Giving What God Asks

MEMORY SELECTION: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” —Hebrews 11:17


THE experience of Abraham recorded in our lesson today was the supreme test of faith in his life.

The account reads, in Genesis 22:2,5, “And he said, “Take now thy son, thine only … Isaac, whom thou lovest, 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. … 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.”

As Abraham left his entourage to go with Isaac to the mountain that God had indicated, he revealed why he was able to carry out God’s command even though he suffered agony in his heart. He said, “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Abraham had unfaltering faith in the promises of God, and he believed that what Jehovah had promised he would perform, even if it required that Isaac be restored to life.

The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 11:17-19, recounts this incident as an evidence of Abraham’s abounding faith: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

From the account given in Genesis 22:9-11 we learn that God permitted Abraham to build the altar and to bind and place Isaac on the altar upon the wood. “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” (vs. 10) But an angel of the Lord stayed Abraham’s hand and provided a ram for a burnt offering instead of Isaac. But God had tested Abraham’s faith to the uttermost, for he knew that in his heart Abraham was prepared to carry out God’s instruction. Hence, the Apostle Paul could say that Abraham received Isaac from the dead in a figure.

We can understand that it was necessary for Isaac to live, in order that the promises made to Abraham might be fulfilled. Everything was centered in Isaac and his ability to propagate the seed.

We also understand that the experience of Abraham was designed by the Heavenly Father to be a picture of the reality; that is, how God gave his only begotten Son as a sacrifice in order that mankind might have an opportunity for life. We think of the statement of Jesus himself in John 3:16,17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

But this gift to the world was not without immense cost to God. For just as Abraham suffered in offering the dearest treasure of his heart, so God must have suffered untold anguish in permitting his beloved Son to die the horrible death of the cross.

It was necessary also that Jesus live so that the promises of God might be fulfilled. The merit of Jesus’ sacrifice was efficacious to lift adamic condemnation from the human race, but this would not have accomplished God’s purpose of restoring mankind to perfection. God’s plan of restoration calls for a long period of training in order that mankind, when brought back from the grave, might learn righteousness and have a real opportunity to be obedient and thus earn life.—Acts 3:19-23

This is to be accomplished during the thousand years of Christ’s kingdom. Since Jesus is to be the Mediator of this arrangement he, of necessity, had to be resurrected. And so Jesus became the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Cor. 15:20) It is necessary, also, that the church, which is to be associated with Jesus in the great work of mediation, be resurrected and exalted to the divine nature; for Christ and his church together are the seed of Abraham, the spiritual seed of blessing.—Galatians 3:16.27-29

Dawn Bible Students Association
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