Posts Tagged ‘Genesis 22’

The biblical story of Abraham’s sacrificing Isaac disturbs a lot of people. God finally gives him the promised child to make his descendants as numerous as the stars, then asks Abraham to sacrifice that child before he is old enough to have descendants.

Now, Abraham’s a rational guy! If Isaac dies before having children then God’s promise is toast! But scripture tells us about Abraham’s thought process on this.

Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son… Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. – Hebrews 11:17a,19a (MESSAGE)

Abraham’s obedience was more than an act of devotion, it was an act of faith – confident God would still follow through on his word even if it required Isaac to be raised from death.

So Abraham wasn’t lying to his servants when he told them on the way out that he AND Isaac would return from the sacrifice (Genesis 22:5) – he believed it and became the father of faith!

– fritz@langgang.com
Related Post: Swallowing Frogs – March 24, 2011

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Swallowing Frogs

God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. – Genesis 22:2b-3 (NIV)

Abraham was told to do something he really didn’t want to do – sacrifice his promised and long-awaited for son, Isaac. He did not put it off, drag his feet, or delay but arose early.

If you must do something you really don’t want to do, it’s better to get it over with as soon as possible. My dad had a saying, “If you have to swallow a frog it’s best not to look at him too long!”

True obedience is early obedience.

– fritz

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Abraham …bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar … But the angel of  the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” …  “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” …  Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram … and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. – Genesis 22:9b-12-13 (NIV)

Why such a story like this in our Bible? A man being told to kill his son on an altar – the idea is repugnant to us today!

But human sacrifice was often demanded by the gods and religions of Abraham’s day.  What could be more dear to a man than his only son, and what could show his devotion more than sacrificing that son on an altar.

But the God of the Bible is different; Abraham had to learn that and so do we.  In this one event God established two (2) critical lessons:

  1. God doesn’t want human sacrifice like the other gods (demons) required. He’s not interested is us giving him some thing, no matter how dear, he wants us to give him ourselves.
  2. God institutes the concept of substitution.  God, himself, provides the substitute – here it was a ram for a son, but later it would be Christ tasting death1 for us that we may go free.

So, how was the sacrifice of Christ NOT human sacrifice?  Because it was Christ’s self-sacrifice.  Jesus was not the victim2 but the instigator and voluntary participant. He was on a mission – not to satisfy some whim of a deity but to free mankind from the bondage of sin.

Charles Wesley, an Anglican priest, brother to John Wesley and co-founder of Methodism expressed it this way,

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

– fritz
1 – Hebrews 2:9
2 – John 10:17-18, Matthew 26:53
3 – Hymn, “Oh For A Thousand Tongues” by Charles Wesley

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