Series: In the Beginning
Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14
Central Theme: Faithful Obedience
Objective Statement: We can faithfully obey God when we see four words that describe Abraham’s experience with God in Genesis 22.
- Is anyone here prone to break the rules?
- We all have something in us that makes us want to disobey when someone tells us to do something.
- If the speed limit is 40, what will most of us drive?
- If the sign says don't touch, what do we do?
- If the person says "don't walk on the grass, why do we have the sudden rush of hatred for the sidewalk?
- Now truly there are other times where we should disobey and we do not.
- One right authority tells us one thing that goes against a wrong authority and we just go along to get along.
- There is a time for civil disobedience.
- The truth is there are certain kinds of obedience that are more difficult than others.
- We learn from Hebrews 11 that without faith it is impossible to please God.
- We also know that our faith is best demonstrated by our actions.
- We are justified by our faith.
- Our faith is justified by our works.
- There are times that God asks us to do things that are incredibly difficult. It can be tough to obey.
- We must learn to grow in our faith and our obedience of God.
- It's when we obey in difficulty that we demonstrate our faith in God and see Him do incredible things.
- We see that kind of circumstance and faith displayed in the life of Abraham in Genesis 22.
We can faithfully obey God when we see four words that describe Abraham’s experience with God in Genesis 22.
(1) And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
- "God did tempt Abraham"
- The word for temp is "nasah" which means to test of prove.
- This wasn't God trying to get Abraham to do evil. This was a moment of proving.
- "Behold, here I am"
- This was a basic answer that Abraham had with God.
- He had responded in faith. God had counted it to him for righteousness.
- He didn't do everything right, but he was obedient and available.
- What was the test?
(2) And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,
- The Subject - His Son
- Thy Son- God acknowledged taht this was the son of promise. He had given Isaac to him. He was the promised son. He dwelt in a promised land.
- Thy only son- God was acknowledging that all fo the promises that had been made for the future were to happen through this son. "Father of many nations".
- In just the chapter before we read that God had answered this promise.
(1) And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. (2) For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
(3) And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. (4) And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.(5) And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
- God called him by name in verse 2. "...Isaac"- "Laughter"-
- Whom thou lovest? Did they love Isaac? You bet they did!
(6) And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
(7) And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.
- This Genesis 21 passage is an incredible passage for a few reasons.
- God's promise fulfilled.
- The promise was made, and in this verse we see the promise being kept. God visits Sarah as he said and made it so that she could conceive. She conceived, carried, and bore a son to Abraham!
- Their old age.
- Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. This is a miracle. God did something incredible. Is anything impossible for the Lord. Certainly not!
- The child's name.
- Isaac's name means laughter. Sarah had laughed at God's promise in unbelief. Now she was laughing for joy that she had a child. She believed that others will laugh in joy for what God had done for her. How ridiculous was it that someone her age would have and nurse a child? God did the "impossible".
- The fact that God fulfilled His promise when He did grew their faith, brought them joy, and serves as an example to us.
- We can see that God always keeps His promises in the example of Abraham and Sarah, and that helps us to trust God when we don't understand what is going on in our own lives.
- But now God was asking him to take this only son and do something with them.
- The Destination- Moriah
and get thee into the land of Moriah;
- "Moriah"- This was the land with the mountain where Abraham was told to go.
- "About a thousand years later at this very location, King David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusiteand built an altar to the Lord so that a “plague may be held back from the people” (2 Samuel 24:18, 21).
- After David’s death, his son King Solomon built a glorious temple on the same site. Solomon’s temple lasted for over four hundred years until it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies in 587/586 B.C.
- Seventy years later the temple was rebuilt on the same site by the Jews who returned to Jerusalem following their Babylon captivity.
- Around the first century, King Herod made a significant addition to this structure, which then became known as Herod’s Temple. It was this temple that Jesus cleansed (John 2:15).
- However, in A.D. 70, the Roman armies led by Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, once again destroyed the temple.
- All that remains of the Temple Mount of that era is a portion of a retaining wall known as the “Western Wall” or the “Wailing Wall.” It has been a destination for pilgrims and a site of prayer for Jews for many centuries.
- The God who first called Abraham to Mount Moriah still has plans for that place. The Bible indicates that a third temple will be built on or near the site of Solomon’s temple (Daniel 9:27).
