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When God tests people
- Do you think God ever tests His people?
- Why might He test us?
Genesis 22:1-14 (HCSB)
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he answered.
“Take your son,” He said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. In his hand he took the fire and the sacrificial knife, and the two of them walked on together.
The Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.”
And he replied, “Here I am, my son.”
Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.
When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. The Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He replied, “Here I am.”
The He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.” Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.”
Why do you think God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son?
- The Angel of the Lord said, “…now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld your only son from Me.”
- If God is the one who commanded the sacrifice, and this Angel of the Lord was the recipient of the offering; then the Angel here must have been God (because God would not command anyone to worship a mere angel).
- The Angel of the Lord, in this passage, seems to be the pre-incarnate Christ. (Jesus acting and working before He was born as a human person).
- Remember that Jesus was born into the nation of Israel, a nation that came directly from Abraham.
- This test was so severe because Abraham’s role in bringing about the Messiah was so important.
- What we learn here is that God will test us according to the role He has for us on this earth.
- If we fear God, even when we are tested (not holding anything back), then He will give us the role He has tested us for.
Why do you think it was important that Abraham was asked to sacrifice his firstborn, and only legitimate son?
- Remember that Jesus, the messiah who died for all people, would be born into Abraham’s family line.
- Jesus is God’s eternal Son and the Firstborn of all creation.
- Abraham’s test foreshadowed the promise of the coming Messiah, who would come through his family line.
- It is amazing to think that the pre-incarnate Christ provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac, and would later give Himself as a substitute for all people; so that they might have eternal life.
- What we learn here as that God’s tests are not arbitrary, they have something to do with what He will call us to do.
What do you think Isaac’s role is in all of this?
- Most scholars think that Isaac was between the ages of 18-35 because he had grown beyond the years of a child and because when his mother died (which takes place after this) he was 35.
- Abraham was between 118-135 years old.
- Isaac had to trust his father and he also had to trust God as Abraham did.
- Isaac represented the fact that all people are deserving of death, and the Angel of the Lord provided a ram in his place.
- Earthly fathers pass sinfulness on to their children, which means they also pass death on to their children.
- God’s only begotten Son died as a substitute so that people can know God.
- This story is the Gospel proclaimed through the lives of Old Testament people.