SOAP January 7, 2015, Genesis 22: Abraham’s Faith Tested
1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2Then 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.”
3Early 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. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He 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.”
6Abraham 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
7Isaac 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?”
8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9When 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. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But 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.”
13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a rama caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So 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.”
15The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I 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, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
God had promised descendants through Isaac to Abraham. Then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This was truly a test of Abraham’s faith. How could God fulfill His promise of descendants through Isaac if Isaac was dead? Abraham again believed God. He believed that if God had to bring Isaac back from the dead to fulfill His promise He could and would. Abraham trusted God’s character and God’s promise. Abraham believed that God is good and God is faithful. Throughout Scripture God makes it clear that child sacrifice is abhorrent to Him. (Leviticus 18:21;20:1-5; Deuteronomy 18:10; 2 Kings 16:2,3; Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 32:35). God provided the ram in the thicket. Our God is Yahweh-Yireh, “the Lord, the God who provides” God knew the end from the beginning. He never intended for Isaac to be sacrificed but He tested Abrahams faith and trust and devotion.
This is a pattern of God’s sacrifice of His Son, His only beloved Son—Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 13:8) The pattern was made fuller in the Passover (Exodus 29:38-42)
The account today shows Abraham’s faith and devotion to God where Abraham was willing to trust God and to give up his hopes and dreams that were rooted in his long awaited son. Am I willing to lay on the altar what is most precious to me? How much faith do I genuinely have? How much do I trust God?
Increase my faith and help me to trust in You. I know that my faith does not rise to the level of Abraham’s. I too often am disappointed at hopes and dreams that have not come true. Help me to see with eternal eyes and to trust Your plan for me. I love you.