- This would seem to present a problem given the political obstacles that stand in the way: the religious activities on the Temple Mount are currently controlled by the Supreme Muslim Council (the Waqf). Yet nothing can put a wrinkle in God’s sovereign plans.
- Thus, Muslim control of this area simply fulfills the prophecy of Luke 21:24that “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
- The Sacrifice- "a burnt offering"
..."and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."
- What a monumental and incredible request!
- Take what is among the most precious to you and offer it to me.
- A burnt offering consisted of:
- A sacrifice- An animal, usually livestock of some kind who is killed and its blood shed.
- An altar- Made of stones as a place to lay the animal.
- Wood- to burn as kindling to also burn the sacrifice.
- Fire- To burn the offering completely.
- In this scenario God was asking for Isaac to be in the place of the animal to be slain.
- You may have heard this story before, but put someone you love in the place of Isaac in that verse.
- Talk about tough.
- The testing of this sort really asked this kind of question:
- Are my gifts and my promises more important to you than I am?
- A similar question could be asked of us. Do we love God? Do we love Jesus? Or are we in love with what Jesus and God gives us?
(3) And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
(4) Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
- The preparation was immediate and exact.
- He got up early.
- We don't have an argument described here.
- We don't have a bunch of questions.
- It took them three days to get to the place where he went.
- He was looking for where God was sending him. Then he saw it, and knew where God was sending him.
(5) And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
- Notice what he said to the young men.
- We will go yonder and worship and come again to you.
- Abraham made this statement in faith believing that God would not go back on his promise.
- How confident was he? We do not know his demeanor exactly.
- It was a difficult task, and I'm sure Abraham didn't know for sure exactly what would happen.
- Hebrews does talk about his faith though.
(17) By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
(18) Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
(19) Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Isaac as a figure of Christ
|Promised Son of Abraham||Promised Son of God|
|Miraculously born of an old women||Miraculously born of a virgin woman|
|Brought joy to Abraham his father||Brough joy to God his father|
|Born at a set time||Born at a set time|
|Persecuted by his brother||Persecuted by his brothers|
|Bore the firewood||Bore a wooden cross|
|Questioned his father about the sacrifice||Question his father during his sacrifice|
|Obedient to his father unto death||Obedient to his father unto death|
|Figuratively raised from the dead||Literally rose from the dead|
- This kind of faith is evidenced throughout the rest of the story.
(6) And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
(7) And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
(8) And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
- Paul talked about Abraham's faith in Romans 4, are memory verse text for the week.
(16) Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(17) (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
(18) Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
(19) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
(20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
(21) And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
- Abraham's faith was what God responded to when God imputed righteousness to his account.
- Yet Abraham's faith was what fueled his obedience.
(9) And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
- In the final stages of the drama, Abraham prepares the sacrificial mound.
- He builds the altar, lays the wood, binds the sacrifice, and places him on the altar
- At some point there must have been a willingness of Isaac based on the trust he had in his father and God (factoring in his age/ability).
(10) And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
- Abraham demonstrates that his faith is not in Isaac (the one could physically fulfill the promises of God) but in God himself (who promised in the first place)
(11) And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
- It's the same response as in verse 1
(12) And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
- For now I know...- Abraham's works justify his faith.
- James 2:21 tells us this:
(20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
(21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
(22) Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
(23) And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
- He listened to God.
- He obeyed God.
- He depended on God.
- Now God comes through:
(13) And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
- Here the idea of substitutionary atonement is introduced
- This idea is fulfilled in Jesus Christ
- God provides what is necessary to placate His own wrath and take away the debt of sin.
"A ram is caught by its horns"
- God himself provides the substitute for Isaac, but not a "lamb" which Abraham suggested
- In Scripture, there are only two places where the words "ram” and" burnt offering" appear together. These are:
- (1) the ordination of the priests (Lev. 8–9, esp. Gen_9:2-4)
- and the Day of Atonement (Lev_16:1, esp. Lev_16:1, Lev_16:3)
- Thus, the ram is associated with priesthood and atonement· Who is our priest who can atone for our sin? Jesus
(14) And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen
- Abraham names the place "Jehovah-jireh" which means "the Lord sees to it / provides.