||UPDATE: Alas, no fish, the few caught were undersized, I am soon going to have unhappy fisher people (one daughter, two sons and one husband) coming home. I can’t wait to see them, but pray that they will not be too disappointed.
Well Happy Fourth of July to you! If you can say a prayer for my three children and their dad that somehow Jesus tells them were to let out their fish hooks so they can catch at least one good fish each. So far two days of fishing, no fish. And the Super Banjo lures are not what they are cracked up to be. All my kids caught was a sunburn, some good fireworks, and a bit of a carnival. The need fish big time. They will get home tonight, and my time on the computer will then be severely limited, as IMing, and work takes precedence. So I want you to know that I have enjoyed the luxury of really visiting your sites yesterday.
All of the tests and trials that Abraham has faced has prepared him for this test of faith.
Genesis 22:1-2: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” and he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
A few facts, this is many years later, Isaac was 33 years old. We usually see pictures of this with a young boy, but he was 33, and that is the same age that Jesus was crucified. Notice that God does not remind Abraham of his mistake, God says, take your son – your ONLY son. No mention of Hagar and Ishmael. It is important to remember a few things. One of which is that Isaac is a miracle child – he was born when Abraham was very old, and God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. I am wondering what Abraham thought about this new request from God. Finally he had a son, and now God wants him to sacrifice his only son. What would happen to the seed then? Of course, we see signs in Abraham that he trusted God’s prophesy, and believed that God would somehow take care of this situation – that somehow Isaac would be resurrected or preserved from sacrifice. I do not know that I would have the same degree of faith that Abraham had, more now today than a few years ago, but I still have faith issues that I am weak in.
They are going to Moriah. MORIAH means foreseen of God.
To his credit, Abraham rises up early in the morning, saddles his donkey (same mode of transportation that Jesus used), and takes two young men with him and Isaac his son. He splits wood for burnt offering and goes to the place that God tells him to go.
THIRD DAY – so often the mention of the third day is in the Bible, this is a hint at end times. And we also know that Jesus rose on the third day. So it is no accident that it took three days to get to the place God directed Abraham. Abraham lifts his eyes (another occasion for lifting his eyes) and sees the place afar off.
What amazes me is just how far God will go to give us a message, a picture of what He is planning to do when Jesus comes to earth, just how far He is willing to go in His love for us, that He would sacrifice His only Son. Now Isaac will be spared, but we can imagine the feelings that Abraham must have had during those three days of walking next to his son, his only son. I cannot imagine how God must have felt when Jesus walked to the cross – and we know that God feels – Jesus wept – and Jesus did what his father did.
Romans 4 lets us know that the Gospel was preached BEFORE Abraham, so Abraham knew about the Gospel, and it is probably no accident that this occurred AFTER THESE THINGS. Probably after the Gospel was preached.
Just a thought regarding the three days, Jesus was in the tomb three days, Jonah in the whale. Given Abraham’s obedience to God and willingness to do as God directed, in Abraham’s eyes, Isaac was dead the moment the message came – then they walked three days to get to the place, but I am certain that all of Abraham’s hopes and dreams for Isaac died the moment God spoke His Word. So the three days walk before the miraculous substitutionary offering was given could correspond to the three days in the tomb.
This is a massive test of two faiths, Abraham and Isaac’s. Remember Isaac was old enough to resist, and chose to obey. Abraham obeyed by giving his dearly loved son to God. Yet Abraham trusted God’s promise and knew that God would take care of the situation somehow. Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. Remember that Abraham was considered dead (from being able to conceive children), and he knew by faith that God would somehow make sure the seed came through Isaac.
We can see the faith of Abraham by his instructions to his servants in Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Notice Abraham is going to go off alone with Isaac, and he tells his men WE WILL COME BACK TO YOU. Not “I” will come back to you.
Abraham takes the wood of the burnt offering and Isaac carries it on his back. (Remember Christ carried his wooden cross). Abraham carried fire in his hand (this is an inference on my part, but the Holy Spirit came with fire). So in a way we have a picture of the trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And Abraham carried the knife – remember how sharp he would have had to make it. Also, how many servants were there with Abraham and Isaac? Two – like the two thieves on the cross.
I am so glad that we can overhear conversations in the Bible, listen to this one in Genesis 22:7-8 “But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering. And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering. So the two men went together.”
This is an action packed conversation. Isaac notices a crucial missing element of the burnt offering – the Lamb. And Abraham says that God will provide for HIMSELF the lamb for a burnt offering. In the King James version it says, “the LORD will provide himself” New King James adds the word “for” which I don’t think is right in this case. We see that ultimately God provides HIMSELF as the offering – a pure lamb, but Abraham knew that God would provide. He had learned that the hard way with a trip down to Egypt, and all the trials that he had that lead him to this point in time. He learned that God could provide a son when there seemed no hope that a natural born son could be provided. I love the line SO THE TWO MEN WENT TOGETHER – isn’t that an awful lot like in agreement, like when we pray in agreement over things. We go together, and there is power in that unity.
