Genesis 22 -- 24
After 25 years of waiting for the promised son, God said to Abraham: Sarah your wife shall bear you a son . . . call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him (Genesis 17:19). Abraham had said a reluctant, sad farewell to Ishmael, who was now being regarded as dead since he and Hagar now dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of . . . Egypt (21:21).
It was after these things . . . God . . . said to him. . . . Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering (22:1-2).
Isaac was a young man when this supreme and final test came to Abraham's faith. A burnt offering sacrifice was always to be a male, was the best the offerer had, and was to be wholly consumed by fire. It was the offerer's expression of dedicating himself to God above all else that he loved. Abraham knew that Isaac must live since God had said, I will establish My covenant with him; yet, now the command of God was to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to the Maker of that covenant. This was a heart-searching experience for Abraham. But Abraham's faith in God triumphed over his fears, and even over his own great love for his son Isaac. Abraham didn't put off the journey, or wait to talk it over with his wife, or even with Isaac. Obediently, Abraham rose up early in the morning . . . took . . . Isaac his son . . . and went to the place of which God had told him (22:3). With, unquestioned faith in God, Abraham said to his young men, Abide here . . . I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you (22:5). God had miraculously given Isaac to Abraham. Would God miraculously restore Isaac to life to fulfill His covenant?
Having arrived at the top of Mount Moriah, Abraham built an altar. When Isaac inquired how they could offer a sacrifice without a sacrificial animal, Abraham responded: My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering (22:8). Abraham's many years of trusting in the Lord gave him faith in God, who had said: Take now your only son . . . and offer him as a burnt offering. This is an amazing testimony of how Abraham's faith had grown over the years until he knew that God never makes a mistake and believed God was able to raise him up, even from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).
Through trials and suffering, the Lord develops our faith. Our difficulties are meant to strengthen our faith in God, the All-Sufficient One.
Abraham . . . took the knife to slay his son. And the Angel of the Lord . . . said, Abraham . . . Lay not your hand upon the lad . . . for now I know that you fear God. . . . Abraham lifted up his eyes . . . 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 instead of his son (Genesis 22:10-13).
Our faith is strengthened through stressful situations and can often be very painful. Many give in to unbelief and human reasoning rather than waiting upon God who never fails the faithful and who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it (I Corinthians 10:13).
22:1 tempt = test, prove; 22:3 clave = split; 22:12 fearest = reverence, unconditionally surrender to; 22:14 Jehovah-jireh = the Lord will provide; 23:17 were made sure = were deeded to; 24:60 seed possess the gate = descendants to overcome.
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