Abraham Reckoned

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 3.

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

Genesis 22:1-18

“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.” ~Hebrews‬ ‭11:17-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

“Abraham reckoned that God was able to raise Isaac from death — and, so to speak, Abraham did receive Isaac back from death.” ~‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭Good News Bible

Abraham lived in 2000 BC.
When Abraham first received promised to be made a great nation, he and his wife were old and childless.
They left a stable home to live a life in tents.

Abraham at age 86 tried to foolishly help God by fathering a child, Ishmael with Sarah’s Egyptian maid servant Hagar.

God then blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son Isaac.
Isaac is now grown to be a young lad and Abraham is then asked to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his child?

Especially when human sacrifice is an abomination (Deuteronomy 12:31).

Is it just a test? No.
1. God has the right to take human life. (Matthew 28)
2. God can authorise men to take men’s life
3. God is not capable of evil (John 1:5)
4. If sacrificing Isaac was evil, God would not ask Abraham to do it.

The sacrifice of Isaac was right as God does no evil.

God does expect us to make a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
To be holy consumed like a burnt offering.

Imagine what Abraham felt. Son. Only son. Only son whom you love. Like a knife plunged deeper and deeper.

 

How did Abraham respond

He obeyed immediately without delay. Abraham was determined to be fully equipped to prepare God’s command bringing woods.

What did Abraham bring?
• 2 servants
• Chopped wood
• Isaac, his son

At the centre was always his son.
Abraham had time to think carefully on 3 day journey about giving his most precious possession.

Worship (v5).
First mention of worship in the Bible.
Teaches an important lesson and sets tone for rest of Bible.

 

What is truly worship?

More than songs of praise in a big church building with many people in attendance.
Worship literally means to bow down.
Not truly worshiping God unless you bow down before God’s will.
Abraham’s worship is private without the servants.
Only in the secret place of our own hearts can we truly worship the Lord.
Do we come to Sunday worship with our hearts bowed down?

Abraham told his two servants that he and his son will come again to them.
Was Abraham deceiving his servants?
Was Abraham hoping that God would change His mind?
Abraham had already thought things carefully and knew that through Isaac, he would be the father of a great nation.
It must mean that God will raise Isaac from the dead.
No resurrection yet known at that point.
Abraham believed in resurrection.

Isaac obediently went together.
Isaac carried the wood.
Abraham provided a thoughtful answer that “God will provide Himself a lamb”
Abraham didn’t know it, but these words were literally proven true.
Fulfilment echo across 2000 years to the words of John the Baptist.

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
‭~ John‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To all intent and purposes, Abraham had obeyed and offered up Isaac already in his heart.

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?” ~‭‭James‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In fact you could say that Isaac was dead for 3 days.

When God stopped Isaac from killing his son.
It was as if his dead son had come back to life.

If you had bumped into Abraham and Isaac, Abraham may have said, “Meet my son Isaac. He was dead but is alive again.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ did die for us on Calvary.
(Calvary could possibly be the very same mountain in the region).

There was no cancellation of the burnt offering.
The ram was Isaac’s substitute on the altar.
For us, there was no substitute for the Lord Jesus Christ as He was our substitute.

Important that ram was caught by its horns.
If caught elsewhere, would have been blemished.

Even though Abraham’s son was spared, God did not spare His own son.
How deep the father’s love for us that He should give His only son.

 

First mention of the word “obey”.

How has Abraham obeyed God?
Giving up his most treasured possession.
No holding back.
Don’t hold back anything for God who for your sake did not withhold His only begotten son.

First mention of the word “love” (Genesis 22:2).

Refers to father’s love for his son. (Not man and wife or other type of love).
Abraham’s love for Isaac is a picture of love of God the Father for God the son.

First mention of the word “love” in New Testament.

“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”” ~ Matthew‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” ~ Mark‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” ~ Luke‬ ‭3:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God’s son is at the centre of His plan of salvation and master plan for all creation.
Is God’s son at the centre of your life?