Revisiting the Past: Children’s Stories Today (Part VI)

Sermon Title: Revisiting the Past: Children’s Stories Today—On The Altar?

Good News Statement: God Requests Us to Lay it all on the Altar

Summary: If God hated human sacrifice, why would He ask Abraham to offer his only son as a burnt offering to Him? And what can this story mean to us?

Preached: Sunday, July 7th, 2024 at Dogwood Prairie and Seed Chapel UMC

Pastor Daniel G. Skelton, M.Div.

 

Scripture (NRSV): Hebrews 11:17-19 Today’s scripture reading focuses on the obedience and trust of Abraham when God commanded him to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac. Abraham was about to sacrifice his most valuable possession, but an angel stopped him and the Lord provided a lamb/sheep/ram to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. What are we willing to sacrifice for God? Let’s read Hebrews Chapter Eleven, Verses Seventeen thru Nineteen. May the hearing and reading of this scripture add understanding and meaning to your life.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom he had been told, “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

 

The Command to Sacrifice Isaac

22 After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. And the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide,” as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

The Word of God, for the People of God; And all God’s People said, “Thanks Be To God.”

 

Introduction:

Do you remember the first Bible story you were taught as a child? Were you taught about Adam and Eve? Did you read the accounts of Noah, the Ark, and the Great Flood? Were you in fascination of Daniel in the Lion’s Den? Were you caught up in the love story of Samson and Delilah? Did you ever find yourself wanting a technicolor coat like Joseph? Did you want to march around Jericho or use a sling-shot to take down giants? Did you want to build a basket and float down a river like Moses? Maybe you were curious about a tower that went by the name “Tower of Babel”? Perhaps, it was the story of Jonah and a whale that inspired you to dive into the Word of God? Or was it the story of Jesus feeding five-thousand people on the shores of Galilee with only two little fish and five loaves of bread? If you can’t remember the first Bible story you were taught as a child, maybe you have a favorite Bible Story that has helped you deepen your faith and strengthen your trust in God.

If you are trying to remember some of those famous Bible Stories you may have learned or heard about as a child, let me jog your memory of a few. According to Dr. Oliver Tearle of Loughborough University, here are the top twelve stories of the Bible that many people have been raised on: “Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark and the Flood, The Tower of Babel, Moses in a basket, Moses parting the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, Jonah and the Whale, The Nativity Scene, The Raising of Lazarus, and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus.” There are many, many, more stories that probably come to mind, but these are the twelve most popular Bible stories that most of us can remember learning as a child. But, what do the stories of back then teach us today? When was the last time you revisited the first stories of your faith?

Over the span of the next few months—June, July, and August—we are going to explore some of these early childhood Bible Stories. As we explore these stories, each of you will be encouraged to think about the first time you heard that story and what that story means to you today. Dr. Tearle notes, in his article titled 12 of the Best Stories from the Bible Everyone Should Know, “The Bible contains many well-known stories, but how much do we know about them? And what are the best Bible stories everyone should know? Many people, even those raised in countries where Sunday school and religious assemblies are a mainstay of many children’s education, may find they’ve misremembered, or got the wrong impression about, some of the iconic tales from the Bible.”

So, what do you remember about some of those “iconic tales” from the Bible; and what about them today can help deepen your faith and strengthen your trust in God as you strive to be the disciple and church Jesus needs you and us to be? We continue the journey by examining the altar for Isaac…

 

Body:

Sacrifice. We have all heard this word before; and we have all made some sort of sacrifice—the giving of our time, putting others first, taking a risk, adding something to our already busy schedule. Sacrifice: it’s part of our life and what is needed to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Sacrifice is a prominent theme throughout the Scriptures.

In the days of Abraham, one of the ways people showed their love for God was by offering Him a sacrifice. A sacrifice is like a gift—a giving of yourself and time and resources and talents. It’s something you give to others to show them that you care for them. It’s something you give to God to show Him you are willing to obey Him, even when it costs you something in return. Usually, during the days of Abraham, it was something like a sheep or a lamb that was sacrificed. But when Isaac was still a young boy, God asked Abraham for a different kind of sacrifice. God said “This year, instead of killing an animal and giving it to me, I want you to give me your only son, Isaac.”

