Faithlife Sermons

BBBI - 2018.04.11 - Proof that God Can Be Trusted Fully (Gen. 22:1-19)

BBBI - OT101.2 - Genesis II  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:11:06
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Carrying our cross for Christ helps others see Jesus in their own lives, and prayerfully leads them to receive Him as the sacrifice for the sins in their own life.

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Introduction

Get Attention:
Illustration - Final Exams
Raise Need:
We need to understand how the tests that God bring into our lives help us pass the faith once delivered down to following generations
Orient Theme:
God tested Abraham by commanding him to offer the son of promise as a human sacrifice
Because Abraham feared God above all, he brought salvation not only to his son but also to the whole world through his son
Through your own fear of God, and obedient full worship of Him, others too my find salvation through Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, the substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world.
State Purpose:
Understand - the importance of your walk in the Fear of the Lord
Obey - be willing to lay down anything for God, no matter how irrational or impossible it may appear
Be willing to carry the cross for Christ, that others may Him in your life
Main Thought:
Carrying our cross for Christ helps others see Jesus in our lives, and prayerfully leads them to receive Him as the sacrifice for sins in their own life.
Sub-Introduction:
Connecting Context:
Abraham’s faith journey began well. He (as Abram) obeyed God’s call to pack his bags and head into the unknown. Though he and his wife were well advanced in years, Abraham trusted that God would somehow make them into a great nation—a nation through which all nations would be blessed.
But Abraham’s journey was not easy, and his faith showed fault lines at multiple points. Twice Abraham tried to save his own skin by passing his wife off as his sister—once to the Pharaoh of Egypt (Genesis 12) and once to the king of Gerar (Genesis 20). Abraham tried to engineer the fulfillment of God’s promise of offspring by fathering a child through his wife’s handmaid, Hagar (Genesis 16). Some students think that the decision to bring along Lot, the son of Abraham’s deceased brother, was Abraham’s attempt to ensure offspring in a legal sense.
These mistakes blew up in Abraham’s face. Even so, God did not forsake him. Instead, God gently taught Abraham the lessons he needed to learn along the way. But did Abraham truly learn from these lessons, or did Abraham merely harden his heart? Since God had kept His promise of providing Abraham with a son through his aged wife, Sarah (Genesis 21:1–7), would Abraham trust God in an ultimate test? [Ronald L. Nickelson and Jonathan Underwood, eds., The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2011–2012 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 2011), 138–139.]

I. God Sometimes Gives Tests (Gen. 22:1-2)

A. The Test Announced (Gen. 22:1).

Genesis 22:1 KJV 1900
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
State Point -
Moses announces that God would now tempt Abraham
Explain Point -
James 1:13 KJV 1900
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
[Apply Point] -
When we use the word tempt today, we often associate it with leading someone astray or enticing him or her to do something sinful. This is clearly not what God is doing with Abraham. James 1:13 makes clear that God does not tempt anyone to sin.
The Hebrew underneath the translation tempt is also translated “prove” in numerous instances (examples Exodus 16:4; 20:20), and that is the sense here. The idea is that of proving the worth of something by testing. Hebrews 11:17 supports this in saying that Abraham “was tried.” We can be sure that God is testing Abraham for the man’s own good.
This verse also introduces a phrase found three times in this chapter: Here I am (or “Here am I”). Though the phrase itself is not extraordinary, its repetition draws special attention to three crucial moments when Abraham responds to being addressed. The other two references are in Genesis 22:7, 11. [John C. Nugent et al., “The Lord Will Provide,” in The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2017–2018, ed. Jim Eichenberger et al., vol. 65 (Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing, 2018), 235.]

