The story of Abraham and Isaac is generally told as Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac in submission to God’s direction. The lesson to us is most generally explained as the need for us to submit to God’s will with devotion and a willingness to give up what is most precious to us.
In Genesis 22: 12 the angel of the Lord said “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for know I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
This is the key lesson of God’s demand. Abraham had to be WILLING to sacrifice his son but God did not allow him to actually harm Isaac. Just so in our lives God will ask us to be willing to give up that which we most love, but will not ask us to harm our loved ones or anyone else.
He accepts our willingness but not the harm to another person.
This then is part of God’s test for us, are we willing to do anything God asks of us?
Are we able to recognize that God will not ask us to harm others with our actions?
If what we think God is asking us to do will harm another we must reexamine out thinking to be sure this direction is from God. As Christians, we know that God wants us to “Love one another” (John 13: 34) and if we love, we should not harm.
I try to use that as my test in what I say and do. Will my words or actions harm someone else. If the answer is yes than I can be pretty sure that the idea didn’t come from God and needs more prayer before I actually say or do whatever I’m thinking about.