A few New Testament verses to back up some of what I have been saying about the Gospel preached beforehand. Galatians 3:5-9 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?–just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham BEFOREHAND (caps are mine), saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
In John 8, Jesus chides the Scribes and Pharisees when He says in verses 39-40 “…If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham, but now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.” Abraham believed God and it was counted for righteousness. The Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus would inform that they believed their father – satan, the giver of lies.
They come to the place where God brought him, and Abraham built an altar, placed the wood on it in order, bound Isaac and laid him on the altar of wood. Isaac had to do this willingly, a 33 year old boy could certainly overcome his father and not be bound if he wished.
Abraham takes the knife in his hand and raises it to slay his son, then praise God, the Angel of the Lord (notice the capital “A”) calls to Abraham from heaven. This is Jesus before He was born on the earth. and says in verse 12 “And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me.” Again those words, your son, your ONLY son. And Abraham passed this test with flying colors. And he LIFTED HIS EYES, and what a wonderful sight he saw – a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. And verse 13 “…So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” Notice that it was not a lamb that was provided here, but a ram. Jesus would be the one and only lamb. A thicket is a thorny bush, so here we have an illusion to the crown of thorns.
And here is the first time that Jehovah-Jireh is used “The LORD Will Provide” which is the name that Abraham will call this place. Verse 14 “…as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD, it shall be provided.” How prophetic these words are, for in the same mount our Lord Jesus Christ, will provide for our salvation.
Notice the progression that happens before God spoke prophetically – the call to sacrifice, the preparation and obedience to do so, then God will speak to Abraham, a wonderful prophesy that is partially fulfilled to this day, some will occur in the end times.
Genesis 22: 15-18 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Notice that here the word “seed” is singular – and it reminds me of the seed of the woman promised in Genesis. It is through this line of Abraham’s descendants, from Isaac his ONLY son, that the Messiah will be born. And again God reminds Abraham that his descendants will multiply like stars of heaven and sand on sea shore. We are spiritual descendants of Abraham through faith as we saw above, but this shows that it is also the Gentiles that will be brought into the kingdom. The part of the prophesy that needs fulfilling still is that we have not fully possessed the gates of the enemy – this will not happen until satan is cast down in Revelation into the Lake of Fire.
Then Abraham will go and dwell at Beersheba.
Then out of the blue, after a wonderful picture of Jesus, is verses 20-24 a bit of genealogy, some of the names would fit today’s rock star names – Huz and Buz his brother. But the culmination of the list is in verse 23 “And Bethuel begot Rebekah.” We will see more of Rebekah in Chapter 24 for she will become the bride of Isaac. Notice, that the bride for Isaac will appear after this sacrifice – after the crucifixion, then the Bride will come – just as we are the Bride of Christ. Ah, I am getting ahead of myself, I am muzzling what I want to say until Chapter 24.
Last year when I took Beth Moore’s The Patriarchs, she spent an hour on video talking about Isaac and Abraham. Some of her points were so good that I want to share them with you, for they blessed me. I love how she makes the scriptures come alive, she has been instrumental in my growth in the Lord, even though I have never met her in person.
She points out that regarding the sacrifice, God went to Abraham – if He had gone to Sarah, she would have put up a fight. She also pointed out that, while much of the chapters we have covered to date cover a lot of territory, with this chapter, God moves in slow motion – the details are so specific, the action so slowed down so that we can savor every picture. Beth also noted that in Genesis 12 and Genesis 22, Abraham is told to leave a place and go to a place that God would show him, but God doesn’t tell the place – Abraham has to walk in faith knowing that God will direct him to the right place.
Her main focus was on tests, and she points out that “Our tests have our names on them.” That we won’t have to take someone else’s test. She says that the word for tested means to test, try, prove. It is the idea of testing the quality of someone through stressful circumstances. Beth also then points out that our hardest tests involve our dearest loves. But that we are not powerless in our tests, how we take them is entirely up to us. We can avoid them, but God will keep presenting us with the test. His goal is that we pass the test. The test is not so that God will find out if we pass it, but so that we can see what we are made of.
Beth pointed out that when God says take Now thy son – it is the “Hebrew word “Na” and it is called the particle of entreaty, and used by God only in issues of staggering importance often defying rational understanding.” Abraham’s only recorded words to God in this chapter are, “Here I am”. God, with His tests, is often trying to show us that we don’t have any idea what we can do until we trust Him.
Beth said something that is sooooo true for me, “Obedience is not the hardest part of our most trying tests, keeping the faith can be hardest of all.” And she also points out that the harder the test, the more far reaching the ramifications. She said, “When God is up to something hard, He is up to something big.”
When Abraham called the place, “The Lord will Provide”, the Hebrew word for “provide” means, to see. She says that in Exodus 20:20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” God gives us tests to show us where we are in His kingdom, to show us our strengths and weaknesses. God wants us to pass the test, and will keep giving it to us until we do, and the purpose of His tests is so we are strong in the faith and will not sin.
What an awesome God we serve!!!!