B. The Test Administered (Gen. 22:2).

Genesis 22:2 KJV 1900
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son 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.
State Point -
God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac
Explain Point -
God makes clear throughout the Old Testament that He vehemently opposes this practice (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2–5; 2 Kings 16:2, 3; Jeremiah 32:35). [John C. Nugent et al., “The Lord Will Provide,” in The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2017–2018, ed. Jim Eichenberger et al., vol. 65 (Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing, 2018), 235–236.]
Note - Three Views:
Some play it down by emphasizing that human sacrifice was a common custom.
Some say God only expected him to dedicate Isaac completely, not literally sacrifice him.
The truth is God commanded an actual human sacrifice, and Abraham fully intended to obey Him.
[Apply Point] -
The Value of Testing
In 1921, traffic fatalities in the United States occurred at the rate of 24.09 deaths per million miles traveled. In 2014, the rate had dropped to 1.08 fatalities per million miles traveled. What made the difference? Stated simply: better cars.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began doing crash tests in 1979. We’ve all seen those tests on TV or the Internet, with the cars crumpling under various types of impacts and the crash-test dummies flailing about. As car makers began responding to government regulations based on these tests, seat belts, air bags, and better car construction have resulted in drastic reductions in fatalities and serious injuries.
Abraham didn’t know whether he had enough faith to follow God’s leading until he was tested. That’s the purpose of testing: to discover strengths and weaknesses. Trust in God helps us build on the former and minimize the effects of the latter, even if we don’t understand at the moment why we are being tested. Should we look forward to testing or dread it? —C. R. B. [John C. Nugent et al., “The Lord Will Provide,” in The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2017–2018, ed. Jim Eichenberger et al., vol. 65 (Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing, 2018), 236.]
Application:
Abraham discovered that God’s tests are not always predictable: we must face life’s tests as they come. Abraham failed in some of his earlier tests, but his faith grew. When the test in today’s lesson came, the depth of his faith was clear. Each moral test we pass makes us stronger and prepares us to pass whatever tests still lie ahead. [Ronald L. Nickelson and Jonathan Underwood, eds., The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2011–2012 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 2011), 140.]
Transition: Having considered how God sometimes allows tests to come into the lives of those that follow Him, let us now consider how-

II. His Followers Must Be Good Test-takers (Gen. 22:3-10).

Abraham responds with obedience

A. Journey in the Adoration of God (Gen. 22:3-6).

State Point -
Abraham Journeys to the Mount of Sacrifice to Worship
Explain Point -
1. He Goes Immediately and Prepared (Gen. 22:3).
Genesis 22:3 KJV 1900
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, 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.
2. He Goes Precisely (Gen. 22:4).
Genesis 22:4 KJV 1900
Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
2 Chronicles 3:1 KJV 1900
Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
3. He Goes Expectantly (Gen. 22:5).
Genesis 22:5 KJV 1900
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.
4. He Goes Unhesitatingly (Gen. 22:6).
Genesis 22:6 KJV 1900
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; and they went both of them together.

B. Faith in the Provision of God (Gen. 22:7-8).

State Point -
Abraham Assures Isaac of Jehovah's Provision
Explain Point -
1. Isaac's Observant Inquiry (Gen. 22:7).
Genesis 22:7 KJV 1900
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?
2. Abraham's Comforting Reply (Gen. 22:8).
Genesis 22:8 KJV 1900
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

C. Obedience to the Instruction of God (Gen. 22:9-10).

State Point -
Abraham Proceeds to Offer Isaac as Instructed
Explain Point -
1. Abraham's Diligence and Isaac's Willingness (Gen. 22:9).
Genesis 22:9 KJV 1900
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
2. Abraham's Obedience (Gen. 22:10).
Genesis 22:10 KJV 1900
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
Application:
Hebrews 11:17–19 KJV 1900
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.
Transition: God sometimes gives us tests, and we don't shy away from that, because we, like Abraham, believe that -

