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Lesson Eleven: Abraham “Sacrifices” Isaac
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

When I think through some of the greatest examples of faith in the Bible, Abraham’s trust in God to the point of being willing to sacrifice his son, ranks near the top of my list. He heard God and obeyed. He did not argue, make excuses, or procrastinate. He knew his job was obedience; God’s job was to keep His word and raise up a nation through Isaac.

I like acronyms. I started researching acronyms for FAITH. “For All Is Through Him” is a good reminder that God is active in the world today. “Forsaking All I Trust Him” and “For Answers, I Trust Him” are both strong definitions of faith. I enjoy “Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him” because life is an amazing journey when we allow Him to steer. However, I think my favorite acronym is “Fear Ain’t In This House.” It might sound a little like street-talk, but it reminds us that we do not need to live in fear because God is in control.

Is there an acronym you enjoy?

Abraham did not fear because he knew God was in control and He would keep His word. Genesis chapter 22 records a powerful statement in faith. The story has four key sections.

1. God Called

God answered His promise as Abraham and Sarah have a son. Isaac has just become a teenager when God calls him.

Genesis 22:1-2 says, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 2 He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’”

What does God tell Abraham to do?

How would you expect Abraham to respond to God’s instructions?

2. Abraham Responded

God called, and Abraham responded. It sounds very simple. Although it is the right thing to do, it does not appear to be the easiest, popular, or most comfortable choice. Genesis 22:3-4 states Abraham’s response, “So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.”

How soon does Abraham respond?

What excuses would most people give for waiting before they responded?

3. Abraham Called

I am sure Abraham was preoccupied the whole trip up the mountain as he was talking with God. It reminds me of the statement, “As long as there are tests in school, there will be prayer.” This was a test, and there was prayer.

Genesis 22:5-10 says, “Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.’ And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.”

What statements show Abraham’s faith in God?

Why do you think Abraham did not have his servants climb the mountain with him?

How was Abraham like God?

How are Jesus and Isaac similar in their “sacrifice?” (i.e. Mount Moriah)

Hebrews 11:17-19 adds, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”

How does this passage relate to the scenario?

4. God Responded

This story has a beautiful ending. We often miss the miracle because we do not obey the call. By ignoring God’s direction, we miss the supernatural. Genesis 22:11-19 says, “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’ And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.’ So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.”

How do you think this situation affected Abraham’s faith?

How do you think Isaac viewed this situation in years to come?

The key phrase is “The Lord will provide.” There are other passages of Scripture that promise the same truth.

David said in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

In Philippians 4:19, Paul said, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Paul covers it again in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

How is God testing you right now?

What do you need to do and when will you start?

“God is able to accomplish, provide, help, save, keep, subdue… He is able to do what you can’t. He already has a plan. God’s not bewildered. Go to Him.” Max Lucado

James also reminded us of this story in James 2:20-24, “Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

“Though troubles assail, And dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail, And foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us, Whatever betide,
The Scripture assures us, the lord will provide.” John Newton


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