Posted By Nan

Genesis 22:1-19

This is a significant story in the journey to Jesus’ arriving on earth as a tiny baby.

Abraham has finally received the long promised son at 100 years old. This is the son God has promised to build a mighty nation with and bless all people on earth. Years go by and Abraham lives happily with his son. He loves him dearly. He must have looked on him as the fulfilment of God’s promise to him.

But a day arrives when God asks the impossible of Abraham. He asks him to take his son, who he loves, and sacrifice him.

What must that have been like to hear that. Here is the son God has given Abraham in his old age. Here is the son who will fulfil God’s prophesy and now God wants him dead?

It must have required a lifetime of obedience to God to do as he was asked.

He took his son and journeyed three days to the place God wanted him to sacrifice Isaac. 

Abraham’s words as he approached the mountain suggested a great faith in God’s promise and an expectation that God had a plan. He left his servants at the foot of the mountain and told them he and Isaac would return. 

Later, as Abraham walked with his son up the mountain, Isaac asked him where the sheep for the burnt offering was. Abraham responded that God would provide.

He had great faith that all would be well. 

Isaac for his part happily carried the wood for the burnt sacrifice. 

Abraham and Isaac reached the place for the sacrifice and built the altar and laid the wood out. Then Abraham reached for Isaac to kill him. Even at this point, with no apparent alternative to killing Isaac, he was prepared to do it.

I remember hearing this story as a child. I remember thinking of how terrifying this must have been for Isaac. He was young and strong enough to carry the wood up the mountain while his father carried a light load. It has been suggested in some commentaries that Isaac could easily have overthrown his father and escaped. Yet he didn’t.

Isaac carried the wood to sacrifice him on. And he was obedient to his father’s plan to sacrifice him.

Of course we know the ending. God commanded Abraham to stop and provided a ram to sacrifice instead. God had the evidence of Abraham’s faithfulness and his suitability to be the one whose descendants would become as numerous as the stars in heaven and whose descendant would bless all people on earth.

There are great parallels to Jesus here. 

Jesus is the only son of God just as Isaac was the only son of Abraham. Okay we know about Ishmael. Despite his existence, God repeated the words “your only son” several times in this passage. That is no mistake on God’s part. Isaac was the son the promises prophesy would be fulfilled through, and he was the son God intended Sarah and Abraham to have. So Abraham demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his only son, just as God willingly sacrificed his only son. Of course, in the case of Abraham, he had faith in God to believe that God would save Isaac. God allowed Jesus to be sacrificed with no alternative.

Abraham left his home on a journey that took three days. He told his servants he and Isaac would go up the mountain and return. This is a great parallel to Jesus death and return after 3 days. 

Isaac carried his own wood up the mountain, just as Jesus carried his own cross.

Isaac was young and strong enough to have fought off his father and run away, yet he didn’t. he obediently submitted to what his father was about to do. Just as Jesus submitted to His father’s will in sacrificing Him for our salvation.

Studying the Old Testament reveals much about God’s promises. When we look, we see so many instances of God’s plan for our redemption. 

If we look at this plan we can, like Abraham, have faith in God and His plans. We can see how they come about, in God’s time. 

 
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Nan
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