Verses: Genesis 22:2-3, 9-10
“And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of” (Genesis 22:2).
“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:3).
“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood” (Genesis 22:9).
“And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:10).
Abraham sacrificing Issac is a well-known Bible story. When Abraham was one hundred years old and his wife Sarah was ninety, God promised him a son. In Abraham’s opinion, as his wife had been beyond the age of getting pregnant, having a son seemed to be impossible. But as soon as God promised it, it was fulfilled. When Issac was more than ten years old, God tested Abraham and asked him to offer Issac as a burnt offering. Then Abraham followed God’s instructions, and he therefore received great blessings from God. In this story, what are the redeeming qualities of Abraham?
1. Abraham’s Innocence and Honesty
As the following verse says, “And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of” (Genesis 22:2). We can see Abraham was asked to go to offer his son. This really isn’t in accord with our conceptions or comprehensible. We thought it was impossible to give birth to a child at the age of ninety, but God gave a son to them. Yet, when his son was about ten years old, Abraham was asked to offer his son for the burnt offering. It seemed that God’s requirements were incredible. Then, what was God’s will? Why did God do that? If this happened to us, we would probably be full of suspicions, misunderstanding, complaints, and even abuse. But how did Abraham respond?
He saddled his donkey and took Isaac to the place God had told him. Arriving there, he bound his son Isaac, laid him on the altar on the wood, and then he took the knife and was ready to slay his son. How astonishing his series of actions were. Yet Abraham did it. From this story, we know Abraham is a pure, honest, and good-natured person. Though there was no Bible to read and he was not able to learn more about the will of God at his time, with great pain, Abraham still obeyed God. He had no arguments, no complaints, and no conflicts, and much less hostility toward God, he simply was submissive to Him and followed His words, and acted based on His words. This shows us Abraham’s humanity is beyond the reach of us.
2. His Genuine Faith Toward God.
Trials are the greatest ways to test our faith. In our conceptions, we always expect God is the God who bestows grace and blessing upon man, but not the God who deprives man of anything. In the Old Testament age, Jehovah God gave the manna to the Israelites during their forty years of life in the wilderness not planting. In the New Testament age, the Lord Jesus performed many miracles—feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, etc. The work of God is indeed marvellous and He does not work according to man’s notions. He blesses man and deprives man of anything and behind it there is His will, but we cannot see it through. When the trial comes, we are seized by panic, misunderstand, complain against, and even turn our back on God and leave Him. But when Abraham was tested and asked to offer his beloved only son, Isaac, he did not doubt God’s intentions, much less did he leave God. Instead, Abraham practiced his faith through his actual action, proclaiming that his faith was true and whether he was blessed or cursed, his faith didn’t change. Therefore, he is worthy of the title of the ‘father of faith.’
3. His Total Submission to God
God is the Creator and we are created by Him, and therefore we should submit to His orchestration and arrangement. For this reason, God will test whether we obey Him with many trials and things that are not in line with our notions. When God’s trials come upon us, we find many of them are hard for us to accept and even incomprehensible, but Abraham showed total submission to God. God asked him to offer Isaac as the burnt offering, so he acted based upon God’s instructions—taking the knife to slay his son. When he responded with this astonishing action, God saw his sincerity and his unconditional obedience, and was pleased with this. Because God did not want the life of Isaac, He sent His angel to stop Abraham just in time. Abraham did not know God’s intention, nor did he know it was just a test. Therefore, it was precious that he demonstrated his total submission to God.
We usually can’t understand why God still keeps trying us and testing us though we have forsaken much and spent a lot. It is actually because we haven’t given our true hearts to God, much less unconditional obedience to Him, and because we don’t show God our hearts and obey God just like Abraham, who raised his knife to slay his son and sacrifice him to God. That’s why God keeps subjecting us to trials. We should imitate Abraham, whose obedience to God is an example for us.
Abraham had so many extraordinary merits and therefore was greatly blessed by God. God made him the leader who could undertake His management plan and through his descendants, God would complete his management plan of salvation for human. This meant God’s blessing to Abraham was not temporary; it was to all generations. If we are possessed of the innocent and honest humanity of Abraham, possess his faith and obedience to God, and act according to God’s commands, then we will definitely receive God’s blessings and be given all that we need, for the Lord Jesus said, “For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:32-33).
» Read more on our Sermons on Abraham page, or click on the related articles below: