Summary: Abraham’s monologue as he approaches the time he has to sacrifice Isaac. Could be done with the God-voice offstage.
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 8min
Scripture: Genesis 22: 1-14
Actors: 1M, 1VO
Voice of God
This is really a fine mess you’ve gotten me into now, God.
I can’t for the life of me understand why this is happening. To me. To Isaac. Why are you doing this to me? why, for God’s sake?
It doesn’t make any sense. None whatsoever.
Sarah, the poor woman, is at home in the tent, crying her eyes out. She is beside herself with pain, grief, anger, remorse. She wonders why on earth or heaven we ever trusted you in the first place. I wonder myself.
After all we’ve been through. God of the universe, why? This is our son, your son, Sarah’s son and mine. He is the sign of the covenant we made. Do you remember the covenant? Honestly? Yes, the covenant. That wonderful promise you offered.
You said, “Abraham, I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous. You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations for an everlasting covenant. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of Canaan, for all time. And I will be your God.”
That was what you said, wasn’t it? I thought that a bit improbable at the time, I must admit. After all, I was ninety-nine years old and my dear Sarah was ninety. A slight bit beyond her prime for bearing children, let alone a multitude of nations.
And if I thought it improbable, Sarah just about had a stroke when she heard she was going to start having babies. She laughed so hard the tent shook. Offspring indeed! Multitude of nations!
O sure, you did do the impossible. Or we did. We all did our part, God. And this boy was born to us. This Isaac. We even named him after your sense of humour. We named him laughter. Because, when he was born he was the most beautiful child we could have imagined. We weren’t laughing at you. We were laughing with joy.
Suddenly the improbable became possible. We had a child. Maybe we could have two. A multitude seemed a bit of a stretch, I grant you. But one was a good start.
But, that seems like another life time ago. Because here I am - or we are - picking up bundles of wood to start a fire for a burnt offering. Isaac is off collecting kindling with the men. This is twisted, God.
Is this a joke? Is there a punch line I’m missing somewhere? Did you speak to me in some other language? Did I get the wrong message?
No, it’s not a joke, is it? Nobody’s laughing. At least not me.
Isaac is coming back now. I haven’t told him what the sacrifice is. All I said was that God would provide it. What should I say? Would you like to tell him yourself?
Would you like to tell Isaac that he is to be burnt alive to satisfy your need for offerings? What kind of God have you turned out to be? I feel like I am betraying my own child just because I decided to trust you.
Have I been unfaithful to the covenant? Have I proven untrustworthy? I think not.
Isaac, lay here, son. On the altar. Yes, with the wood. Yes. I mean it. Don’t ask me why. Please don’t ask me why. I don’t know how to explain it. Just do as I say, and pray, son, pray.
(Abraham lifts the knife to slay Isaac. An off-stage voice comes in.)
Here I am.
Do not lay your hand on the boy or do him any harm; for now I know that you fear God.
You’re darn right I fear God. But what is this? What is happening?
(Abraham looks around, listening to the side. Offstage voice makes the sound of a ram bleating.)
A ram in a thicket! My God, a ram for the sacrifice!
Isaac, get off of there right now! Go and get that ram from the bush.
God, I am confused. I have a hundred questions. And maybe you don’t have an answer to any of them. But just one. Why did we do this? why the sacrifice?
It is not about the sacrifice, Abraham. It is about faith. You and I have just started on the long journey of faith. And I will tell you, your faith will be tested over and over again. By family and friends and enemies alike. Everyone who lives by faith is tested in some way. None of them will be harder than the test you just went through. You and your family will be stronger for it.
But you have proven your faith. You believed against all hope that you and Sarah would have children. You even tested my faith. And the covenant still holds. The promises are real, my old friend. Go home now. Go in faith. Trust the promise. I will be with you through everything. Always.
(c) Copyright Jim Hatherly