Genesis Lesson 14

Genesis Lesson 14

Genesis 22

Abimelech, Isaac, and Ishmael

Abraham’s sin of saying Sarah was his sister to protect himself, not only diminished his view of God, it elevated his view of himself.  I had not considered that the flip side of not trusting in God is trusting in oneself. 

Application:  This week, my dad decided to move in with us. The unknown of how it will go tempt me to be fearful. Since God doesn’t call us to do something and then expect us to accomplish it in our own strength, I’m making a conscious effort to put my whole trust in Him, and not fall back on my own grossly limited understanding and strength. Result = peace. And I’m looking forward to it.

I do have anxiety about my family. I will pray and trust God, believing that He sees me and my family and cares more than you can imagine. The example of God’s concern and care for Ishmael only comforts me up to a point. Since I can see the evil caused by his offspring, it does not seem like a blessing. It concerns me that so many of the patriarchs’ offspring turned away from God. I look for any encouragement to cling to concerning my children and grandchildren. Abraham had specific promises that were fulfilled, including they will be exiled for 400 years. Could Abraham have bargained with God concerning the exile the same way he bargained with God about Sodom?

God tested Abraham’s trust that He would do what He promised.

Make a great nation of Isaac whose conception and birth resulted from a promise and a miracle.

I believe it was a test of trust and obedience for Abraham, and for Isaac. Josephus, the Jewish historian, said Isaac was 25 when this occurred. So, this example of obedience and trust profoundly affected his life and his understanding of its importance in God’s plan. Surely, he had heard his family’s history, the promises, the encounters with God, the mistakes, and the challenges. This test did not drive Abraham and Isaac away from each other or away from God. It likely brought them closer to each other and to God.

God knew what it would cost Abraham when He said,

“Your only son; whom you love.”

With this command, Abraham might have wondered if Yahweh, the God of the covenant and creator of heaven and earth, was like the pagan gods the Canaanites and others worshiped. By the end of this story, Abraham knew that God was not like the pagan gods that demanded human sacrifice. In truth, He was just the opposite.1

The depth of Abraham’s obedience

  • early in the morning (Genesis 22:3)
  • cut enough wood for a burnt offering (Genesis 22:3)
  • set out for the place God told him to go (Genesis 22:3)
  • told the servants to stay behind while he and Isaac went to worship and offer the sacrifice (Genesis 22:5)
  • took the wood for burnt offering and put it on Isaac’s back (Genesis 22:6)
  • Abraham carried the knife and the fire himself (Genesis 22:6)
  • Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. (Genesis 22:9)
  • tied up Isaac and placed him on the altar (Genesis 22:9)
  • took the knife and raised his hand to kill Isaac (Genesis 22:10)

Obedience in the land of the living.

Personal application

  • Love others instead of trying to fix them. (Look for their virtues instead of their flaws.)
  • Take my aging father into our house and lovingly care for him.
  • Love and help my son care for his large family and ailing wife.
  • Write and share it.

Genesis 22:1–10

Abraham’s relationship with Isaac

  • God says, “take the son whom you love” Gen. 22:2
  • The young man, Isaac, was apparently willing to go with his dad “early in the morning”. Having had three sons, that’s a biggie. Or maybe he made him go. They were camping along the way, since it took three days to get there.
  • “My father.” “Here I am, son.”—dialog in Gen. 22:7
  • The Lord said, “. . . since you have done this and have not withheld [from Me] or begrudged [giving Me] your son, your only son,” Gen. 22:16 AMP
  • They must have worshiped and offered sacrifices together before since Isaac asks, “Where is the sacrifice?” I wonder why it took him three days to realize they didn’t bring one.

Issac’s attitude

I hope Isaac heard God’s audible voice along with Abraham. I wonder what Isaac thought about his dad sending Ishmael away, even though it seems likely he knew God said to do it.

Our children, even as adults, wonder about things. It would have crossed his mind that Abraham might decide one day—or be instructed by God—to send him away, too.

