Genesis Chapter 22

Abraham and Sarah were blessed by the Lord to have a son in their old age. This son was called Isaac, and through him, the seed of Abraham was to be greatly blessed.

Faith is a Sunrise

The book of Genesis continues:

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.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

God gave Abraham another test of his faith. At this point, Abraham has been the victim of an attempted sacrifice, had his wife taken twice by men seeking to be with her, and also led from one place to another, among many other things. He had lived through several significant trials, and yet I think that this would be the most difficult for him. Verse 1 says the word “tempt”, but the footnote explains that the hebrew meaning of the word used is more accurately test or prove. This seems more fitting, considering God is not a tempter, but He does test us and try our faith. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his precious son Isaac. This was a commandment that went again the commandments already established. However, God is the creator of our commandments and therefore when He commands, the faithful will follow Him, no matter what was previously established. This alone was a test of Abraham’s faith, let alone it being the sacrifice of his beloved son. This act, although we learn it was not to be fulfilled, was done in similitude of the sacrifice of the Beloved Son, of God the Father, even Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of the Savior would not be for a long time, but this example was there as a reminder of what would come eventually.

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.
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.
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.
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.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
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.
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.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.

Abraham did as he was commanded, and Isaac, who trusted and loved his father and the Lord, submitted himself to the will of God. Isaac carried the wood that he would be laid upon up into the mountain, in the same way that Christ carried the cross he was to be placed upon to Golgotha. Isaac was bound to the altar like Christ was nailed to the cross. Isaac was to be a type of the sacrifice of Christ, just as all the perfect lambs which were regularly sacrificed during this type of worship. I cannot even begin to imagine the hardship that this must have been, and yet Abraham and Isaac suffered it well. This showed also, the trust that Isaac already had in God, to be a willing sacrifice at his father’s hand. As a mother, this story touches me very deeply and causes me to reflect a lot on the intensity of the Sacrifice that God made for us to allow His Son to die for us, as well as the perfect obedience and love of the Savior, to be willing to allow himself to be sacrificed for us. Because of his faithful loyalty and obedience, Abraham was shown another way to make his sacrifice and Isaac was saved by the appearance of an angel of the Lord. I am sure that for Abraham this would have been an amazing moment of pure gratitude to the Lord, in sparing his son. Great blessings were still to come to both Abraham and Isaac for their righteousness through this.

This test was more than just a test of obedience for Abraham. Abraham had been promised that his seed would be multiplied through Isaac. This was a test of Abraham’s faith in the promised blessings, because something would have to be done by the Lord to allow Isaac to be the link to Abraham’s innumerable seed. In Hebrews 11 we read the following:

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.

When I think of this, I think of the blessings that I have been promised in my own life. I know that the Lord will make the fulfillment of the blessings a reality if I am faithful as Abraham was. I know that I will have my own difficult trials to go through and some may seem to me too hard to bear, but I know that if I endure them with complete faith, the blessings will come.

15 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.

Abraham was promised again, that his seed would be as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore. We can share in these promised blessings given to Abraham, if we can live a faithful and obedient life through our own trials and difficulties.

20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;
21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Here we learn that Rebekah was born of Bethuel. Rebekah would eventually become the wife of Isaac, and the mother of many nations as well, as a part of the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise.

I am very grateful for the example this experience for Abraham and Isaac is to me in my life. I know I will probably not have to go through something just like this, but I will be expected to make sacrifices as I have already had to do. I find strength in seeing that the promises of God are fulfilled time and time again. I hope that I can live to be a faithful and obedient daughter of God when the tests of my faith are placed in my path.

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