For so many years God had been promising a son to Abraham and Sarah. God had even promised that from that son would come descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Even more, one of those descendants would be the one through whom God would bless every family on earth.
For 25 years, as Abraham got older and older, God held back the fulfillment of that promise as He trained Abraham in faith. Then when Abraham had a son through Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid, God told Abraham to send Ishmael away – he was not the long-awaited son.
Finally, God blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son, Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old at that time.
Oh, how Abraham loved and treasured that son! This was the child that he had waited so long for. This was his only son by his wife Sarah. This was the boy through whom God would give Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars of the heavens. This was the boy through whom God would send the Savior of the world someday. Oh, how Abraham loved that boy who was growing up in his house.
Then came that terrible night when God tested Abraham.
READ GENESIS 22:1–5 阅读创22:1-5
This account begins with the phrase “some time later” which would indicate that Isaac had grown from a child to an older boy or even a young man. He was now old enough and strong enough to carry the wood for a burnt offering. Then came the test.
What was the purpose of this test? Give your opinion on these choices.
a) For God: So that God could find out if Abraham loved Him more than he loved Isaac.
b) For Abraham: to become more convinced that he could trust God to keep his promises.
The mountain to which God led Abraham was called “Moriah.” Moriah is the name of the mountain on which the first temple was built by Solomon. 2 Chronicles 3:1 says, “Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.” Today there is a Muslim mosque (built in 691 AD) called “the Dome of the Rock” on that very site.
When Abraham told his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” what was he thinking? See Hebrews 11:17–19 for insight.
But, we wonder, why did it have to be this way? Why such a severe test for an old man who had already shown his faith many times? Why couldn’t God have said: “Abraham, build me a church to prove your devotion” or “Abraham, sacrifice all of your sheep to prove that you love me.” Wasn’t this above and beyond the call of duty?
No, it had to be this way. The test had to come for Abraham’s sake, to settle the issue in his heart. There was only one thing that could be a true rival to Abraham’s love for God – his dearly loved son. God wanted to provide an even stronger faith in the father of believers. God had given Abraham the gift of faith, and He knew the exact amount of heat to apply so the dross would be eliminated and the gold come forth, shining and pure.
READ GENESIS 22:6–19 阅读创22:6-19
The journey from Beersheba to Moriah was about 80 kilometers and took them 3 days on foot. When it says that Abraham “carried the fire” this probably meant that Abraham carried a pot with burning coals that could be used to start the fire of the offering.
When Isaac asked his father, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” How did God actually fulfill this prophecy?
What was God’s plan in asking Abraham to sacrifice his son?
In verse 12 God said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy, do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Does God want us to fear him? What does it mean to fear God? (see Psalm 33:8 and Proverbs 8:13)
In verse 14 we read that “Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” These words of Abraham show that he recognized that the ram in the thicket was placed there by God. The Lord had saved Abraham’s son by provided a substitute for him on that mountain.
We could also say that on a mountain God has provided a substitute that has saved us. What substitute did God provide to save us from death?
In verses 16-18 God repeats his promises to bless Abraham and make of him a great nation. But this time God adds these phrases: “because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son … because you have obeyed me.” Does this mean that Abraham had earned God’s blessings? Do we have to earn God’s blessings? Write down your thoughts on this and be prepared to share them with the class.
What lesson is God teaching us through this test of Abraham?
READ GENESIS 22:20–24 阅读创22:20-24
It had been about 50 years since Abraham had left his relatives back in Haran. What was happening back there? Abraham received the new of the birth of many nephews and nieces. Eight nephews were born to Abraham’s brother Nahor.
The significance of this section is the name that occurs in verse 23. Rebekah, the daughter of one of Abraham’s nephews, would become the wife of Isaac one day. This section was written to explain her background. God had planned for her to play an important role in the history of God’s people.