Genesis 22:1. And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt-
That is, “God did test or try”-
Genesis 22:1-2. Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son,
“But, Lord, I have two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.”
Genesis 22:2. Thine only son,
“But, Lord, both Ishmael and Isaac are my sons, and each of them is the only son of his mother.”
Genesis 22:2. Isaac, whom thou lovest,
See how definitely God points out to Abraham the son who is to be the means of the great trial of his father’s faith: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou loves”,”-
Genesis 22:2. And get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
It was usually the way, in God’s commands to Abraham, to make him sail under sealed orders. When he was first bidden to leave his country and his kindred, and his father’s house, he had to go to a land that God would shew him. They have true faith who can go forth at God’s command, not knowing whither they are going. So Abraham did, and now the Lord says to him, “Take Isaac, and offer him for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
Genesis 22:3. And Abraham rose up early in the morning,-
Obedience should be prompt, we should show our willingness to obey the Lord’s command by not delaying: “Abraham rose up early in the morning,”-
Genesis 22:3. And saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
All the details are mentioned, for true obedience is very careful of detail. They who would serve God aright must serve him faithfully in little things as well as in great ones. There must be a saddling of the ass, a calling of the two young men as well as Isaac, and a cleaving of the wood for the burnt offering. We must do everything that is included in the bounds of the divine command, and do it all with scrupulous exactness and care. Indifferent obedience to God’s command is practically disobedience, careless obedience is dead obedience, the heart is gone out of it. Let us learn from Abraham how to obey.
Genesis 22:4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
His was deliberate obedience; he could bear suspense, thinking over the whole matter for three days, and setting his face like a flint to obey his Lord’s command.
Genesis 22:5. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
Abraham did not deceive the young men, he believed that he and Isaac would come to them again. He believed that though he might be compelled to say his son, “God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Abraham bade the young men stay where they were, they must not see all that he was to do before the Lord. Oftentimes, our highest obedience must be a solitary one; friends cannot help us in such emergencies, and it is better for them and better for us that they should not be with us.
Genesis 22:6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife;
That knife was cutting into his own heart all the while, yet he took it. Unbelief would have left the knife at home, but genuine faith takes it.
Genesis 22:6-8. And they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Abraham here spoke like a prophet; in fact, throughout this whole incident, he never opened his mouth without a prophetic utterance; and I believe that, when men walk with God, and live near to God, they will possibly even without being aware of it, speak very weighty words which will have much more in them than they themselves apprehend. Is it not written, concerning the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, “his leaf also shall not wither”? Not only shall his fruit be abundant, but his casual word, “his leaf also shall not wither.” So was it with it Abraham. He spoke like a prophet of God when he was really speaking to his son in the anguish of his spirit, and in his prophetic utterance we find the sum end substance of the gospel: “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” He is the great Provider, and he provides the offering, not only for us, but for himself, for the sacrifice was necessary to God as well as to man. And it is a burnt offering, not only a sin-offering but an offering of a sweet savour unto himself. “So they went both of them together.” Twice we are told this, for this incident is a type of the Father going with the Son and the Son going with the Father up to the great sacrifice on Calvary. It was not Christ alone who willingly died, or the Father alone who gave his Son, but they went both of them together,” even as Abraham and Isaac did here.
Genesis 22:9. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there,
See him pulling out the large, rough, unhewn stones that lay round about the place, and then fling them up into an altar.
Genesis 22:9-10. And laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
So that, in intent and purpose, he had consummated the sacrifice, and therefore we read in Hebrew 11:17, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son.” He had virtually done so in the esteem of God though no trace of a wound could be found upon Isaac. How often God takes the will for the deed with his people! When he finds them willing to make the sacrifice that he demands, he often does not require it at their hands. If you are willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, it may be that you shall not be caused to suffer and if you are willing to be a martyr for the truth, you may be permitted to wear the martyr’s crown even though you are never called to stand at the stake, the scaffold or the block.
Genesis 22:11. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
Abraham always gives the same answer to the Lord’s call, “Here am I.”
Genesis 22:12. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
The needful test had been applied, and Abraham’s faith had endured the trial. God knows all things by his divine omniscience, but now he knew by this severe test and trial which he had applied, that Abraham really loved him best of all. Notice that the angel says, “Now I know that thou fearest God.” I do not think that the gracious use of godly fear has ever been sufficiently estimated by the most of us; here, the stress is not laid upon the faith, but upon the filial fear of Abraham. That holy awe, that sacred reverence of God is the very essence of our acceptance with him.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him.” This is a very different thing from slavish fear; it is a right sort of fear, the kind of fear that love does not cast out, but which love lives with in happy fellowship.
Genesis 22:13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
Here is another type of our Saviour’s great sacrifice on Calvary,-the ram offered in the place of Jesus. How often do you and I have our great Substitute very near to us, yet we do not see him because we do not lift up our eyes and look. “Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns.” So, if you lift up your eyes, and look the right, ay, you will see the great sacrifice close by you held fast for you, even as this ram was caught to die instead of Isaac. Oh, that you may have grace to turn your head in the right direction, and look to Christ and live!
Genesis 22:14. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
God will foresee; “God will”-as we usually say,-“provide,” which is being interpreted, fore-see. He will have everything ready against the time when it will be needed. He who provided the ram for a burnt offering in the place of Isaac will provide everything else that is required; and you may depend upon it that he who, in the greatest emergency that could ever happen, provided his only-begotten and well-beloved Son to die us the Substitute for sinners, will have foreseen every other emergency that can occur, and will have fore-provided all that is needful to meet it. Blessed be the name of Jehovah-jireh!
Genesis 22:15-16. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD,
“Because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.”
Genesis 22:16-18. For because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
There stands the old covenant, the covenant of grace made with Abraham concerning his seed. Paul writes to the Galatians, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” It is in Christ that all the nations of the earth are to be blessed. If there is a nation that has not yet heard the gospel, it must hear it, for so the promise stands, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” We may look for a glorious future from the preaching of Christ throughout every land, for so the covenant was made with Abraham because he had obeyed God’s voice.
God had been good to Abraham before that time, for he was his beloved friend, but now he lifts him up to a higher platform altogether, and makes him a greater blessing than ever. It may be that God is about to test and try some of you in order that he may afterwards make you to be greater and more useful than you have ever been before.
Genesis 22:19. So Abraham returned unto his young men,
As he said that he would.
Genesis 22:19. And they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
So the Lord bore his servant through this great trial, and blessed him more than he had ever blessed him before.
Genesis 22:15. And the angel of the lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee,—
“Whenever I am engaged in blessing, I will bless thee. I win not pronounce a benediction in the which thou shalt not share: ‘In blessing I will bless thee,’”—
Genesis 22:17-18. And in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore;and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
See the result of one man’s grand act of obedience, and note how God can make that man to be the channel of blessing to all coming ages. Oh, that you and I might possess the Abrahamic faith which thus practically obeys the Lord, and brings a blessing to all the nations of the earth!