Summary: Based on History Channel's epic mini-series, The Bible, this five-part expository sermon series highlights five key events in the story of Scripture from Abraham to Jesus, using video clips from the show.
The Bible: The Binding of Isaac
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 3/3/2013
Nearly a hundred years ago, a little boy in England received a stuffed bear as a gift on his first birthday. Soon after, his father, a playwright and novelist, began writing stories that featured the little boy, his bear, and other toys in the boy’s playroom, as characters. You know the bear as Winnie-the-Pooh. You know the boy as Christopher Robin. Since then, of course, Winnie-the-Pooh stories have been loved by generations of children, translated into more than fifty languages, and featured in songs, movies, and television specials. But it all began with a little boy and a stuffed bear as characters in a simple story.
Everyone here has a story, whether you have a stuffed bear or not. I have a story. You have a story. Some read like tragedies, some like comedies. Some are mysteries, and others are romances. Some are much longer than others, and some are just getting started. But everyone has a story.
All of our stories, different as they are, are part of a bigger story: A story that is older than any of us, a story that defines all of us, and can—if we let it—guide us. It’s the story told in the pages of your Bible, from the first words of Genesis to the last lines of Revelation. The story of the Bible is being retold dramatically in an epic made-for-television miniseries appropriately titled, The Bible. It begins airing tonight and the next five Sunday nights on The History Channel. I encourage all of you to watch it, if you can. If you don’t have the History Channel, there is a list of households in the back that will be hosting viewing parties.
For the next five weeks, we are going to discover some of the most gripping stories from the Bible––stories that are more than just stories; stories that tell us something about ourselves, our lives, and God’s hopes and plans for us.
And the story we will start with today is an amazing incident found in the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis. It is sometimes called “The Binding of Isaac,” and we’ll look at it first on video, and then turn to Scripture to study it in greater detail.
NEXT SLIDE: VIDEO CLIP WILL PLAY AUTOMATICALLY
Now, some of us have read that story and heard it many times. It is a story of great faith, the story of a father who was so obedient to God that he was willing to make the greatest sacrifice imaginable. It is a story usually told from Abraham’s perspective, as a display of his great faith. But, today, I’d like to look at this story from Isaac’s perspective. And, in many ways, Isaac’s story is our story too.
• A STORY OF DESTINY
First, Isaac’s story is like ours because it’s a story of destiny! I think one of the first things that become clear in this story is that God had a plan for Isaac.
The Bible tells it this way:
Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.
“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (Genesis 22:1-2 NLT).
The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then they chopped some wood to use for the burnt offering and set out on a three-day journey to the place God told Abraham about.
Put yourselves in Isaac’s shoes, or sandals, as the case may be. Isaac’s birth had been prophesied long before he was born. God clearly had a plan for his life. He had a destiny to fulfill. But the Bible doesn’t tell us how much Isaac knew, if anything, about what was happening. It seems to me that there was much Isaac didn’t understand. Can you imagine what was going through his mind? What’s going on? Why is this happening? Why would God let this to happen to me?
And, let’s face it—we’ve all had similar thoughts, haven’t we? Bad things happen and they happen with unpredictable frequency and varying levels of intensity. Some are mere inconveniences; others are life-shattering disasters. When terrorists, tumors, calamity or catastrophe strikes many of us are quick to question God, blame God or simply dismiss God.
But, just like Isaac, God has a plan for each one of us. Even though we don’t understand all the details, we all have a destiny to fulfill. God has said clearly in his Word, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). Those words are highlighted in my Bible. Another verse I have highlighted is this: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God; those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 HCSB).