Summary: It wasn't enough to travel 3 days, or build the altar, or stack on the wood, or bind his son, or even to place his son on the altar. God waited until the great Patriarch raised the knife! Why wait so long? Why does God take us to the edge?
"AND THEN HE RAISED THE KNIFE...!"
1. There are times when even doing what is right seems like it will backfire on you. Old habits are hard to break.
2. One guy invariably left off the cap to the toothpaste and for years his wife had hounded him about it. Finally, on their 25th anniversary, he made a private commitment to break the annoying habit.
3. With faithfulness and regularity he screwed on the toothpaste cap every time he used it. After a week of unbroken success the poor guy was blindsided by his very suspicious wife.
4. She cornered him at the breakfast table and said, "Why did you stop brushing your teeth?"
1. In today's text we will observe a man who deeply loved God but was put in an extremely difficult position by God. He was called upon to give up that which is most dear to him.
2. Read Genesis 22:1-14 and read one of the most touching texts in all of sacred Scripture.
I. THE TESTING OF ABRAHAM
A. THE SACRIFICE REQUIRED
1. Beer-Sheba was a town about 30 miles south of Jerusalem and the year was 1860 B.C.. A man over a hundred years old, knelt to pray. The patriarch’s name was Abraham. Perhaps no man ever loved God more than he. Called out of his pagan environment at the age of 75, Abraham followed God's call to a strange and distant land. He and his wife Sarah were childless. God promised them a son who would be the progenitor of a race of people. Finally, long after the normal time for parenting, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. How Abraham and Sarah loved their only son! He would be the receiver of all they possessed one day, the heir to all God's promises. Isaac had reached the age of young manhood. How fine he was! How blessed the elderly parents felt to have such a wonderful son! Now, alone in his meditation, Abraham prayed. And God spoke to him once again. The divine words were chilling: read verse two.
"Tempt" in the KJV is really the word "test", intensified. This would be the greatest test of his life. He had had some nine tests previously. When God tested Abraham, everything was designed to make the test more difficult.
2. BUT WAIT A MINUTE!
a. "Thy Son"
1). What! A father slay his Son!
2). Was there nothing else in Abraham's tent that God would have but his son?
1). Ishmael had just been sent away (Gen. 21:8-21).
2). Sarah & Abraham were too old to have children again.
1). The child of promise.
2). Anxiously expected, long, long delayed (25 years).
3). Made his parent’s hearts to laugh.
4). One in whom his father's hopes all centered.
5). "In Isaac shall your seed be...." what! Shall the gift of God be retracted?
d. "Whom Thou Lovest"
God knew his heart. There was nothing that Abraham loved more.
3. God never before or since asked for human sacrifice. Why then? To test the authenticity of Abraham's faith and remind Abraham to adore the Giver more than the gift.
1. There are many things in life we don't think we can live without. Even the thought of losing those things sends flashes of panic through us.
2. At such times our loving Father must pry our fingers loose from what holds our hearts captive and preoccupies us.
3. "But," we protest, "I can't live without that position/ relationship/ possession!
4. Luke 14:26. We Must love God supremely. Sometimes that love must be tested! The Bible says of the disciples, "They left all and followed Jesus."
1. A missionary in India was hurrying along the street one day by the Ganges River when he saw a native woman looking at the water. In her arms was a sickly infant, while at her side stood a beautiful, healthy boy.
2. The missionary, on questioning her, found she was in deep distress and was trying to make up her mind to give an offering to her god. He tried to dissuade her, telling her of the love of Jesus and His sacrifice for her. After a time he had to leave her.
3. Hours later he saw her again with the sickly baby in her arms; the beautiful boy was gone. He knew what had happened. She had thrown the boy to the crocodiles in the river. "I made an offering to my god," the woman said.
4. "But why did you give your healthy boy, why not this sickly little one? asked the missionary. Rising to her feet the woman replied, "We give our gods our best." Do we?
II. THE OBEDIENCE OF ABRAHAM