1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.
God had given Abraham his promised heir, Isaac. But now God was asking Abraham to do something outrageous. Take Isaac on a mountain and sacrifice the one son whose offspring is to lead to a multitude of nations. How can God’s promise to Abraham be fulfilled if the son of promise is dead? Multitudes don’t come from dead promises.
Abraham is faced with a dilemma… Trust God to come through on his promise despite the death of his son; or choose his own alternate path because it seems like a better way. There is no way God would call him to do something so radical because after all, God promised Isaac. Abraham is faced with the choice of trusting God’s provision, or trusting in his own.
Discussion: Is choosing to trust God’s provision more difficult than trusting our own? Why or why not? Why would God ask this of Abraham?
Talking points: God wanted to see Abraham’s faith in action. God wants to see faith in action. God was looking to see if Abraham trusted in His divine provision or trusted in his own.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Abraham trusted in God’s deliverance, and Hebrews 11:19 states that Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead to deliver on His promise, so he went up on the mountain.
Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness, not b/c he was such a good man, but because he trusted in God’s provision. Abraham trusted in God’s provision so much that as he was about to go through with the sacrifice of his son, God in his grace provided a substitute. Isaac therefore received life and the ram God provided in the thicket was sacrificed in his place.
Years later God would take a boy, an innocent boy of promise; one who was to give life to a multitude of people just as Isaac was to do. This time however when this boy was offered up as a sacrifice on Mount Calvary, God was providing His substitute so that His heirs could receive life. In Genesis 22 we see the grace of God in the gift of a ram in a thicket. At the crucifixion we see the grace of God in the gift of His son Jesus. Jesus became our substitute. Jesus is God’s provision for our life and salvation.
Discussion: How does the phrase “Jesus in my place” change how you look at your life?
Discussion: What do you need to trust in God to provide for you?