Sunday, February 24, 2008

Abraham and Isaac

God Tests Abraham

Genesis 22

1After these things God tested Abraham’s faith. God said to him, “Abraham!”

And he answered, “Here I am.”

2Then God said, “Take your only son, Isaac, the son you love, and go to the
land of Moriah. Kill him there and offer him as a whole burnt offering on one of
the mountains I will tell you about.”

3Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took Isaac
and two servants with him. After he cut the wood for the sacrifice, they went to
the place God had told them to go. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw
the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. My
son and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”

6Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and gave it to his son to carry, but
he himself took the knife and the fire. So he and his son went on together.

7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”

Abraham answered, “Yes, my son.”

Isaac said, “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb we will
burn as a sacrifice?”

8Abraham answered, “God will give us the lamb for the sacrifice, my son.”

So Abraham and his son went on together 9and came to the place God had
told him about. Abraham built an altar there. He laid the wood on it and then tied
up his son Isaac and laid him on the wood on the altar. 10Then Abraham took his
knife and was about to kill his son.

11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham!

Abraham answered, “Yes.”

12The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see
that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.”

13Then Abraham looked up and saw a male sheep caught in a bush by its
horns. So Abraham went and took the sheep and killed it. He offered it as a
whole burnt offering to God, and his son was saved. 14So Abraham named that
place The LORD Provides. Even today people say, “On the mountain of the
LORD it will be provided.”

15The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and
said, “The LORD says, ‘Because you did not keep back your son, your only son,
from me, I make you this promise by my own name: 17I will surely bless you and
give you many descendants. They will be as many as the stars in the sky and the
sand on the seashore, and they will capture the cities of their enemies. 18Through
your descendants all the nations on the earth will be blessed, because you obeyed

19Then Abraham returned to his servants. They all traveled back to
Beersheba, and Abraham stayed there.

20After these things happened, someone told Abraham: “Your brother Nahor
and his wife Milcah have children now. 21The first son is Uz, and the second is
Buz. The third son is Kemuel (the father of Aram). 22Then there are Kesed, Hazo,
Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah
was the mother of these eight sons, and Nahor, Abraham’s brother, was the
father. 24Also Nahor had four other sons by his slave woman Reumah. Their
names were Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


The Offering of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19)- This chapter is a treasure of spiritual wealth, and awesome in many ways. We can never reach its height or depth, nor exhaust its spiritual significance. Gradually we see beneath the surface, and slowly begin to discern the purpose of God in this unique picture of Jesus Christ, our substitute. When Abraham and Isaac left the land of Moriah, after seeing God provide a ram to take the place of Isaac, they knew that "the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33:27). How can anyone read of this amazing event and not stand in awe of Jehovah-Jireh. "And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide" (v. 14). And God did provide a ram to take the place of Isaac, because Abraham believed God and obeyed Him without asking, "Why, Lord?"

Verse 1 tells us that "God tested Abraham." God did not tempt him toward evil in the sense of luring him to fall, because "God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone" (James 1 :13). Rather, He tested Abraham to show the quality of this man who was His friend. In this chapter God put Abraham's faith to the supreme test. He said to Abraham, "Take now 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 of which I shall tell you" (v. 2). The mountain in the land of Moriah, where Abraham built the altar to sacrifice Isaac, is believed to be the plateau on which Solomon built the temple. Some believe that the Most Holy Place stood over the exact spot where Abraham built his altar. This chapter is also rich in typology; in it we have Abraham as a twofold type, Isaac as a twofold type, and the ram as a single type.

Abraham is a type of:

(1) All who are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). Abraham lived by faith (Gal. 3:11), and his faith was "accounted ... to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6; d. Gal. 3:6, 7). God tested Abraham's faith in four

personal crises. In each crisis God called on him to surrender by faith something or someone whom he loved. If faith is to grow to greatness, it always requires sacrifice.

(a) The first crisis. God called on Abraham to leave his country and relatives and to go by faith, "not knowing where he was going" (Heb. 11 :8; d. Gen. 12:1).

