- Sermon Notes
Genesis chapter 22 is one of the most important chapters in the entire Old Testament: In this chapter is one of the clearest pictures of Jesus offering
Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. In this chapter we understand how the Temple in Jerusalem came to be located there on Mount Moriah. And in this
chapter, we understand what victorious faith looks like when Abraham’s faith is brought to the ultimate test.
When it comes to our relationship to God, faith is everything, but faith is meant to be used, it’s meant to be the foundation for how you live. And faith
is like exercise, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. You can’t say, “I tried that faith thing and it didn’t work for me.” That’s like saying,
“I tried the going to the gym thing, but it didn’t work for me.” Well, it would help if you did something while you were there.
Abraham is called the father of our faith, but he didn’t start out in his relationship with God always being victorious, Abraham grew in his faith. There
were times when he failed, but Genesis 22 is about Abraham’s spectacular victory!
At this point, Abraham is an old man. He has walked with God many years, and God is now giving him the greatest test of his life. God is going to ask him
to place on the altar that which meant the most to him.
There is so much personal application in this study because we all hold on to things and God wants to know if we will truly trust Him in our lives or not.
Are we willing to lay them before God and give them to Him with complete trust?
I. Faith Must be Tested
- This is the first time the word ‘test’ is used in the bible, but not the first time Abraham has been tested in his faith.
- There was the ‘Follow God Test,” when God called Abram to leave his father’s house and relatives and go to a place he had not known. He probably would
get a ‘C’ on that one. He got halfway and stopped, and God had to urge him on again. He ended up taking his nephew Lot with him which ended badly.
- Then there was the ‘Famine Test.’ When a famine hit the land, he ended up going to Egypt for provisions, said a half-truth, which of course is a whole
lie. This got him a rebuke from the Pharaoh and escorted out of the country. He got an ‘F’ on that one.
- Then there was the ‘Conflict Test,’ when Lot’s herdsman and Abraham’s had tension over grazing rights. Abraham offered Lot that he could choose whatever
land he wanted, and Abraham would take what was left. On that test, Abraham got an ‘A.’
- And of course, we can’t forget the ‘Fatherhood Test.’ God promised him a son, but Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands and Sarah offered
her handmaiden Hagar. The result was trouble that continues to this day.
- Even though Abraham and Sarah failed, however, God’s promises did not fail.
At this point, God fulfilled His promise of giving Abraham a son and their house has been filled withed laughter and joy since God gave them Isaac when
Sarah was 90 years old.
- But will Abraham’s confidence be in his son, or in God who gave him his son?
A. Give God that which means most
- For there to be a test, it must be regarding something we care about.
Illus – There are several scriptures that forbid the Jews to eat vultures, bats, and a goodly number of insects; I can honestly say that I have passed
this test with flying colors!
Illus – Some people take exercise too far, or their career, or even their cell phone. People stand in line at Starbucks and they’re all looking at their
cell phones; people don’t talk to each other anymore. Although, recently I went into Cracker Barrel and there was a gentleman sitting by himself outside
next to a game of checkers…I couldn’t help myself, I had to say, “Who’s turn is it?”…
- Had Isaac become an idol in Abraham’s life? When Isaac was weaned Abraham made a great feast. Really? Because he was weaned? Would he be one of those
Illus – I understand, first born kids are special; you celebrate every achievement, then, after three or four kids, it’s like, “Hey, your kid’s outside
eating dirt.” You respond, “Yeah, whatever, it’ll help his immune system.” But the first child? That’s different.
- God tells Abraham to take his only son whom he loves…this is the first time the word love is used in the scriptures, by the way.
- God is revealing something about Himself through this test as well.
- This is a story about God giving His own son.
Illus – “Love” is first mentioned in the book of Matthew in 3:17, “this is my beloved son…” The same is true in Luke. Then in John, the first mention
of love is when Jesus said, “God so loved the world…”
Ray Boltz wrote… “The Altar”
- Abraham rose early in the morning and began to prepare the journey. He saddled his own donkey and split the wood himself, he didn’t leave it for others.
- In other words, he responded immediately. When God is telling us to let go of something, that’s the time to respond immediately. If we hold onto it,
we will find a way of talking ourselves into keeping it.
- There is a time to wait on the Lord, and there is a time to go immediately. Some people go when they should wait and wait when they should go.
- The key is to have discernment of listening to God and rightly discerning what He’s asking us.
App – God reveals areas in our lives where we need to be strengthened and He is preparing us for what He wants to do next in our lives.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these 40 years, that He might
humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed
you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man
lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”
II.Is Anything too Difficult for the Lord?
- Those words must have been ringing in Abraham’s ears. This is what God asked him when Sarah laughed when she heard that she would have a son in her
- Abraham decided that indeed, nothing was too difficult for the Lord. In fact, we know from the book of Hebrews that he believed God would raise Isaac
from the dead.
Hebrews 11:17-19, By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only
begotten son…for he considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.
A .Are you willing to trust God?
- That’s really the question of the hour. Abraham was willing to trust God with that which he held most dear.
- It would also appear that Isaac was willing. He was strong enough to carry the wood all the way up the mountain and he certainly could have resisted
a man who was probably more than 120 years old. But he was willing to trust his father’s faith in God.
- Willingness to let go is necessary; but some people insist on holding on.
Illus – When my girls were young we used to play a game where I would make a fist with something inside my hand and they would pry my fingers open.
Some people are that way with God, they hold on tightly and God has to pry their fingers open; when in reality God wants to help us.
Illus – I remember when my dad got to the point when I needed to run his finances for him. I wanted him to want my help and to give me his checkbook
willingly. In return, he would have much more.
- The question of willingness is important to God as well.
Illus – When Jesus came to the well of
John 5:6, When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish
to get well?”
- People want God in charge when something terrible happens and they become overwhelmed and they’re calling out, “Oh God, Oh God…” but mature
faith wants God in charge even when times are good.
Since God is revealing Himself in this story, it’s helpful to see that God so loved the world that he was willing to give His own son, and Jesus was willing
to give his life as an offering for our sin; for the joy set before him.Heb 12:2
A.Trusting God is also worship
- Verse 5, Abraham told the two men with them to wait while he and lad went up to worship.
- When we give something to God from our heart, we are certainly worshipping the Lord in it.
- What God desires, though, is that we would willingly give all our lives to Him, not just part.
Luke 10:27, And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with
all your mind;”
Romans 12:1-2, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which
is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove
what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Later, in what many believe to be the same place where Abraham offered Isaac, David made an altar to the Lord and the owner was willing to give the
land to David, but he insisted on paying full price…
2 Samuel 24:24, However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for the full price, for I will not offer burnt offerings
to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.”
- The Jews believe that the place where Abraham offered Isaac, where David gave an offering for his sin, is the same place where Solomon built the Temple
- However, the highest point of Mount Moriah is actually Golgotha, the place of the skull, where Jesus was crucified.
A.Trusting God is blessed of God
- Verses 15-18; God spoke again to Abraham and gave him great promises of blessing because of the trust that he had in God.
- When we hold onto things with clenched fist, then we cannot receive what God has in store for us.
- It’s only when we willingly let go of those things and trust God completely, that God can then place in our lives that which He knows is best.
- Abraham was given his son back to him and God provided Himself a ram.
- We know that this is a picture of God providing His Son in place of us. His life is given in exchange of our life. But if we insist on holding on to
our lives and not offering them to God, then we can’t receive the blessing He has in Christ.
it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Genesis 22:1-19 NASB
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.
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.”
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.