The story of Abraham and Isaac is found in Genesis 22. Remember, Isaac is Abraham and Sarah’s only child; and they waited and waited and waited for their son to be born. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born. It took 25 years for God to fulfill His promise to Abraham that Abraham would become the “Father of all nations,” and it took 25 years to have Sarah’s prayers answered to become a mother: even through her laughter, doubt, and impatience, God answered her prayers. And now, this promise, this answered prayer, this only son, was going to be sacrificed to the one God who brought him into this world. This specific story reminds me of what the Message Bible says in Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth. God gives, God takes [away].”

Linda Taylor, in her book The Classic Children’s Bible Storybook, summarizes the story of Abraham and Isaac in this way: “Abraham loved Isaac very, very much. It was easy to understand, because Isaac was his only son. But then something happened that Abraham could hardly believe. The Lord told him to go and sacrifice Isaac on a mountaintop.

Now we must understand the meaning of that in those days. Long, long ago, people would kill an animal as a token of their love for God. Usually they burned a sheep or goat on a pile of stones called an altar. It was their way of giving up some precious possession to honor the Lord. But when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, it meant that he had to kill his son, and it meant that he had to kill his son and burn him on a pile of stones. Did he hear correctly? Would the Lord really expect something as awful and painful as that from someone He loved?

We do not know what went through Abraham’s mind. The only thing that we do know is that he was determined to obey the Lord. He loved God that much. So Abraham and his son took a journey to the mountain. Isaac carried the wood for the offering on his back. He did not realize that he was the one to be sacrificed. Abraham’s heart must have been quietly breaking. Imagine him having to choose between his love for the Lord and his love for his son.”

From the story of Abraham and Isaac, we learn about obedience, we learn about trust, we witness faith in action, we embrace the significance of sacrifice, and we come to understand the power of love. But most importantly, this story begs us to answer the following question, “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?” Are you sacrificing all that you can for Lord and Jesus Christ? To answer this question, the story of Abraham and Isaac is broken down into three sections: 1) Before the Sacrifice, 2) On the Altar, and 3) After the Sacrifice.

 

Movement One: Before the Sacrifice… Abraham’s Terrible Task (Genesis 22:1-5)

First: Before the Sacrifice. Abraham was shocked, when he heard what God needed him to do. He thought to himself “NO, not Isaac. He’s my only son, how could I possibly kill my only son?” But then he remembered God’s promise that Isaac would be the father of many nations, and he realized God would not have lied to him. He reasoned—if God has asked me to sacrifice my only son, it must be that he will raise him from the dead.” The next morning, he took Isaac and went to the place of sacrifice. Isaac had been on these trips several times before and he began to realize that something was missing. “Father,” he said, “we’ve forgotten to bring something to sacrifice.” And Abraham replied “Don’t worry son… God will supply the sacrifice.”

About 40 years ago, “Biblical Archeological Review”[1] published an article discussing the city of Carthage in northern Africa. Carthage was where Hannibal[2], a successful officer in the Carthage army, came from, and it was a major military power that challenged the might of Rome. Archeologists had been doing some digging around the city of Carthage and they were surprised at what they’d found. You see, many archeologists view religion as something that has evolved—developed, unfolded, grew, moved forward. The thinking is that early religion was crude and barbaric, and human sacrifices were the norm. But as religion evolved (they say) people became more “humane” and offered animals. But that’s not what they found at Carthage.

It seems that the early sacrifices were animals, and as time went on human sacrifice became more common (replacing animal sacrifices). Now, that puzzled the “experts” and led them to speculate as to why that happened. The explanation from the authors of this article was that when Carthage was first founded, animals were plentiful, and children—not so much. If the city was to grow, they had to keep the children alive and thus, animals were less important—and were sacrificed to their gods. But as the city grew, animals grew scarce, and children weren’t (scarce). So, human sacrifice replaced animal sacrifice. Apparently, through their research of Carthage, Archeologists concluded that as “religion evolved” so did the means of sacrifice: from animals to humans; but we know this evolution is not a God-evolution.