(b) The second crisis. God called on him to separate himself from Lot, his brother's son. Abraham had no other heir but Lot. Then, "after Lot had separated from him," God promised him the land, and "your descendants as the dust of the earth" (Gen. 13:1-18) .

(c) The third crisis. God called on him to abandon all plans for his firstborn son Ishmael. Abraham

pleaded with God to make Ishmael his heir: "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" (Gen. 17:18, 19).

(d) The fourth crisis. In his greatest crisis of faith, Abraham was commanded by God to offer up Isaac, his God-appointed heir, as a burnt offering (Heb. 11 :17-19). Abraham's faith stood the test, and God gave him the victory. Anyone who lives by faith will be tested many times, because it is only through discipline Christian character is developed.

(2) God the Father (John 3:16). Abraham was told, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love... and offer him there as a burnt offering" (v. 2). This type was fulfilled when God the Father gave His only Son to become our sin offering. "For He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin .In for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

Isaac is a type of:

(1) The Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, who came into the world to do the will of His Father . Just as Isaac obeyed his father, and was willing to become a burnt offering, so the Lord Jesus obeyed His and "humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8).

(2) The whole human race, which is born in sin (Ps. 51 :5; Rom. 3:23-25). Isaac needed a substitute to his place on the altar of sacrifice, and God provided a ram. The ram is a type of Christ, who became our substitute. This type was fulfilled in Christ almost two thousand years later, when He freed us from sin's penalty and power (Rom. 8:1-3).

Jehovah-Jireh: The LORD Will Provide (Genesis 22:14)-God promised Abraham that from him He would make a great nation; and He ordered Abraham to leave his homeland, the ancient moon-god city of Ur (Gen. 12:1,2). Abraham was 75 and Sarah 65 at this time, already old for moving and pioneering. Yet by faith they obeyed God, packed up, and struck out for faraway Canaan.

Twenty-four years later, when Abraham was 99 and Sarah 89, God promised that they would soon have a son named Isaac, who would be Abraham's covenant heir (Gen. 17:19). Months later, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90, by a miracle of Almighty God, Sarah gave birth to Isaac (Gen. 21 :1-7).

Then the great test came some years later. God commanded Abraham to take the young Isaac (his only child by Sarah, his heir, his sole hope of the future fulfillment of God's promise that Abraham would be a father of many nations) and offer him as a burnt offering on Mt. Moriah, later the site of Jerusalem (Gen. 22:2). In trust and innocence Isaac asked his father, "But where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham's classic reply of faith and compassion was simply, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering" (Gen. 22:7,8).

One of the most moving moments in Bible history occurred when God's call stopped Abraham's hand from slaying his son, and a ram for the sacrifice was seen caught by his horns in a nearby thicket. Abraham called that place Jehovah-Jireh, "The-Lord-Will-Provide" (Gen. 22:9-14).

Note that:

(1) Abraham trusted God. He considered "that God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead" (Heb. 11 :19). He believed that God, who had miraculously brought Isaac into the world, would raise him from the dead, even if the boy were sacrificed.

(2) God did not fail Abraham. He restrained Abraham's hand and provided a ram instead.

(3) Isaac, as a type, or illustration, of the submissive Christ, went to this same Moriah-the site of the temple and near to Calvary-in obedience to the Father's will.

(4) Christ was the true Lamb of God provided by Jehovah (John 1 :29, 36; Rev. 5:6; 6:1). In this instance the Father did not stop the sacrifice at Calvary, but in His love for us and desire for our salvation, He allowed His only Son's life to be taken. Christ's coming and His atoning death were the fulfillment of the name Jehovah-Jireh (John 3:14-18).

(5) Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad" (John 8:56). Jesus was referring to the day that Abraham offered Isaac and saw, in a typical way, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1 :29; 1 Pet. 1 :18, 19).

This great episode should teach us to trust God daily for His provision in every test of life. God is. Jehovah-Jireh, "The-Lord-Will-Provide."

(From Porter Barrington's Master Outlines and Study Notes)

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