He [Abraham] considered that God is able to raise even from the dead. Abraham’s explanation to Isaac that "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son" (v. 8), in response to Isaacs question as to the whereabouts of the sacrifie, was ambiguous enough to allow for this act. Whether Abraham had actually worked out the details of a bodily resurrection is difficult to conclude. But Abraham had deferred the answer to his son’s question to God and so gave God a way of resolution.
This example of Abraham offering up Isaac as a sacrifice has been used in moral/ethical discussions all through history. The point of the author is that Abraham’s faith allowed him to go beyond sacrificing Isaac to apparently what Abraham assumed would be God raising Isaac from the dead. However God was going to do it, Abraham believed the promise of God for his future generations through Isaac. Therefore, he could go further than he could see physically (like when making an instrument approach in an airplane through the fog) because of the advantage offered him by his faith.
Verse 11——This call from heaven reflected the initial call of verse 1 Unlike verse 1 there is a tone of intensity by the repetition of the name. Abraham was to do no harm to the lad. Abraham did not know this entire episode was a test. It surely was unimaginable and its unpredictability made it a staggering test for Abraham. The long awaited son would suddenly not become a victim of sacrifice. God’s immediate intervention would make it clear that this was a test after all.
· When Abraham said here I am, in Genesis 22:1, his life was full of God’s blessings. His dreams and promises had been received. It was a time when he was enjoying the blessings of the Lord.
· But when he said here I am in Genesis 22:11, he had offered his son, his only son, his love. His only son represented his only hope and influence over his future, and his love represented all his soul and mind. But amazingly Abraham was still responsive to whatever the Lord had to say to him.
An Application—There is something you should know about God. He tests people. He tests His own people. He tests the faithful, the saints, those who are following Him closely, those who are in the center of His will. Why does He test His own faithful people? James says it’s to demonstrate their faith (James 1:2-4; 2:21-24). Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:31-32). How does God test people? By bringing them to the edge, then seemingly over the edge, where there is no return, no rescue, no reasonable hope, seemingly no hope at all. Then in the midst of what would appear to be a situation of despair, at the last minute, God delivers.
PT—God called on Abraham to make five great sacrifices: his native country, his extended family, his nephew Lot, his son Ishmael, and his son Isaac. Each sacrifice involved something naturally dear to Abraham, but each resulted in greater blessings from God.
The primary reason we should fear God is because we are commanded to. Yet there is a logical reason why God wants us to fear Him. Fear inspires obedience. And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil (Proverbs 16:6, see also Exodus 20:20). It is when we do not live in the fear of the Lord that our hearts envy sinners (Proverbs 23:17), which is why Solomon says, after extensively evaluating life, the conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
By so naming the place Abraham preserved in the memory of God’s people the amazing event that took place there.
· The saying connected with these events has some ambiguity, which was probably intended. If the mount refers to the Temple Mount later in the nations history, then the point of the epitaph would be “the Lord provides” just as he did for Abraham with the sacrificial ram. So the acts of worship in Jerusalem at the holy mount would be perpetual experiences of the Lord’s provision for His people. The Lord would see their needs, answer their prayers, and provide. In turn, the people would bring sacrifice, praise, and worship in response to Gods faithful provision.
· Here is prophecy related to Abrahams descendants, the 12 tribes of Israel. Not only would they be numerous, they would To break through the gate complex would be to conquer the city, for the gate complex was the main area of defense.
· — Abraham’s obedience brought God’s ratification of the earlier conditional promise that had become unconditional by his obedience to depart his homeland and enter the unfamiliar land of Canaan. Again, we can note the relationship between Abraham’s faith and his obedience.
An Application—What you do is what you believe. No one can say ‘just do what I say, not what I do’ as if that settles what it is one believes. That is an oxymoron—it is self-contradictory. Your belief is expressed by your actions. James says even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, by itself (James 2:17). Abraham proved his faith by his obedience.
Implications for the 12 tribes
· If our goal is to learn to fear God, the first step is to hear His words, which, for us, means studying the Bible, since these are the only words from God which we have today. Solomon said in Proverbs 2:1-5, IF you: 1. will receive my sayings, And 2. treasure my commandments within you, 3. Make your ear attentive to wisdom, 4. Incline your heart to understanding; For if you 5. cry for discernment, 6. Lift your voice for understanding; If you 7. seek her as silver, And 8. search for her as for hidden treasures; THEN you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.
· Naming specific sacred places would preserve in the memory of the 12 tribes the incident that had occurred there, and establish it as a shrine to the faith and the faithfulness of God.
PT—God is nostalgic wanting us to remember the past so we can have hope for the present and future. Its good to remember what God has done, to review it, reflect upon it, and pray over it.
· That the 12 tribes could expect to be tested by God to prove their faith. The expectation would be that they, too, would recognize that God was the Lord of the promise.
· That the 12 tribes would learn that God would not ask true worshipers to give him that which they do not treasure or that which they no longer care for or need. Rather, God would require they offer him the best they have, even their firstborn in sacrifice.