Since Abraham likely spent a great deal of time with Isaac, I think it’s safe to assume he shared with him many if not all of his encounters with God and how long he and Sarah waited for and desperately longed for a son. Perhaps that was enough to overcome any doubts he had. Abraham’s love for his son was doubtless clear throughout Isaac’s life prior to this point.

This incident proved to Isaac that Abraham put God first.

If Isaac was willingly laying down his life like Christ as the additional scripture references for this question imply, why did Abraham tie him up?

Guzik makes a good point—

At this time, Abraham was more than 100 years old and Isaac would have been able to escape his coming death had he chosen to. Yet he submitted to his father perfectly. In remembering Abraham’s faith, we should never forget Isaac’s faith.

The following quote is especially exciting!

Some Jewish commentators think Isaac was in his thirties at the time of this event. “The younger man, perhaps five-and-twenty—so Josephus thinks—possibly thirty-three years of age, and, if so, very manifestly the type of Christ, who was about that age when he came to die” (Spurgeon).

That said, this story contains much symbolism that foreshadows Christ’s crucifixion:

  • The three-day journey—Jesus was raised on the third day.
  • Jewish tradition holds that the location of this sacrifice is in the same area as Calvary/Golgotha and Solomon’s temple.
  • Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice on his back.—They forced Jesus to carry the cross on which they crucified him. (John 19:17)
  • Abraham’s faith was strong enough to believe that God would raise Isaac up even if he died. (Hebrews 11:19) —Just as God later raised Christ from the dead.
  •  At Abraham’s advanced age and if Isaac was in fact 25, as believed, it seems tying up a young man against his will would have proved quite difficult. So we assume that Isaac willingly laid down his life just as Jesus did.
  • God supplied a ram to die in Isaac’s place.—Jesus died in our place.

Mount Moriah in scripture

—Threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite which David bought to offer his sacrifice to the Lord where the Angel of the Lord stopped the plague. (2 Samuel 24:10-25)

—Site where Solomon built his temple. (2 Chronicles 3:1)

Like God, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son.

He believed God’s promise that nations would come from him and knew that the promise would be fulfilled through his son Isaac. Isaac’s death could not stop God’s plan. What amazing faith and obedience!

Today, since we have the word of God, we are encouraged by pastors and teachers to judge everything by it. It is amazing to me that Abraham was convinced he had heard from God with regard to sacrificing Isaac. Genesis 22:1-2 says God spoke to Abraham, calling him by name. It must have been audible or otherwise unmistakably God speaking. As far as the scriptures tell us, Abraham did not question or argue. He had come a long way.

I desire to learn to hear His voice unmistakably. I will say there have been times I know that I know, but other times I find it necessary to test the spirits. There have also been a couple of times I thought I was certain, and in retrospect, it doesn’t appear that I did.

Hebrews 11:17-19 illustrates Genesis 22.

  • Genesis 22:1 and Hebrews 11:17 say God tested Abraham.
  • Genesis 22:9-10 and Hebrews 11:17—Abraham was about to sacrifice his son.
  • Genesis 22:18 and Hebrews 11:18—the descendants promised to Abraham would come through his son Isaac.
  • Genesis 22:12 and Hebrews 11:19—Abraham received his son back from the dead, so to speak, because he was about to sacrifice Isaac when God stopped him and provided a substitution.

Joy

The love between Abraham and Isaac brought joy.

Isaac was the product of life from Sarah and himself, whose bodies “were as good as dead” because of their advanced age.

God spoke saying, “don’t do it” when Abraham lifted the knife over Issac’s body.

There is also joy in obedience when you know and trust the faithfulness of God.

Jesus knew the divine purpose for which He must endure the cross. This plan had been in place for ages and generations, so although he understood what it would cost him, He took joy knowing the victorious outcome.

Testimony

I experienced unexpected joy when I gave up a house I loved. Some wonderful relationships developed. The sacrifice continues as we deal with the challenges of making our new house livable on a tight budget. Knowing that this is the will of God concerning us gives us the strength to persevere.

