God Commands
to Offer Isaac

Genesis 22:1-18

Good News Translation (GNT)

1  Some time later God tested Abraham;
   he called to him, "Abraham!"
   And Abraham answered, "Yes, here I am!"
2  "Take your son," God said,
  "your only son, Isaac, whom you love
   so much, and go to the land of Moriah.
   There on a mountain that I will show you,
   offer him as a sacrifice to me."
3  Early the next morning Abraham
   cut some wood for the sacrifice,
   loaded his donkey, and took Isaac
   and two servants with him.
   They started out for the place
   that God had told him about.
4  On the third day Abraham saw
   the place in the distance.
5  Then he said to the servants,
  "Stay here with the donkey.
   The boy and I will go over there and worship,
   and then we will come back to you."
6  Abraham made Isaac carry the wood
   for the sacrifice, and he himself carried
   a knife and live coals for starting the fire.
   As they walked along together,
7  Isaac spoke up, "Father!"
   He answered, "Yes, my son?"
   Isaac asked, "I see that you have the coals
   and the wood, but where is the lamb
   for the sacrifice?"
8  Abraham answered,
  "God himself will provide one."
   And the two of them walked on together.
9  When they came to the place which
   God had told him about, Abraham built
   an altar and arranged the wood on it.
   He tied up his son and placed him
   on the altar, on top of the wood.
10  Then he picked up the knife to kill him.
11  But the angel of the Lord called to him
   from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!"
   He answered, "Yes, here I am."
12  "Don't hurt the boy
   or do anything to him," he said.
  "Now I know that you honour and obey God,
   because you have not kept back your
   only son from him."
13  Abraham looked around and saw a ram
   caught in a bush by its horns.
   He went and got it and offered it
   as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14  Abraham named that place
  "The Lord Provides."(a)
   And even today people say,
  "On the Lord's mountain he provides."(b)
15  The angel of the Lord called to Abraham
   from heaven a second time
16  "I make a vow by my own name-
   the Lord is speaking-
   that I will richly bless you.
   Because you did this and did not
   keep back your only son from me,
17  I promise that I will give you
   as many descendants as there are stars in the sky
   or grains of sand along the seashore.
   Your descendants will conquer their enemies.
18  All the nations will ask me to
   bless them as I have blessed your descendants-
   all because you obeyed my command."

   Genesis 22:14 Provides;
      or Sees.

   Genesis 22:14 provides;
      or is seen

 Taken from the
 supplied by
 Scripture Union

Genesis 22:1-18

 God Commands Abraham to Offer Isaac

Time has passed, in which Abraham and Sarah
lovingly watch little Isaac grow,
reminded daily of how God fulfilled
his incredible promise.

Now comes the bombshell.
Abraham gets a call from God to make another
journey to offer the miracle child
as a sacrifice.
Having just given Abraham an extraordinary promise
of numberless offspring (Genesis 15:1-6),
God confounds all of his expectations
by asking him to sacrifice his son.

Thoughtful people struggle with
the ethics of the story.
If Abraham is good,
how can he set out intending to kill
his innocent son?

If God is good,
how can he make such an immoral demand?
The story seems to set a dangerous precedent.

A clue to this problem is the description,
of Abraham as a prophet (Genesis 20:7).

In the Hebrew scriptures the Lord's prophets
are asked to do shocking and personally
very painful things as dramatic signs
for a wider audience.

Hosea had to marry a prostitute
and through the experience communicate
God's faithful love to unfaithful people.
(Hosea 1:2).
Ezekiel was forbidden to mourn
when his wife died,
pointing exiled Jews to hope beyond
the fall of Jerusalem
(Ezekiel 24:15-17).

These were not examples to be followed
but signs to enhance a particular message from God.

Note that the action is primarily
a test of Abraham.
The willingness of the prophets to rank
love and obedience to God before
all human loves -
that is what enabled them to be the
channels through which God spoke to the world.

Abraham passes the test with quiet dignity
as he speaks calming words to Isaac
that are truer than he could know (v 8).

You may not be called literally to
slay your flesh-and-blood relatives on an altar.
However, as part of your calling,
God may instruct you to sacrifice
something that you consider precious
and important.

It may be a relationship, activity,
tradition - or even a ministry
that you offer in service to the Lord.

If you were instructed by God
to make that sacrifice, would you,
like Abraham, be prepared to lay it down
in humble obedience?

Would you lay it down without any prospect
of being able to pick it up again?
This is what Abraham had to do.
Abraham's obedience and faith were now
character traits of who and what he had become.

Gone was the deceiving, fear-filled, insecure man.
What now stood on Mount Moriah,
poised with knife in hand,
was a God-fearing, righteous,
faith-filled worshipper of the living God.

The book of Hebrews teaches that Abraham
believed that if God wanted him to slay Isaac,
he could fulfil his promises through Isaac's life
by resurrecting him from the dead.
(Heb. 11:19).

Abraham had passed his exam with
first-class honours and graduated to
the masterclass of faith.
(vs 12-18).

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