III. God Helps His Children In Their Times of Testing (Gen. 22:11-19).

A. The Test Passed (Gen. 22:11-14).

State Point -
God intervenes by stopping Abraham from killing Isaac and provides a substitute sacrifice
Explain Point -
1. The Angel of the Lord Calls for Abraham to Stop, and Commends Him for Fearing God By His Willingness to Offer Isaac (Gen. 22:11-12).
a. The Angel's Call (Gen. 22:11).
Genesis 22:11 KJV 1900
And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
b. Abraham Commended (Gen. 22:12).
Genesis 22:12 KJV 1900
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.
Psalm 103:11 KJV 1900
For as the heaven is high above the earth, So great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
2. Abraham Finds a Ram Caught, Offers It In the Stead of Isaac, and Renames the Place for a Memorial: Jehovah-Jireh (Gen. 22:13-14).
a. The Ram Caught and Slain as a Substitute (Gen. 22:13).
Genesis 22:13 KJV 1900
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.
b. The Place Called Jehovah-Jireh (Gen. 22:14).
Genesis 22:14 KJV 1900
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.
[Apply Point] -
God does indeed provide for the sacrifice. The ram was not provided when Abraham began his three-day journey. It was not provided along the way. It was not provided at the foot of Mount Moriah. It is provided only after Abraham demonstrates his willingness to go all the way in carrying out God’s instructions. This is an important lesson for Christians. God’s provision does not mean His people will never suffer, face tough choices, or stare at dead ends. It means that God will provide when we find ourselves in these kinds of situations. Sometimes He provides a way out and sometimes a way through. But God will provide.
Abraham did not know when his ram-in-a-thicket would appear, and seldom do we. We must trust God with an Abraham-like faith that our ram will be there at just the right time. [Ronald L. Nickelson and Jonathan Underwood, eds., The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2011–2012 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 2011), 142–143.]