In the Old Testament, there were a lot of nations who sacrificed their children to their pagan gods, and often their child sacrifices came after a defeat and a great disaster. In Deuteronomy God told Israel “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? — that I also may do the same.’ ‘You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods’” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, NIV). And in Leviticus 20:2 (NIV)God hammered it home: “Say to the people of Israel, ‘Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.’” Human sacrifice was a great evil that God would not tolerate which is why He commands the people “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), and why Jesus preaches and teaches that we are to love our neighbor (Mark 30-31).

But now…wait a minute. God hated human sacrifice: He despised it; He called it an abomination; in fact, God drove numerous nations out of Canaan specifically because they offered their children as burnt offerings to their gods. But, here in Genesis 22, God asked Abraham to offer up his son, a child,  as a burnt offering to Him! WHAT’S GOING ON??? Is God going back on His word? Is God changing His mind (although Malachi 3:6 specifically says, “I, the LORD, do not change…”)? Is God forgetting what He seeks for His people?

Before the sacrifice took place, Abraham was probably scratching his head and asking “Why? Why God? Why do I have to sacrifice my only son to prove my obedience, my faith, my trust, my devotion for you? Is there another way? There has to be another way.” We don’t know what exactly was going through the mind of Abraham, but I’m sure he was thinking about how God didn’t approve of human sacrifice and here he was doing what God ordered him to do but also what God didn’t approve of.

Before we commit to making a sacrifice—whether it’s changing our schedule for someone, giving up our time, digging into our pockets to complete a project—we all ask ourselves questions. “Can I do this? Do I have time to do this? Will it be worth it? How much will this put me behind my schedule? Will I be able to still do what I need to get done? Will this act of sacrifice go unnoticed? Will it turn into a regular occurrence?” We ask ourselves questions before we offer any sacrifice because we can’t see how life-changing our sacrifice will be. We get too worried about ourselves that we miss the reality that we are doing what Jesus would do: put others before ourselves. We don’t have trust or even faith in what God needs us to do, at first, because we can’t see the difference our sacrifice will make for someone else.

Before the sacrifice, Abraham had every right to question God, to tell God “No,” but he didn’t. He did what God needed him to do. Abraham was going to sacrifice his one and only son because that is what the Lord was calling him to do. Abraham didn’t question God’s agenda or even question how this sacrifice was going to ruin his life—to leave him heartbroken and in deep despair. Abraham wasn’t thinking about himself: he was thinking about what God needed him to do because he knew that God would supply him with what he needed.

When God asks us to make a sacrifice or puts someone in our path or presents an idea to us that we know is above us, we must not think about ourselves, but think about how that sacrifice is what is needed to keep Christ’s love and mission alive. Not every sacrifice will be easy. Not every sacrifice will be what we want to do. And not every sacrifice will be written on our schedules. Before you make a sacrifice, of any kind, know that God will supply you with what you need.

 

Movement Two: On the Altar… Are You Listening to God (Genesis 22:6-9)

Second: On the Altar. The story continues in Genesis 22:6-9, “Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. And the two of them walked on together.  Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood” (NRSV).

You see, the purpose of an altar was to have a place where you could surrender something valuable to God. And at this altar, God asked Abraham to surrender the most valuable thing in his life—HIS ONLY SON! Now, throughout his life, Abraham had built numerous altars. It seems that everywhere he went, he built an altar and made a sacrifice. But Abraham was a rich man. He had many sheep and cattle and camels and donkeys and numerous servants. Up until this point, the sacrifices he made hadn’t cost him that much. But with the offering up of his son Abraham was laying EVERYTHING on the altar. So, God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable to see if Abraham LOVED HIM more than his son.

Jesus challenges us in much the same way: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37-38, NIV). First of all, notice that it is Jesus who tells us who is worthy to love him and follow him: it’s not our place to tell someone that they aren’t worthy to love and follow Jesus. Second, what Abraham is told to do and what Jesus does, invites us to ask ourselves, “Have we laid all on the altar? Is there anything you love more than Jesus?”

