Giving All

Key Verse: “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.”
—Genesis 22:12

Selected Scripture:
Genesis 22:1-19

THE TEST OF ABRAHAM by God was most unusual and severe, not understood by many in the Christian world. After twenty-five agonizing years of waiting for the promised seed, the miracle child, Isaac, was born. Now God was asking Abraham (about twenty years later) to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering on Mt. Moriah. Although he must have been confused by such a request since Isaac was the seed of promise, again Abraham obeyed. This request by God was prefiguring another great offering to come in the future.

When the party organized by Abraham reached the mountain for this sacrifice, Abraham and Isaac climbed the rest of the way alone while the others waited below. An interesting conversation took place as father and son trudged up the mountain. Isaac asked, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” and Abraham replied, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” (Gen. 22:7,8) It is interesting that Isaac knew that an appropriate offering would be a lamb. Ever since the days of Abel, and all throughout Israel’s experiences and rituals, lambs were used to prefigure an important offering. This offering was identified by John the Baptist when he saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”—John 1:29

Abraham was prompted to go ahead with this strange request to slay his son as a burnt offering. The Apostle Paul said Abraham expected God “to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead.” (Heb. 11:17-19) Instead, God stayed Abraham’s hand before he used the knife to kill Isaac, and “a ram caught in a thicket” (Gen. 22:13) was substituted for Isaac as a burnt offering. We note that the sacrifice of Isaac was accomplished in God’s eyes by seeing Abraham’s willingness to slay Isaac, and Isaac’s willingness to be slain. As a strapping twenty-year-old, able to carry the wood up the mountain (Gen. 22:6-9), if he had objected to being slain Isaac could have easily overcome his aged, 120-year-old father. When Abraham told Isaac, ‘God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering,’ he again spoke prophetically. He was pointing to the time when God would give “his only begotten Son” in sacrifice to remove not only our sins, but “the sins of the whole world.” (John 3:16; I John 2:2) A lamb was recognized as an appropriate burnt offering. Now it was also clearly indicated that an important offering in the future was to be that of a beloved son.

Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13) So it was with God, the Father, who ‘so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son’ that all might live. God did not die as part of a ‘trinity’; he is immortal and cannot die. (I Tim. 6:16) But by giving his Son he gave all that was important to him.

His Son gave up his all that we might live. And we are asked to give our lives in the service of God. May we do so more willingly through understanding this beautiful picture: Abraham represents God the Father; and Isaac, represents Jesus, his Son.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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