Father of Nations – Terrible Babysitter

I like to think I was a good sitter for the kids when they were little. I mean, I’m dad, so I should be able to provide for their basic needs on occasion. I remember a particular Saturday when our first was a toddler. Instead of playing the usual dolls and house (which I was excellent at, by the way), I decided that her tummy, back, and arms made the perfect canvas for a jungle mural. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We drew and drew until elephants, lions, and zebras were marching all over her flesh. Great, giggly, tickly fun.

Great fun until Mom came home and the little fink sold me out. My lovely wife hadn’t gotten two steps into the kitchen before the scamp had pulled her shirt up to reveal the masterpiece. I don’t recall if it was the classic grocery bags hitting the floor or not, but her fury stretched across the room and melted part of my ear. Something about her perfect, beautiful baby looking like a tattooed Harley rider.

That was the day I received a fairly detailed list of appropriate activities for times when mommy was away. I also learned the difference between permanent and washable markers.

That was a “first child” thing. She’s mellowed about keeping them in pristine condition and maybe I’ve matured a little. Either way, I pale in comparison to the worst babysitter ever. Some of you look for deep meaning in Bible stories and I applaud you. My infantile mind reads some of the odd ones and starts playing Paul Harvey – looking for The Rest of the Story.

When I read Genesis 22, I am awed by Abraham’s obedience. To listen and follow God at the expense of the one thing he had waited a hundred years for, his baby boy, is incredible. For so long he had begged and schemed for a son, but couldn’t have one with Sarah until he completely gave up his own plans and got to a place where he put his utter reliance on God and not himself. Only God.

obras maestras de la pintura - juan carlos boveri

We know how the story goes. Just before he offers Isaac as the sacrifice, God shows him a ram to use as a substitute, sparing his son’s life. Can you imagine the sheer joy? Can you picture the relief of his heart? Do you think Isaac flinched when the knife went up? Do you wonder at what Sarah said when they got home?

Seriously, how do you relay that to your wife?

“Hi Honey, we’re home.”

“Oh, I missed you two so much. How was the camping trip?”

“It was fantastic. You’re never gonna believe what God did. First, he told me to sacrifice Isaac. So I built this altar and put him on it. Just as the knife was about to come down…”



The Bible omits that part of the story. But I wonder sometimes.


I wonder what things I hold too dear to put on the altar. I certainly wouldn’t put my kids on there. (Heck, I won’t even draw on them anymore.) But there are other things too precious to me that I hold back. I know it – and so does God. Lord help me to have more faith and obedience like Old Abraham. I just pray I’m a better babysitter.


 Artwork Credit: Ferdinand von Olivier [Public domain]



15 thoughts on “Father of Nations – Terrible Babysitter

  1. I wrote about this in a post entitled “On the Altar of Sacrifice.” People tend to view the altar as a place of total destruction when it’s really a place of refinement. The good things we put there God gives back to us, purified, enlarged, and with all the marks of His glory.

    1. I will check that out. Absolutely agree – especially when you view the larger picture of the foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice, thanks for stopping by!

  2. This move by Abraham ranks right up there (for a wife) with Noah’s DIY project. You guys make us crazy sometimes.
    As for the spiritual lesson—God knows how to test us. Here’s what I love about Abraham’s life story: he failed tests of faith in Gen. 12 and again in chapter 20, but his faith grew.
    I find real hope in that.
    I hope you had a nice Palm Sunday in Portsong 😀

  3. Mark – that is a beautiful piece of writing. Wow! Now (apart from the fun along the way) that is one take on this passage never entering my mind before. A very powerful link with reality. Thank you.

  4. I absolutely considered what his wife would have thought and said. I think sometimes we forget they were human! Imagine waiting 90 years for a child and then, “Honey, God told me to give him back…by killing him.” Nuh Uh. 🙂 Love your writing. Still praying for your family.

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