There’s an old Christian hymn called “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?” and it goes like this: “Have you longed for sweet peace, and for faith to increase and have earnestly, fervently prayed? But you cannot have rest, or be perfectly blest, until all on the altar is laid. Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? You can only be blest, and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul.” I’m convinced that that hymn was inspired by the story we read about Abraham and Isaac. Abraham’s ALL was literally laid on the altar of sacrifice. God said: “Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:16-18, NIV). Abraham, laid it all on the altar, but are you?

I came across the following story: “A pastor shared that at one of the churches served, a man came down at the invitation time, and I thought, ‘What’s he coming down front for? We baptized him one year ago!’ But as he approached I was surprised as he walked right past me and went to kneel at the stage and pray. Now, why did he do that? Well, he’d been raised in a church where the stage was called the ALTAR and he’d been taught that when you wanted to lay something before God you needed to come up front and kneel at the stage/altar and prayerfully give God whatever you’d been holding back on.” This man came to the altar and laid everything he had upon it. That man, through his actions, sent a message to everyone there that an altar is anyplace you make a decision to surrender a part of your life to God. Laying everything on the altar means to surrender all to God, all to Jesus Christ.

Let me share with you another story. “Jesus came to a man’s home and knocked on the front door. Jesus wanted to come in. The man gladly let Jesus in, and offered Him a chair at the kitchen table. But instead of sitting down, Jesus walked over to the living room door and knocked on that closed door. The owner of the house wasn’t sure He wanted Jesus in THAT room, and so… he hesitated. But Jesus kept on knocking. So, reluctantly, the man opened that door too. But then Jesus went over to the bedroom door—knocked on it. Again, the man hesitated, but because Jesus was so determined, the man finally opened that door as well. But as soon as Jesus went into the bedroom, He walked over to the closet door… and knocked on it.”[3] The point of the illustration is this: Jesus doesn’t want PART ownership of your life. He wants the whole thing…every single room: every single tear, every single smile, every single sin, every single act of repentance, every single fault, every single accomplishment, every single worry, stress, and frustration, and doubt and uncertainty. Jesus wants it all. And that is where it comes down to for US. We need to place it ALL on the altar of sacrifice.

Are you laying everything on the altar? Are you giving everything to Jesus? Are you willing to make sacrifices today to strengthen your faith for tomorrow? Are you willing to open every door upon which Jesus knocks? What are you afraid to lay on the altar? God knows you inside and out, so don’t be afraid to lay everything before him. God, every day, allows each of you to surrender all to Him; and every day we set aside that invite because we don’t believe we can give everything to God. Well, let me tell you, you can! Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer…let your requests be made known to God.” And James 4:7-8 states, “So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. Come near to God, and God will come near to you…” (NCV). Lay everything on the altar. Give it all to God. Surrender everything to Christ. When you do, God will take notice. Open that door and let him in.

When Abraham is about to drive the knife home, God stops him, and says “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for NOW I KNOW that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Genesis 22:12, NIV). Therefore, God fulfills what He said about not sacrificing children. God noticed Abraham’s commitment to lay everything on the altar that was valuable to him; and stopped him and noticed Abraham’s faith. When we lay everything on the altar, God will notice and God will do everything in His power to make sure that our sacrifice is received.

 

Movement Three: After the Sacrifice… The Lord Provides (Genesis 22:13-14)

Third: After the Sacrifice. The story ends with these words: “And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide,’ as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’”

When they reached the place of the sacrifice, Abraham tied his son and placed him on the altar. He raised the knife to kill his son as God had asked… and SUDDENLY—an angel appeared and shouted “STOP! Now I know that you love me. You were willing to give your only son to me as a sacrifice… that’s all I wanted to know.” And Abraham looked, and there in the bushes was a big male sheep, caught by its horns. And Abraham went and took that big sheep and offered it up as a burnt offering to God.” The Lord provided.

When you choose to make sacrifices for the Lord—helping others, putting others before yourself, praying, worshiping, reading scripture, maintaining the church, growing your faith, giving thanks, rejoicing, seeking repentance, and following the teachings of Jesus Christ—He will provide for you. The Lord is always willing to provide for you, but you must be willing to do some work, you must be willing to leave everything on the altar. Abraham followed the commands of God, and God provided for him: his offspring were as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Abraham did what God needed him to do, and God provided for him. What are you willing to do for God? How are you letting God provide for you?