I can see God fulfilling desires of my heart. I could not and would not have designed this plan on my own, but God’s imagination in weaving this three-dimensional tapestry leaves me in awe.

Purpose of a substitute—serves to take the place of, instead of, something else.

When Abraham was obedient, God provided a ram, caught by the horns.

God provided His only Son to die in my place. (1 John 4:9-10)

I responded to His knock at the door of my heart, opened the door and invited Him in, and realizing I needed a redeemer, I accepted the gift of a clean, white garment of righteousness.

Genesis 22:10-14

Abraham looked around and saw a ram caught in a thicket. After untying Isaac (no doubt), he sacrificed the ram in worship.

So, if God gives me a new command, stop what I was about to do, look around for the substitute. This situation was a test, so I think there wouldn’t likely be a change in plan or a substitute otherwise. The main thing Abraham did was follow-through on the plan to worship on that mountain.

Genesis 22:15-24

God’s covenant with Abraham

Yahweh’s angel called to Abraham out of the sky: “I have sworn by myself” (because there is no one greater to swear by)

God rewarded Abraham for his faith with these promises—

  • I will bless you.
  • I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens & the sand on the seashore.
  • Your heir will possess the gate of his enemies.
  • In your Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. (Acts 3:24-26)

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Isaac was a living sacrifice in that he did not have to die, but he came close and was willing to be a sacrifice.

Abraham lived his life as a living sacrifice. He left his home and family when God told him to go. He was obedient throughout his life, yielding his right to choose the best land to his nephew Lot. His ultimate test and sacrifice was his willingness to sacrifice his only son, whom he dearly loved.

A friend’s sacrifice

One of my friends was very ill with Crohn’s disease for more than a decade. God restored her health, so she dedicated her life to Him by beginning an outreach to children in a trailer park. She recruited volunteers to help tutor kids, raised funds for school supplies, taught classes on nutrition, and told them that Jesus loves them. Years later, her outreach celebrated with the first high school graduates of that neighborhood in over two decades.

I can offer myself by being obedient and doing the things God has called me to do—Serve my husband and my family, offer help and encouragement even when I feel like complaining . . . and write.

Genesis 23—Abraham buys land in Canaan to bury Sarah.

Abraham purchased a cave and the surrounding land as a burial site for Sarah.

He purchased land in Canaan, the land God promised to him and his descendants forever.

Matthew 6:20-21 “But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Romans 12:2  “Don’t be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”
I think it depends on whether the possessions own us or we own them, and how tightly we hold on to them. God blessed Abraham with great wealth on earth. Some who are poor, worship wealth, and some who are wealthy, do not consider it important.
Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God, and all of these other things would be added to us.Things are becoming less important to me. They require maintenance, cleaning, and space, and many aren’t useful. Older family members keep giving me things that were once important to them. I feel a sense of obligation to hang on to them, although most of the stuff has become more of a burden than a blessing.

I can’t seem to get a handle on this question as it relates to my faith in God and His promises to me.  He has always provided for us.  In fact, most years when we do our taxes, I can’t imagine how we managed to feed ourselves, pay our bills, and stay out of debt.

I believed for years giving was all about giving to support “the church” i.e. the minister’s salary and a commercial building. Then I realized the new testament talks about helping each other. So most of my giving these days is to help a struggling friend who lost her full-time job several years ago and has been under-employed ever since; to help a friend who spends hours every day feeding the poor; and to a ministry that provides housing, training, and assistance and training to men released from prison.

Abraham’s test is hard to imagine.

It challenges me to judge my own life.  What am I unwilling to sacrifice?  Do I truly trust God and believe His promises?  Although I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24b)


Originally posted February 8, 2013 Updated January 9, 2021

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Resources

1 EnduringWord.com

2 AWM Living Commentary

3 Spirit Filled Life Bible*

4 New Living Bible Translation*

5 ESV Bible Translation*

6 Strong’s Concordance, public domain

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My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Genesis Lesson 13 day 2

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