SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

January 20, 2016

Genesis 22:1-24

  1. As we recall from last week's lesson of the first verse in this chapter that Abraham will be tested. Some translations have tempted, but a better word is tested. We need to be aware that Abraham had walked with God for about 35 years before God tested him in this most severe way. God did not give him this severe test until He knew Abraham was equipped for it. One of the great things about God is that He does not give us tests we cannot pass. His tests come when we are prepared. Furthermore, He supplies an extra measure of grace to help us through times of testing (1 Cor 10:13).

  2. Verse 2. Notice when God calls Abraham's name, Abraham responds with, “Here I am” (22:1; cf. 22:11). He was willing to hear from God and be moved to action. The Lord speaks again in 22:2: “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which l will tell you.”This verse is not made up of a series of gracious requests. Instead, God gives three commands (”take,” “go,” and “offer”) without an explanation. Abraham was not simply to cut his son and then nurse him back to health. He was to offer his son as a burnt offering. The question that is often asked at this point in the text is, “How could a God of love command Abraham to offer up his only son as a sacrifice?” God never intended to harm Isaac, but he did want to teach Abraham to be completely trusting in God’s word. God wants to teach us to trust him more than anything.

  3. In 22:3-4, we see that Abraham obeyed God's commands immediately and unquestioningly. Abraham “rose early in the morning.” Here we begin to see the contrast in this Abraham verses the old Abraham. The old Abraham was always trying to get out of the difficult thing, but this new Abraham is willing to do the hard thing without question. He has grown in faith and matured in the Lord. It was a three-day journey from Beersheba to Moriah (50 miles). Three days in which to think about what he must do. This was all a part of the test of obedience.

  4. Verse 5. After seeing the place of sacrifice, Abraham spoke. He instructed his servants to stay behind with his donkey. Why didn't Abraham bring the servants up the mountain with him? He knew his servants would try to stop him. They would have kept him from placing his son on the altar. They would have concluded that he had lost his mind and would have tried to subdue him “for his own good.” We must show the same wisdom that Abraham did. Sometimes it is very difficult to explain to others what God is sharing with you. And to be truthful you might not be able to share everything with everybody. Don't miss the last phrase in 22:5: “we will worship and we will come back to you.” Abraham believed God was able. We, both are coming back. Now I'm sure he must have been praying his heart out, but he was obedient in the midst of great anguish. Abraham's response is rather remarkable when you realize that God's command was illogical. From every human viewpoint it was contradictory and inconsistent. God had promised Abraham He would establish His covenant with Isaac and it was to be “an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him” (17:19). So at the ripe old age of 100, Abraham became a father and now God wants to take his son. This doesn't make sense to us. Yet Abraham was obedient and did what contradicted logic (Heb 11:17-19). There will be times in your life when obedience will not make sense. Are you prepared to obey God even in these cases?

  5. Verses 6-8. Abraham has to take the wood of the burnt offering and lay it on his son. As Abraham and Isaac are trekking along, it dawns on Isaac that the most important element is missing. So Isaac finally breaks the silence and speaks to his dad: “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (22:7) Abraham replied, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (22:8). Not only did his response hide the truth from Isaac, it also demonstrated faith in God. Abraham said God will provide the lamb. Even if you think you are making a sacrifice, God will provide the lamb. Our job is to bring our best, but God provides the sacrifice.

  6. In 22:9-10, we see that Abraham's obedience was thorough and complete. It has taken three days to get to Moriah. Once Abraham finally arrives, he has to climb Mount Moriah. Then he has to build the altar, arrange the wood, bind his son, lay him on the altar, stretch out his hand, and take the knife to slay him. Abraham raised the knife and then heard from God.

  7. Verses 11-12. As his knife was raised to slay his son, something amazing happened. The angel spoke. The angel of the Lord informs Abraham that Isaac was spared because “now I know that you fear God” (cf. 20:11). The word know means to experience. God experiences Abraham's faith intimately. Does God experience your faith?

  8. Verses 13-14. When Abraham demonstrated that he was willing to go all the way in his obedience to God, the Lord provided a solution to his crisis. Remember, God was testing Abraham (cf. 22:1). He didn't want the sacrifice of a son; He wanted the surrender of a father. Fittingly, Abraham named this place “The Lord will provide” (Yahweh Yireh) or literally, “The Lord will see/provide.” The name he chooses does not draw attention to himself but to his Lord. He does not name the place “Abraham was obedient.” He focuses on God's mercy and faithfulness, not on his own obedience. Abraham wanted there to be a record for Isaac. He wouldn't have any problem trusting God again. Here we see that God is both tester and provider. When God tests you He will provide for you. What you release to God, He replaces with something even more valuable.

  9. Verses 15-19. We have the final recorded instance of God speaking to Abraham. God here says, “By Myself I have sworn” (22:16) in affirming the promises, which He has already given to Abraham. God has to swear by Himself because there is no one greater He can swear by (Heb 6:13-14). It is unusual for God to speak with an oath. Abraham's supreme act of obedience drew forth God’s supreme assurance of blessing. God tells Abraham that because he has not withheld anything, God will not withhold anything. God promises to bless Abraham more than he can imagine. God promises more descendants than he can count because he didn't withhold the one descendant that he has now.

  10. Verses 20-24. Our narrative closes with the happy news that Abraham's brother Nahor has become the father of 12 sons. The central purpose of this list is to introduce the future bride of Isaac, Rebekah (22:23). The mother who would have the son who would have 12 other sons which we would call the tribes of Israel. No doubt Abraham had wondered where he would find a wife for Isaac so that his son would not be absorbed into the Canaanite culture. God had already taken care of the matter in the person of Rebekah. When we obey God fully we can trust that He is looking farther ahead than we are. He is already taking care, not only of our future needs, but also of the needs of our children! But please recognize that God has not promised Christians great physical blessings, but whenever we make a sacrifice for Him He gives us a deeper relationship with Himself at least. For this reason we should not fear making personal sacrifices for God.

click here to select another lesson