We’re going to head back to Genesis Chapter 22 where we left off around a week ago. If you recall in Genesis Chapter 21 the promise came to pass and Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac when Abraham was 100 years old! Sarah didn’t like the way Hagar’s son Ishamel was looking at Isaac and she got jealous and sent them away. Hagar was crying out to God in the wilderness afraid that Ishamel would die, but God provided water and spoke to Hagar and told her not to fear. He would also make Ishamel a great nation.
Chapter 22 Vs 1 – 19: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” The He said, “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.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said “Here I am, my son.” Then he said “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, 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.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” So, Abraham returned to his young men, and the rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
Lessons from Today’s Scripture:
- God tested Abraham, not to trip him up and watch him fall, but to deepen his capacity to obey God and thus to develop his character. Just as fire refines ore to extract precious metals, God refines us through difficult circumstances. When we are tested, we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our character.** I know a lot of people who are obedient and strong in Faith and they have been through the fire! If you think about your journey with the Lord, when did you draw closest to Him? Most often it’s in those darkest days that we grow in our Faith.
- That morning Abraham began one of the greatest acts of obedience in recorded history. He traveled 50 miles to Mount Moriah near the site of Jerusalem. Over the years he had learned many tough lessons about the importance of obeying God. This time his obedience was prompt and complete. Obeying God is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something we truly want. We should not expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally.** Often I see people wanting to get closer to the Lord, but they won’t delete the phone number of the person who keeps dragging them back into sin.
- I heard a preacher say once that whenever he had a problem he pictured laying it on the altar, like Abraham did Isaac, and giving it to God. That mental picture of laying our problems before God often frees us from worry and helps us learn to trust Him.
- It is difficult to give up what we deeply love. Yet when we do give to God what he asks, he returns to us far more than we could dream. The spiritual benefits of his blessings far outweigh our sacrifices. have you withheld your love, your children or your time from him?**
- Did you notice the parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac and Christ offered as a substitute for us? God will provide “Himself” a sacrifice is a foreshadowing of Jesus being offered for our sins. When I read that Isaac carried the wood up the mountain, I also felt that may be a foreshadowing of Jesus carrying the cross up the hill. God did not spare his own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross. If Jesus had lived, the rest of humankind would have died. God sent His only Son to die for us so that we could be spared from the eternal death we deserve and instead receive eternal life.** (John 3:16)
- Abraham received abundant blessings because he obeyed God. God promised to give Abraham’s descendants the ability to conquer their enemies. In addition, God promised Abraham children and grandchildren who would in turn bless the whole earth. People’s lives would be changed as a result of knowing of the faith of Abraham and his descendants. We often think of blessings as gifts that we will enjoy. But when God blesses us, his blessings may also overflow to others – today and into eternity.**
Are you carrying a burden? Picture yourself laying it the altar and leaving it there. God will provide, trust Him.
**taken from the Life Application Study Bible