One way God is providing for you is through his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. And we see this through the story of Abraham and Isaac. For example, Isaac is referred to as Abraham’s “son, his only son” (Genesis 22:12); John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave us His ONLY begotten Son.” Isaac asked “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7); and when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Isaac traveled for three days on the way to the altar (Genesis 22:4); and Jesus was raised from the tomb on the third day (Luke 24:46). Furthermore, the wood for the sacrifice was “placed upon Isaac” (Genesis 22:6); and the wooden cross was placed upon Jesus’ shoulders (John 19:16-17). Isaac was taken to Mount Moriah to be sacrificed (Genesis 22:2); and Jesus was sacrificed at Golgotha—believed to be on the Mt. of Moriah (Mark 15:22). Lastly, God supplied the sacrifice to be offered in place of Isaac (Genesis 22:12-14); and God supplied Jesus as a sacrifice to be offered in OUR place for our sins (Romans 3:25). Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19); Jesus came to die for our sins… and God raised Him from the dead (I Corinthians 6:14)

You see God will not only provide for you, but He has already and is providing for you right here right now through His son Jesus Christ, the one who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, who paid our debts in full, who continually knocks on the door of our heart until we answer, and who is constantly seeking to live in our church. God provided Abraham a sacrifice; and Jesus sacrificed himself for us, so now the question is, “What are you willing to provide for God and what are you willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ?”

 

Conclusion:

Because Abraham was willing to surrender his most precious possession to God, God used Isaac to tell the story of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and assure us that the DETAILS of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that had all been planned out centuries ahead of time—way back in time of Isaac. Seemingly every aspect of the story of Isaac being sacrificed pointed to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Hebrews 11:17-19 reads, “By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom he had been told, ‘It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.’ He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” Through the faith of Abraham—his obedience, commitment, devotion, trust, and surrender—we witness how God works in our life: 1) God provides for us, 2) God invites us to lay everything on the altar, and 3) God made the ultimate sacrifice through His son so that we in turn can make sacrifices in our life to continue to live out the mission and teachings that have set us free.

This story ends by Abraham and Isaac walking home together. Not a word was shared. Not a thought discussed. Not a question asked. The two walked home together knowing that they did what God needed them to do. What is God calling you to do? What has he laid on your heart? Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?

Let it be so…

 

Holy Communion Transition:

Closing Prayer:

Dear God, we thank you for your provisions. We thank you for your continued sacrifices in our life. And we thank you for giving us the strength to make sacrifices for others so that they in turn come to know you more. May we continue to make sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. In your name we pray, Amen.

 

Benediction:

This week, may you be blessed to leave everything on the altar before God: surrender all to him and keep answering the door when Jesus knocks. May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; and May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26). In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, remember to laugh and remember that God is listening. And all God’s people said, Amen. Amen. Amen.

 

 

[1] Biblical Archaeology Review 10:1, January/February 1984 “Child Sacrifice at Carthage—Religious Rite or Population Control?”

[2] Hannibal was born in 247 B.C.E. in Carthage, a powerful city in North Africa that was a threat to the Roman Republic in the Mediterranean…. A successful officer in Carthage’s army, Hannibal was proclaimed its leader when he was only 26. In 219 B.C.E., Hannibal led his army to attack Saguntum, a city in the middle of the eastern Spanish coast. Saguntum, however, was an ally of Rome, so Hannibal’s attack and siege on the city led Roman Senate to declare war on Carthage…. He assembled a massive army of 90,000 foot soldiers, a cavalry of 12,000, and at least 37 war elephants to march on Rome…. The trip was difficult, and Hannibal lost many troops, as well as some elephants. Nevertheless, Hannibal’s army penetrated the Italian peninsula and advanced slowly on Rome, spending the next 15 years fighting with Roman armies before having to retreat to Carthage. Facing capture by the Roman army, Hannibal took his own life around 183 B.C.E. (https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/hannibal)

[3] https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/is-your-all-on-the-altar-of-sacrifice-laid-jeff-strite-sermon-on-sacrifice-258243?page=3&wc=800


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