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Jehovah Jireh, My Provider

Today we look at the story of Genesis 22, and God's call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac at Mt. Moriah. To fully understand the story, we need to look deep into Abraham's life, and see how God kept all His promises to Abraham, so we can see how he keeps His promises to us.

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Jehovah Jireh, My Provider

Good Morning. And a Happy Father’s Day. Today, we revisit Genesis 22, which, I will grant, that on the surface, seems to be a horrible Father’s Day reading. I skimmed through it 3 months ago in relation to Jesus comments about taking up His Cross. Today, we’ll look at the theme of what God our Father Promises us, and how we can be sure of His Promises.

This passage comes up a lot because it is one of the hardest lessons to sit down and read and try to work through. Without context, it is an easy target for unbelievers. They simply see God tell Abraham to offer his son on an altar. and say “see, God isn’t all he's cracked up to be,” So I want to reread it together, maybe bring out some of this worst case scenario, and then hopefully, we can see what God is teaching. We’ll begin in v. 2, God says to Abraham:

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering.”

First odd thing. Abraham receives this command, and acts with no response, at least, no recorded response. Throughout Genesis 22, we are told nothing of what Abraham feels or thinks about what God orders him to do.

All that we see is … OBEDIENCE. Remember, come back…

Second odd thing, we see several times the reference, “your only son Isaac.” There was another son, Ishmael, but he wasn’t the son of promise, of Abraham and Sarah, the son who would bless the world through his offspring.

Third thing to note. Child sacrifice was very common among the pagan religions which surrounded Abraham in Caanan. As common as abortion today.

God many times condemns murdering children to get yourself a better life in this world. It is something that the true God hates! So it should jump out that something odd is obviously going on. Three clues to this passage so far.

(Review 3) First no response OBEDIENCE Second son of promise Third God hates Child sacrifice

Back in the story, The trip to Moriah took three long days. Three days to think about what was to take place at the journey’s end. How do you think Abraham felt just talking to Isaac as they approached Moriah for the sacrifice?

And then they got there. Verse 7-10:

 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father, behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” That probably plunged a knife into his father’s heart.

8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 

Pause – What else could he say? “You are the sacrificial lamb”? This was nice 3 months ago talking about Jesus in the Old Testament. But not so great when thinking of a father and son talking and walking together.

9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

When does the reality hit Isaac that he is the lamb? Does he start to get anxious as his father builds the altar? As Abraham lays the wood? Or is it only when Abraham actually turns and begins to bind his wrists?

4 –one thing that is easy to forget is their ages. Most art gets this wrong. Abraham is over 110 years old, while Isaac is somewhere between his mid/late teens maybe 30. How does Abraham do this without Isaac’s acceptance? But like a Hollywood movie, Abraham is stopped at the last second and Isaac is saved.

verse 11 the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

So, God reaffirms the covenant. But which of you would feel happy at the end of this story if it was you? Your minds and hearts have been torn, and it seemingly ends up just being an opportunity for God to see how you really feel about Him? And doesn’t God knows our hearts? Let’s examine our clues!

First clue! Why was there no response/push back? Abraham quietly, and without any recorded argument, took the steps to offer his only son Isaac, whom He loved, on the altar. And as I said, those who hate God think this story show God as less than Holy. But these are the type of questions we should be asking as we read through Scripture, because without asking them, we really can’t see what God is trying to teach us in His Word. Doesn’t talk back. WHY? Clues?

4 chapters earlier, when God revealed his intention to bring judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin, Abraham pleaded for them,

“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 

Abraham questioned God’s justice in dooming two of the most wicked cities in history to destruction. Why does Abraham have nothing to say when told to murder his son? The best way to understand scripture is to look at scripture!

The author of Hebrews examines this very question. Hebrews 11:17-19:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.

19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead.

While Genesis is silent on Abraham’s thoughts, Hebrews tells us that Abraham had been deeply considering the matter. And Abraham believed that the Lord would do something if he trusted! Would God stop his hand at the last moment? Maybe. But Abraham had faith that even if God didn’t, God would raise Issac back from the dead, and still make him the man of promise.

Why would Abraham believe that? This is the great part, and what I want you to hopefully take home and take to heart! Why? Because God had proven repeatedly that He keeps his promises. God didn’t just promise Abraham a son; God promised that Isaac was a son through whom the world would be blessed.

And, ready for this… Abraham got this faith precisely because his faith had faltered before, but God kept faithful anyway.

Despite the fact that we can struggle with trusting God, God is faithful. Paul says the same thing to Timothy, in 2 Tim 2:13:

If we are faithless, he remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

Earlier, Abraham feared local kings would steal his wife. He lied to protect himself, not trusting God. He feared not having a son with Sarah and tried other ways. But God kept his word, and a 90-year-old woman had a son, and Abraham trusted that the same God would not suddenly renege on His promise. Though Abraham had several times previously been faithless, God was always faithful.

Like Abraham, sometimes we trust in the wrong things.

Abraham had pleaded for Ishmael to be the son of the promise, but God said no. Abraham pled for Sodom and Gomorrah. How are these different? God had made no promise for them. He had made a promise for Isaac that All the nations of the world will be blessed by Isaac and his offspring! And God had proven to Abraham that He keeps promises.

Why would Abraham need to plead on behalf of what God had already promised AND DELIVERED? Regarding our loved ones, who are in Christ, but going through great physical or mental struggles, what has God promised for them. What has God promised Me? It’s not eternal life in this body.

Why would Abraham believe that the ending would be tragic? Abraham had learned, through many failures, to trust the promises of God. His faith was strengthened when he held God’s promise, Isaac, in his arms.

Bringing it back to the cross, another son would climb a hill, this time knowing that he would be the lamb sacrificed. Another son knew that the hand of his father would not be stopped at the last moment. When he called out to his Father on the cross, there would be no response, no “Here I am, my Son.” He was the Son who understood fully what was happening.

Jesus trusted his Father because he knew his Father, and he knew the promises of his Father. He knew that he was the Father’s Son, his only Son, whom he loved. God asked nothing of Abraham that He himself would not go through, to completion without a last second reprieve.  And for whom did the Father give his Son, his only Son, Jesus Christ, whom he loved? For whom did the Son willingly lie upon the altar?  The Lord will provide. Jehovah Jireh

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