Genesis 22 gives the story of Abraham’s obedience to God being tested. I could give you the rundown, but instead I’ll let you read it for yourself.
1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. 5 Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” 15 Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord , because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba. (Genesis 22:1-19; NASB)
Verse 8 is the key point of this, but I will return to it later. As a background, Isaac was the son promised to Abraham and Sarah in their old age to allow Israel to come into existence. To have sacrificed him would have meant the end of Israel. Yet Abraham obeyed and prepared to sacrifice him as God told, and his obedience was rewarded.
But the point of this is not to show how God rewarded Abraham. It is to show how God has continually provided the sacrifice for us. Verse 8 shows Abraham’s faith in this and verses 12-14 show how this becomes reality through God.
The bigger picture lies further down the road, though. Through Abraham’s obedience, God was able to provide the final sacrifice for our sin through Christ. Being of Israel, the birth of Jesus would have not occurred had Abraham disobeyed. And even though the birth of Christ would not occur for thousands of years, Abraham continued to believe God would provide a sacrifice. Hebrews 11:8-19 details this:
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number , and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore .
13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called .” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. (Hebrews 11:8-19; NASB)
Even though the birth of the Saviour wouldn’t come during his lifetime, he knew that God would not fail His creation. And Abraham’s faith became his salvation. Though he knew none of Christ’s life or the ministry of the Apostles, he still believed God would bring his sacrifice and his faith saved him.
If Abraham could have the faith to believe God would send the Saviour thousands of years before He came and live each day for that Saviour, then why can’t we live the same? God has given us the way to Him through Christ, just as Abraham believed He would. And just as Abraham’s faith saved him, our faith in Christ’s sacrifice will save us.
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