Beginnings Series – Genesis 22:1-14
Intro: Could you do that?
Imagine being one of those couples who have been married for quite some time, you tried everything medically possible to have your own child, and just when you threw in the towel and gave up on the possibility of having a baby you find out your pregnant. You spread the good news on Facebook and Twitter and all the other current communication networks; you decorate the baby room as soon as you find out what gender you’re having. All the travail that goes with the 9 month period as played out. The baby is born and it is a boy and it is the only boy in the entire family to carry on the family name. You love this child; you had the babies footprint put in the first page of the child’s journal. With every exciting moment you took another picture or video and of course you had to let everyone see it. So things couldn’t get any better, but suddenly out of the blue God wants you to give Him back. God wants your special child and He wants you to trust Him with His decision. “COULD YOU DO THAT?” Could you trust God this much? Abraham did! This would probably be one of the biggest tests of your life! We just learned in the Book of James that life is a test! Question still remains “COULD YOU DO THAT?
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” Hebrews 11:17-19
Text: Genesis 22:1-14
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided."
Application: Abraham responded to God with “Here am I,” can you do that?
This is a strange and shocking passage of Scripture. Why would God tell Abraham to sacrifice his own son as an offering to God? When God stopped Abraham in mid-air from sacrificing Isaac, God demonstrated and showed man forever that human sacrifice is wrong. God's concern is the spiritual sacrifice of man's body, not a human sacrifice. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" Romans 12:1
God wanted to show forever picture the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, the sacrifice of God’s very own son for the sins of the world. There are many similarities between the offering of Abraham's son, Isaac, and the offering of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly this is a test and God still expects the believer today to show a fear and proper reverence for true worship. You can love God so much that you will sacrifice anything for Him, this is an absolute surrender.
1. Abraham’s Sorrow. Vs. 1-8
God gives Abraham a Command!
1. The order: God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering.
2. The obedience: Alon with Isaac and two servants. Abraham heads out for the land of Moriah.
3. The ordeal: Isaac’s question: “Father? … Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham’s answer: “God will provide a lamb, my son.”
When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham knew exactly what God was saying to him. He was to make the supreme sacrifice, prove that he loved the only true and living God above all else. Abraham knew that God was after the absolute surrender of his heart, his will, his spirit. God knew Abraham's heart. God knows all things. But Abraham needed to know his own heart, and all future believers needed a picture of what absolute surrender to God means, a testimony that man can love God supremely. Man can make an absolute surrender and sacrifice of himself to God (all he is and has), and God can take care of him, no matter what may confront him. The testing of Abraham took place in order to show and teach several things to both Abraham and succeeding generations. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37
God wants people to sacrifice their lives—their hearts, spirits, and bodies—to Him. He wants people to surrender themselves—totally and absolutely, but He wants them living, not dead. God accepts a living sacrifice, not a dead one.
2. Isaac’s Submission. Vs. 9-10
Abraham and Isaac had a tender walk together up to the top of the mountain. Abraham was bound to be hurting, his heart suffering a piercing pain as though a knife had been thrust into his soul. He would have been preoccupied, in deep, intense thought. As they walked along together, drawing closer and closer to the place of sacrifice, Isaac would have sensed that something was bearing ever so heavily upon his father. Isaac asked where they were going to get a lamb for the sacrifice. Abraham again showed his great trust in God by simply saying that God Himself would provide the lamb for the offering. Abraham knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead if need be. But Abraham also knew that God could stop him and provide a lamb if He so willed. These two beliefs were flooding Abraham's mind. He had no idea what God was going to do, but he trusted God. He knew that God had promised to send nations of people through Isaac and to save the world through his descendent, the coming Savior of the world.
He allows Abraham to bind him on the altar. True faith is always tested. Of course, God did not want Isaac’s life; He wanted Abraham’s heart. Isaac was dear to Abraham, and God wanted to be sure that Isaac was not an idol standing between Him and Abraham. It was possible that Abraham was trusting Isaac to fulfill the promises and not trusting God. How did Abraham go through this test? For one thing, he rested on God’s promises. God had promised Abraham many descendants, and this promise could not be fulfilled unless Isaac lived or God raised him from the dead. Abraham knew that God would not lie, so he rested in His unchanging Word. “Never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light.” Abraham obeyed without delay. If we do the one thing God tells us to do, He will reveal the next step when the right time comes. God’s answers never arrive a minute too late! God supplied a ram just when one was needed. This is why Abraham called the name of the place “Jehovah-Jireh—the Lord will see to it!”
