Summary: God has to test our faith in order to know where we stand with Him.

Printed Text

Genesis 22:1-14


A. Comparing Price Tags

A well-to-do merchant stood on the dock watching as final preparations were made

for a ship to sail. As he stood there, he was joined by a stranger whose clothing revealed

his poverty. Finally the stranger spoke up. “You seem mighty pleased about watching this

ship sail,” he said.

“Yes,” replied the merchant. “I have seen many ships leave this harbor, but this one

gives me more satisfaction than any other I can remember. You see, on this ship I am

sending ten thousand dollars worth of equipment for a mission hospital in China. I just had

to come down and see that it got off safely.”

“Then we have something in common,” said the stranger, “for I, too, have a gift on

that ship.”

“And what is that gift?” asked the merchant somewhat incredulously.

“My only daughter is on that ship. She’s going to China as a missionary.”

“Then my gift is nothing compared with yours,” came the merchant’s quiet reply.

Like this merchant, Abraham was a man of great wealth. His faith was so strong that

he would readily have given any or all of his wealth to God. However, Abraham’s material

wealth was nothing compared with the gift God asked of him — his son Isaac. Yet

Abraham passed even this test of faith in noble fashion.


After the birth of Isaac (with which last week’s printed text ended), the tensions

between Sarah and Hagar continued to increase. They reached the breaking point when

Isaac was weaned. Sarah demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away, but Abraham

was reluctant to give in to his wife’s demands until God told him to do what Sarah asked.

Isaac was to be the child of promise, God said, but Ishmael, too, would be made a great

nation (Genesis 21:9-14). We find Sarah’s behavior shocking, yet she was acting within

her legal rights when she made her demand. (Some of the laws of ancient Mesopotamia

allowed the primary wife almost complete control over a secondary wife.) Even though

Hagar and Ishmael were sent out into the desert with only a little food and water to

sustain them, God watched over them and cared for them. The young Ishmael grew to

maturity in the wilderness of Paran, located in the Sinai Peninsula.

During this time, Abraham continued to travel about in southern Palestine, seeking

pasture and water for his flocks. After a misunderstanding with Abimelech over a well that

Abraham had dug, the two entered into an agreement that allowed them to live in peace

with one another.

I. Abraham Is Tested

Genesis 22:1, 2

A. God Appears to Abraham (v. 1)

B. God Commands Abraham (v. 2)

What Do You Think?

Isaac was the most precious thing in Abraham’s life. No test could have been more

severe! God does not ask for burnt offerings today, but for a living sacrifice (Romans

12:1). What are some of the things that are most precious to you? How might God

demand you to give them up to serve him?

Do You Have What It Takes?

Reports of widespread persecution of Christians around the world are deeply troubling.

Believers in Communist China must worship “underground,” fearing imprisonment or worse

if they are discovered. Entire villages in the Sudan have been destroyed by militant

Muslims, making corpses, slaves, or refugees of the Christians who live there. In Pakistan,

the “Blasphemy Law” threatens anyone who is perceived as speaking or acting in disrespect

of Mohammed. Christians are being tortured and sometimes killed in these and several

other countries.

One has to wonder, “Could my faith withstand such pressure and abuse? Is my Christian

commitment deep enough to risk or surrender my freedom and/or life if I were forced to

make such a choice?” An even bigger question comes to mind when we consider Abraham’s

experience: “Would I be willing to sacrifice one of my children if God commanded me to do


Spiritual giants are made, not born. Abraham probably never imagined he had such faith

until he was actually confronted with the challenge. That day on the mountain in Moriah he

grew a spiritual mile. We must remember that though few Christians have what it takes to be

victorious in such situations, we all have whom it takes; and he has overcome the world

(John 16:33).


II. Abraham Obeys

Genesis 22:3-10

A. Abraham’s Journey (vv. 3-5)

What Do You Think?

Sometimes when we face a tough challenge, we don’t refuse; we just procrastinate.

Abraham, however, got up “early the next morning” to initiate his obedience. What

benefits do you see in taking immediate action in order to obey? What dangers do you see

in putting it off?

B. Isaac’s Question (vv. 6-8)

C. Abraham’s Preparation (vv. 9, 10)

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