B. The Test Rewarded (Gen. 22:15-19).

Genesis 22:15–19 KJV 1900
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, 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. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.
State Point -
The Angel of the Lord reaffirms Jehovah's covenantal blessings and Messianic promise to the world through Abraham's descendants
Application:
At length “they came to the place of which God had told Abraham. He built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.”
And here let us pause a while, and by faith take a view of the place where the father has laid him...Come, all ye tender hearted parents, who know what it is to look over a dying child: fancy that you saw the altar erected before you, and the wood laid in order, and the beloved Isaac bound upon it: fancy that you saw the aged parent standing by weeping...but methinks I see the tears trickle down the Patriarch Abraham’s cheeks; and out of the abundance of the heart, he cries, Adieu, adieu, my son; the Lord gave thee to me, and the Lord calls thee away; blessed be the name of the Lord: adieu, my Isaac, my only son, whom I love as my own soul; adieu, adieu. I see Isaac at the same time meekly resigning himself into his heavenly Father’s hands, and praying to the most High to strengthen his earthly parent to strike the stroke. But why do I attempt to describe what either son or father felt? It is impossible: we may indeed form some faint idea of, but shall never full comprehend it, till we come and sit down with them in the kingdom of heaven, and hear them tell the pleasing story over again...And now, the fatal blow is going to be given. “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” ...But sing, O heavens! and rejoice, O earth! Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity: for behold, just as the knife, in all probability, was near his throat, ver. 11, “the angel of the Lord, (or rather the Lord of angels, Jesus Christ, the angel of the everlasting covenant) called unto him, (probably in a very audible manner) from heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham. (The word is doubled, to engage his attention; and perhaps the suddenness of the call made him draw back his hand, just as he was going to strike his son.) And Abraham said, Here am I.”
“And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now know I that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”
Here then it was that Abraham received his son Isaac from the dead in a figure. He was in effect offered upon the altar, and God looked upon him as offered and given unto him. Now it was that Abraham’s faith, being tried, was found more precious than gold purified seven times in the fire. Now as a reward of grace, though not of debt, for this signal act of obedience, by an oath, God gives and confirms the promise, “that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed,” ver. 17, 18. With what comfort may we suppose the good old man and his son went down from the mount, and returned unto the young men! With what joy may we imagine he went home, and related all that had passed to Sarah! And above all, with what triumph is he now exulting in the paradise of God, and adoring rich, free, distinguishing, electing, everlasting love, which alone made him to differ from the rest of mankind, and rendered him worthy of that title which he will have so long as the sun and the moon endure, “The Father of the faithful!”
But let us now draw our eyes from the creature, and do what Abraham, if he was present, would direct to; I mean, fix them on the Creator, God blessed for evermore.
I see your hearts affected, I see your eyes weep...But, behold, I show you a mystery, hid under the sacrifice of Abraham’s only son, which, unless your hearts are hardened, must cause you to weep tears of love, and that plentifully too. I would willingly hope you even prevent me here, and are ready to say, “It is the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to die for our sins.” Yes; that is it. And yet perhaps you find your hearts, at the mentioning of this, not so much affected. Let this convince you, that we are all fallen creatures, and that we do not love God or Christ as we ought to do: for, if you admire Abraham offering up his Isaac, how much more ought you to extol, magnify and adore the love of God, who so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son Christ Jesus our Lord, “that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life?” May we not well cry out, Now know we, O Lord, that thou hast loved us, since thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from us! Abraham was God’s creature (and God was Abraham’s friend) and therefore under the highest obligation to surrender up his Isaac. But O stupendous love! Whilst we were his enemies, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might become a curse for us. O the freeness, as well as the infinity, of the love of God our Father! It is unsearchable: I am lost in contemplating it; it is past finding out. Think, O believers, think of the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to be a propitiation for our sins. And when you hear how Abraham built an altar, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood; think how your heavenly Father bound Jesus Christ his only Son, and offered him upon the altar of his justice, and laid upon him the iniquities of us all. When you read of Abraham’s stretching forth his hand to slay his son, Think, O think, how God actually suffered his Son to be slain, that we might live for evermore. Do you read of Isaac carrying the wood upon his shoulders, upon which he was to be offered? Let this lead you to mount Calvary (this very mount of Moriah where Isaac was offered, as some think) and take a view of the antitype Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bearing and ready to sink under the weight of that cross, on which he was to hang for us. Do you admire Isaac so freely consenting to die, though a creature, and therefore obliged to go when God called? O do not forget to admire infinitely more the dear Lord Jesus, that promised seed, who willingly said, “Lo, I come,” though under no obligation so to do, “to do thy will,” to obey and die for men, “O God!” Did you weep just now, when I bid you fancy you saw the altar, and the wood laid in order, and Isaac laid bound on the altar? Look by faith, behold the blessed Jesus, our all-glorious Emmanuel, not bound, but nailed on a accursed tree: see how he hangs crowned with thorns, and held in derision of all that are round about him: see how the thorns pierce him, and how the blood in purple streams trickle down his sacred temples! Hark how the God of nature groans! See how he bows his head, and at length humanity gives up the ghost! Isaac is saved, but Jesus, the God of Isaac, dies; A ram is offered up in Isaac’s room, but Jesus has no substitute; Jesus must bleed, Jesus must die; God the Father provided this Lamb for himself from all eternity. He must be offered in time, or man must be damned for evermore. And now, where are your tears? Shall I say, refrain your voice from weeping? No; rather let me exhort you to look to him whom you have pierced, and mourn, as a woman mourneth for her first-born: for we have been the betrayers, we have been the murderers of this Lord of glory; and shall we not bewail those sins, which brought the blessed Jesus to the accursed tree? Having so much done, so much suffered for us, so much forgiven, shall we not love much! O! let us love Him with all our hearts, and minds, and strength, and glorify him in our souls and bodies, for they are his. [George Whitefield, Selected Sermons of George Whitefield (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1999).]

Conclusion

Summary/Review:
What unthinkable thing might God be using in your life right now to find out whether or not you will truly walk in obedience to His Word?
What is it in your life that you are not willing to sacrifice for Him? What/who are you most fearful of being severed from by death?
Will you trust that the God who has saved you, called you, and promised you so great things in His Word will also see you in your trial, help you by providing exactly what you need, just when you need it, and bless you and others after you for walking in humble obedience to His will and Word?
God Wants You To:
Carry your cross for Christ, helping others see Jesus in your life, and prayerfully leading them to receive Him as the sacrifice for sins in their own life.
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