Summary: Part 38 in our series on Genesis. In this sermon we discuss Abraham offering Isaac to be sacrificed, and we tie it in with the Lord's Supper.
Abraham’s Test (Genesis Pt. 38)(Communion Service)
Text: Genesis 22:1-19
By: Ken McKinley
Tomorrow’s the 4th of July. The other day I was in Woodward, eating lunch with a couple of friends and across from us, sitting at another table, were three guys, probably in their early to mid 20’s, and they were complaining about the burn ban. They said, “It stinks that we can’t light off any fireworks this year. Don’t they know that’s what the 4th of July is all about.” I just shook my head and thought to myself… “No, not exactly.” But that reminded me of a story I once heard. There was a preacher who got up early Saturday morning and went to donate blood to the American Red Cross. His son woke up a little later in the day and he noticed that his dad wasn’t home, so he asked his mom where he had went. She said, “Your father’s gone to give blood.” The little boy thought about it for a minute and said, “But we know it’s really just grape juice don’t we mom!” She shook her head and said, “No, not exactly.”
The reason we have the holiday we are going to be celebrating tomorrow, is to remember, and the reason we have communion is also to remember. The apostle Paul said; in 1st Corinthians, that we are to do this in remembrance of Jesus, and when we do it, it is a proclamation of His death until He comes again.
Now our text this morning begins with these words “God tested Abraham…” Now, how many of you know that there’s a difference between being tested and being tempted? God often times will test our faith so that we can grow, and so that we don’t have any false illusions as to where we stand in our relationship, or in our faith. You see; the Bible says that a person can deceive themselves. People can believe that they are saved, when in reality they aren’t. That’s why 2nd Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified.” So we are to test ourselves, and sometimes, God tests us… He never tempts us, but He tests us. And every time God tests us it’s always for the purpose of building our faith and bringing us closer to Him.
So God calls to Abraham, and Abraham says, “I’m here.” Then look at verse 2 (Read).
Now that phrasing is used several times in this chapter. “Your only son… whom you love.” You know; if God were to do this today, He might not say this to some fathers… He might have to say, “Take your son, the one who’s an inconvenience to you. Take your son… you know, the one you don’t have any time for.” But we see here that Abraham is a good father. A loving father. And God tells him to take his son Isaac and go to the land of Moriah and offer Isaac up as a burnt offering. Now 2nd Chronicles 3:1 tells us that this is the site where the temple was built. It’s where the dome of the rock stands today.
And if you’re Abraham… this is crazy. Human sacrifice is what the Canaanites do, but its completely out of character with God. The Canaanites were the ones who murdered their children… the Canaanites and I guess the American’s… we abort about 1 and a half million babies every year here in the US alone.
So think about how Abraham must’ve felt… He couldn’t open up the Bible and read how this story ends. He had waited his whole life for this promised Son, and now God’s telling him to take up on the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice.
So the question is… How is Abraham going to respond?
He’s got to choose between his love for his son and his love for God. You see; whatever you love most – that’s your god. Whether it’s sex, drugs, money, fame, food, entertainment… it doesn’t matter. If you love it more than God, then it becomes an idol to you. If God asked you to give it up, could you? If the Lord said to you, like He did to the rich young ruler, “Take everything you have and sell it, and give your profits to the poor.” Would you? So God tells Abraham this, and Abraham thinks on it throughout the night, and then, verse 3 says the left early in the morning to go to the place where Isaac would be sacrificed.
Now the Bible doesn’t tell us what Abraham thought during all of this. Usually it doesn’t get into the realm of emotion or thought… it’s more concerned with actions. Because faith isn’t what a person says, or even so much what they think. It’s what they do. That’s the whole book of James in the New Testament. Faith is what you do.