Any person who hears God's call to absolute surrender to sacrifice his life totally to God must know what he is doing. He must think through God's call, just what it means to totally sacrifice his life to God; what it means to give up his life, to make an absolute surrender to God. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" Romans 12:1
3. God’s Substitute. Vs. 11-14
Abraham knew that God's Word, His promise was true: his son would live and give rise to nations of people and to the promised seed, the Savior of the world. Therefore, God would raise Isaac from the dead, if need be, to fulfill His promise. Abraham's trust in God had grown so much that he actually believed that God would resurrect Isaac. He was learning really learning what total surrender meant. Abraham was casting himself completely upon God. Abraham is commanded to offer up a nearby ram instead of Isaac. This event is a wonderful type of Christ, the only Son who was willing to give His life to please His Father. Both Isaac and Christ were promised sons; both were born miraculously (of course, Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and was sinless); both brought joy to the heart of the father; both were born at the set time. Both were persecuted by their brethren and both were obedient unto death. Christ was crucified between two thieves, and the two young men went with Isaac.
Abraham made final preparations, he built an altar and laid the wood on the altar, and then the fatal, final moment came to bind and offer the sacrifice. Would Abraham do it? Did Abraham love God enough to obey His Word, to make the supreme sacrifice to God? To offer his own son as a sacrifice to God? "[Abraham] bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son."
Abraham was asked to sacrifice his own son for God; God has sacrificed His only Son for man: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32 John 3:16
Isaac was apparently willing to obey God and be sacrificed, for there is no evidence of a struggle. Isaac was obedient to death even as Christ was obedient to death. The ram was provided as a substitute for Isaac; the lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was provided as a substitute for all mankind. Isaac carried the wood upon which he was to be laid as a sacrifice; Christ carried the cross upon which He was to be hung as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice upon Mt. Moriah, the very mountain upon which Jerusalem was built; God offered up Christ on Calvary, right outside Jerusalem, upon the very same mountain ridge or range where Isaac was offered. This tells us why God had Abraham travel three days to offer Isaac on Mt. Moriah. The offering of Isaac was planned by God to be a type of God's offering of Christ. Abraham called Mt. Moriah Jehovah-Jireh, "the Lord will provide." God provided a substitutionary sacrifice for Abraham; God has provided a substitutionary sacrifice for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Could you do that?”
Have you offered up your life as a sacrifice to God? Have you made the absolute surrender of your life to God? Have I? Do we love God more than anything? Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves totally for God and His cause? Are we willing to sacrifice everything for God—to actually give God everything—our lives and our possessions? Again, are we willing to sacrifice everything for God—all our possessions—in order to take the gospel of God's Son to the uttermost part of the earth? Are we willing to obey God totally, no matter the cost? "If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" Luke 14:26-27
In the “School of Faith” we must have occasional tests, or we will never know where we are spiritually. Abraham had his share of tests. His first was the family test, (left his loved ones), next was his famine test, (which he failed by going to Egypt for help and doubting God). His next test was the fellowship test, (he gave Lot first choice of land). Another one was his fight test, (he defeated the Kings). The fortune test was won when he said (no to Sodom’s wealth), but he did fail the fatherhood test, (when Sarah got impatient with God). When it came time to send Ishmael away Abraham passed the farewell test.
All believers face similar temptations to sin, but not all believers experience the same trials of faith. God’s testing’s tailor-made for each child of God, and each experience is unique. God never asked Lot to face the tests that Abraham faced. Why? Because Lot was being tempted by the world and the flesh and never grew to the place of maturity that Abraham reached. In one sense, it is a compliment when God sends us a test; it shows God wants to “promote us” in the “School of Faith.” God never sends a test until He knows you are ready for it. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
In the reality of that question in the title of my sermon; “COULD YOU THAT?” Not only can you do that, you are supposed to do that!
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4
Illustration: When it comes to problems with a human body, with an x-ray a doctor can quickly pinpoint a potential problem. In this text today God examined Abraham’s heart! What do you think He would find if He x-rayed your heart?
In : Sermon
Tags: "book of genesis" "new beginnings series"
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