to teach us those things unless we participate in the process. Imagine an innovative music school with a revolutionary approach, the " think method" in which the piano students did not have to practice. The school would teach all the rudiments; describe in detail how to move one's fingers; go deeply into music theory and history; teach thoroughly how to read music. The students would memorize all the best books that have even been written on how to play the piano. The school could last four years, but when the first graduate of the " Do it without Practice Piano Course " walks onto the stage of Carnegie Hall with the orchestra in the background, what do you think would happen? Not much. Why? Because some things can only be learned with practice."
As we understand that the experiences and tests that we have in this life are not only for our benefit, but absolutely necessary, we can see how they are shaping us, and allowing us to learn the things that we must experience with mortal bodies, because we have and will have eventual innumerable mortal children if we reach our divine destiny. We too are promised innumerable posterity like our Father Abraham, if we keep our covenants.
" And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:23-29
Even Jesus Christ, God Himself, went through human experience, growing in grace from grace, ( Abraham 3:24, Luke 2:1 ) so that he might know in the flesh how to succor His people ( Alma 7:1 ).
As we are given a measure of the account of Father Abraham in Genesis 22, with the principle of knowledge gained through practice and mortal experience, we see this test equal to the man or "God" that Abraham was destined to become.
D&C 132 :
29 : Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation or commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.
Brooke and Will,
The last impression that is most meaningful to me about this account, is that God did ask Abraham to sacrifice His son, and without watching his beloved wife Sarah wait and miraculously be given the promised blessing of seed, even at her old age of ninety-nine, this experience could not have been as fulfilling.
do not forget that God did ask Abraham to sacrifice His son, but that He did not allow Abraham to go through with it! He instead left a beautiful message to you and to me which is called,
" Jehovah-Jireh "
When at last an angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from slaying his son, Abraham lift his eyes and looked, and beheld behind him saw a ram caught in the thicket by his horns, and Abraham took the ram instead, and offered it as the burnt offerings, instead of his son.
And he called the place Jehovah-Jireh, as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen .
( Genesis 22:14 )
And, in this same exact location God, would not have an angel come tell him stop! But, He instead would sacrifice His Only Begotten Son, in representation that Abraham would not have to, because Jesus Christ is the ultimate sacrifice.
Because Heavenly Father gave us His Son Jesus Christ, we will not have to suffer some of those tests in the way that we may have had too.
We may be asked to go into our own lands of Moriah, like Abraham was. We may be asked to go all the way to the top of the mountain and raise our own daggers, but in the end, we can know that God will provide our ram; after we were willing to sacrifice, I know that He will bless us as He did Abraham, if we are faithful and keep heading up our mountains....
I hope that I can continue up my mountains in the strength of the Lord, and I hope that I can be pleasing to Him that I know I often let down, yet He continues to be so patient and loving towards me.
I do know with all my heart that The Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church on the earth and I would do anything to help build His kingdom no matter what that meant.