The Lord Tests Abraham
Comments for Study 16
Memory Verse 22:8, 18
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I. Here I Am (1-5)
>1. What is the significance of God's calling Abraham by name? What does Abraham's answer suggest about his basic attitude toward God?
Genesis 22:1 "Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied."
* "Some time later" -the previous chapter ended by saying Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. Isaac was into adolescence.
* "God tested Abraham" -Why does God test us? Be sure that God does test all of his people, not just Abraham. Exodus 16:4b states how God interacting with Israel, "I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions," and Exodus 20:20 says, "Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."" Judges 2:20-23 states that because the LORD was angry with Israel for not keeping the covenant they made with him he kept some of the nations in the promised land to test them to see if they generation after generation would obey him. David knew that the LORD tests the heart and is pleased with integrity (1 Chron. 29:17) as did Hezekiah (2 Chron. 32:31) and Job (Job 7:17-18). One could ask, "Doesn't God already know our heart since he is omniscience?" Yes, but we do not know ourselves, neither does the angles and other men. In order that all may know on judgement day that God is fair and just we are tested in life. As James 1:12 says, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." Jeremiah 9:7 gives another reason for God's testing. It says, "Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says, "See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?" The Lord's testing can remove us from our sinful habits. Zechariah 13;9 also confirms this. As Proverbs 22:6 states, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." God tests us so that we will grow in faith, hope, and love and be fit for the reward he has prepared for us.
* "He said to him, 'Abraham!'" -This shows that God and Abraham have a personal relationship. It took many years to get to this point in Abraham's life and relationship with God.
* "Here I am," he replied. -John 10:3-4 "The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
Abraham longed to hear God's voice. He was ready to hear God.
>2. What did God ask Abraham to do? Why? What shows that God knew what he was asking would be difficult for Abraham to do?
Genesis 22:2 "Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.""
* "whom you love" -this shows that God knew how hard it would be for Abraham.
* "the region of Moriah" -this is where Melchizedek had come from and where the city Jerusalem would be. The temples were built on the mount that God led Abraham to. (2 Chron. 3:1)
* "I will tell you about" -this shows that God knew how hard it would be for Abraham.
>3. How and when did Abraham respond to God's command? Why did he not tell the servant what he planned to do? What do his actions reveal about Abraham's faith?
Genesis 22:3 "Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about."
* Abraham's faith was strong. He trusted the Lord his God for he did not hesitate.
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, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death."
James 2:17-24 "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone."
2 Corinthians 13:5-7 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed."
Genesis 22:4-5 "On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to 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.""
* Why not tell them? Because they wouldn't understand.
II. God Himself Will Provide the Lamb (6-8)
>4. As the two of them climbed the mountain together, how did Isaac make obedience even harder?
Genesis 22:6-7 "Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?""
* Abraham did not tell Isaac what was going to understand because he wouldn't understand and Isaac might run away.
>5. Why didn't Abraham tell Isaac what he was going to do? What was his answer to Isaac's question? How does this answer plant faith in God in Isaac's heart?
Genesis 22:8 "Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together."
* Abraham planted faith in Isaac's heart by saying God is the provider.
* Similar, God provided the lamb that took away our sins and perfecter of our faith, Jesus. John 1:29 states, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
III. Now I Know That You Fear God (9-19)
>6. What preparations did Abraham make to carry out God's command? Why did he stop before slaying Isaac?
Genesis 22:9-10 "When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son."
* Isaac seemed to not resist in any way. Nor did it say that he cried out. He trusted his father and let him tie him up.
>7. How had God been testing Abraham (11)? And how did Abraham come out in the test (12)? Why was this test necessary for Abraham?
Genesis 22:11 "But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied."
* God didn't want Isaac dead.
* God didn't want that pain for Abraham.
Genesis 22:12 ""Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "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."
* Abraham grew in faith.
Genesis 22:13 "Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son."
* God provided the sacrifice as Abraham said. He knew the promise and he knew that God would keep it somehow. He also knew that God would provide the needed sacrifice..
>8. Why did Abraham name the place "the Lord will provide"? What does this show us about Abraham's faith? How can we have this kind of faith?
Genesis 22:14 "So 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."
* "The LORD Will Provide" -This is the first accordance of this name of God in the Bible for Abraham is the one who first used it. In Hebrew this is "Yahweh Jireh"; "Yahweh" being translated "LORD" and "Jireh" being translated "Will Provide" (the King James does not translate "Jireh". Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says this of "Jireh": "a symbolical name for Mt. Moriah."
* Psalm 111:5 "He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever."
* 1Timothy 6:17 "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."
* Mark 9:23-24 "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
>9. When God called to Abraham from heaven a second time, what was his reason? (15-16) What is the significance of his swearing by himself?
Genesis 22:15-16 "The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,"
* "The angle of the LORD" -Angel is Hebrew "malak" used many times (i.e. the angle that called to Hagar in chapter 21) and is translated either angel or messenger. According to Strong's Concordance "melak" means "to despatch as a deputy".
* "called to Abraham from heaven" -The angel did not appear to Abraham. Even though he had done so before, he did not do so this time.
* "I swear by myself" -Because there was no other thing greater to shear by. Hebrews 6:13-18 states, "When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged."
>10. How is this blessing similar to and how is it different from the earlier covenant promises? (12:1-3,7; 13:15-16; 15:4,5,7; 18:18)
Genesis 22:17-18 "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."
* God wanted to and has since made Abraham's descendants many.
* Abraham's descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.
* All nations will be blessed because of Abraham's obedience.
* "because you have believed me" -God honors faith. Jesus often said, "Because you have believed it is done." or something similar many times. Jesus' disciples asked them to increase their faith. He told them that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed they could say to mountains move and it would move.
* "offspring" -Gal 3:14-18 makes it clear that this is singular and not plural and thus refers to Jesus alone. Through Jesus all nations are blessed.
>11. What did God want Abraham to learn through the years of training? What kind of faith does God want his people to have?
* Galatians 3 expounds greatly on what this means to us today. It states, "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.
2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
4 Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing?
5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6 Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.
8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."
9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."
12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.
16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.
17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.
18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
* A study on this promise and the other promises God made to Abraham, according to what Paul says in Galatians is very important to believers today.
Paul is saying that those whom came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah has inherited the promise given to Abraham.
The eschatology of premillennialism (a view in Christian end-times theology named for its acceptance of the theory that Jesus Christ will have a thousand-year long physical reign on the earth.) can state that the promises to Abraham here and earlier in Genesis in light of Galatians 3 have not been fulfilled since at no time in history has Israel spiritual or literal have had complete control of all the cities from Egypt's river (Wadi el-'Arish or Nile) to the Euphrates River. Therefore, it has to be a future fulfilment, most likely during the Millennium.
One of many good sources on this subject is BASIC THEOLOGY by Charles C. Ryrie published by Victory Books (pages 439-457, especially page 455).
Genesis 22:19 "Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba."
* Abraham's faith must have been very satisfying at this time.
>12. Who is Milcah and her sons? (Job 32:2) Reumah and her sons?
Genesis 22:20-24 "Some time later Abraham was told, "Milcah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor: Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram), Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel." Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah bore these eight sons to Abraham's brother Nahor. His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maacah."
* Nahor descendants became the ancestors of twelve Aramean tribes.