< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: God tells Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac

Friday, September 12, 2014

God tells Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac

Genesis 22:1-19 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

Genesis 22 has been called a love chapter. And it’s about the great love Abraham has for God. His deep love is shown in an act that is both obedient and costly. Genesis 22 is also a faith chapter. Abraham’s love is based on perfect faith. On one hand Abraham believed God had told him to do this. At the same time, Abraham believed that behind all of God’s commands, God completely loved Abraham and his son Isaac. Therefore Abraham’s faith in God recognized that God’s command was based upon that love even though Abraham may not have seen God’s reason for the command at that time. And even though it would seem to Abraham that this sacrifice would negate all God’s former promises concerning his seed, Abraham believed God would be faithful to that promise even if it meant raising Isaac from the dead.

Hebrews 11:17-19 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

One commentator wrote that Abraham went through this with hope in God. And likened it to the verse in the Bible about Jesus enduring the cross “because of the hope of joy set before Him.” His hope was also seen in his words to Isaac, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Isaac has also been likened to Christ in that he submitted to, in his case, possible death from his father. And Abraham’s love of God must be proved to have first place in his heart. Abraham needed to know he loved God more then anyone!

I doubt God will ever ask any of us to do this to our child! But are we willing to let our son or daughter go off into the mission field? Are we willing to put God first and our pride aside and share our testimony with people? What obedient (and possibly costly) act is God calling you to do?

Abraham didn’t hesitate. When God called, he said “here I am.” And he left “early the next morning” totally prepared to carry the task out with wood, his son, a knife, etc.

God chose the place for the sacrifice – Mount Mariah. It is thought this is where Solomon’s temple was later built.

When Abraham raised his hand with the knife in it – the sacrifice was complete. God knew Abraham would go through with it. Abraham’s love for God and his obedience to Him was clear. And of course God stopped it there. He would never allow one human to sacrifice another to “appease an angry God.”

The Angel of the Lord called out from heaven “Abraham, Abraham!” And remember “the angel of the Lord” is Jesus.

Verse 12 again 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Abraham was victorious. He won all the way around. He did everything right!

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