Summary: Abraham faces his biggest challenge yet. And through it God shows a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ through the sacrifice of Isaac.
Abraham didn’t wake up one morning and say "Oh, I better get my prayer life in order - today’s a big test day from God." We don’t get that chance either - and our relationship with the Lord needs to be in order so that on any day a test comes - we’ll be ready.
We learn today about the nature of testing - and again how God is prefiguring the Savior of the world. Abraham must give up the exact thing that God promised to him. He does that with us as well.
Verses 1 - 3
"Tested" Nasah - KJV=tempt. Wrong for contemporary English. It means to prove or assay.
Didn’t God already know Abraham’s faith? It’s true that God knows our hearts but it’s not true that we know our own hearts or understand our own faith. It’s not God wondering it’s for letting us know where we stand and how far we’ve come.
It’s not to make us fail but it burns out the dross in our lives.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance
Proverbs 17:3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
Isaac could have been 20 here
A whole burnt offering was entire. Reminded of complete commitment. It’s where we get the idea of being "on fire."
What kind of shock and terror would this have caused for Abraham? This would be worse than having someone telling you of a loved one’s death.
Mt Moriah was 20 or 30 miles away.
Three days was a long way away - the donkey and the wood. What would Abraham have been thinking? What would Isaac have been thinking? Abraham probably didn’t tell Sarah or Isaac.
Abraham probably wanted to know what God would do. What would the conversations have been like?
Moriah is located where Jerusalem is. 2 Chronicles 3:1 - where the temple was eventually built 2,000 years later there would be another sacrifice on these mountains. 1,000 years later Solomon built the Temple here.
"worship" was a deed that you did of loyalty. A worshiper of God was someone who made the sacrifices that were necessary. In the NT it’s a lifestyle of living in Christ - THE sacrifice.
They weren’t going to sing, but to do those things that made them right with God.
Abraham says "we will go and we will be back." Abraham must have really wondered but he shows a confidence in God that is very good for us to learn.
We learn more of how Abraham felt by reading Hebrews:
Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Abraham knew that even though he couldn’t reason his way through something, that God had promised and so he would deliver. How about you? God says "I will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love me and are called according to my purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Verse 6 - 9
Isaac says "Um, Dad?" Isaac trusted his father because he knew his father trusted God. But Isaac’s wondering - we’ve got everything we need except the animal to sacrifice.
I love what Abraham says "God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering." As indeed He did - with THE Lamb of God.
What must Isaac have been thinking as his dad laid HIM down on the wood? What trust existed there.
Abraham wouldn’t have lifted the knife above his head - he would have laid the knife at the neck. He was just ready to do it. I’m sure he was overjoyed to hear the voice.
Verse 12 - 14
You didn’t withhold your son from me - it is God speaking - the Angel of the Lord.
"Now I know that you fear God" That word "fear" means exactly that. It can also mean "afraid." What does that mean here? I think it means that Abraham thought more of God than even that which was most precious to him.
In a way, that’s the place we come to when we give our lives to Jesus - our self - we give up to God saying "I’m nothing - You are everything - take my life - it’s Yours."
Jehovah Jirah - God will provide. (or Yahweh Yirah)
God didn’t want it to happen - this time. But later no one would hold back to save the Son of God from death (more on that later).