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GENESIS Chapter 22 - PICTURE PERFECT - Part 1
In this chapter we will see a staggering picture of Jesus Christ! We will also deal with one of the most difficult parts of scripture, one that confuses us and is thrown at us by unbelievers. So let’s dig right in.
Vs. 1-2 - “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, (Underline “Only Son,” sound familiar?) whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah (Jerusalem). Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Now, why this is required of Abraham, we don’t know for sure. It does seem pretty extreme. And this is probably one of the most misunderstood sets of passages in the O.T. It is very difficult. However, when we get through it, when we see the magnitude of the president being set here, I think we will understand it a little better.
And this is yet another GREAT reason for us to dig through and really understand the text, not only for our own benefit, but when people do ask about it or throw it in our faces, we have an answer and we are not ignorant concerning it.
What we do know for sure is that this becomes one of the most fascinating foreshadowings of Jesus Christ that we find in all of the O.T. I’m going to point some things out as we cover the text and we will put it all together at the end.
But first, notice here that He calls him his “only son.” Just as the Father sent “His only begotten Son,” to come and die for us!
And like when I first read this, you might be thinking the same thing I did: Hey man, this wasn’t his only son. What about Ishmael? I think We’re learning something about the heart of God here. Ishmael was they byproduct of the flesh. Isaac is the byproduct of the Spirit. He is the son of the promise.
What the Holy Spirit is telling us here in the selection of this particular verbiage is that the only thing God recognizes in the lives of His children are those things that are accomplished by the Spirit. God does not recognize those things that are accomplished in the flesh. Those things that we do of our own volition.
He says: “I want you to take your only son whom you love. (Underline that word “love.”)
This is the first time we see the word “Love” found in the Scriptures. Hermeneutics 101 - There is a law of hermeneutics called “The principal of First Mention,” or “The Law of First Mention.” And what that principal reveals is that the first time a word is used in the Scriptures, that then becomes the base from which we judge all other appearances of that word in the future. They are to be consistent with and revolve around the initial revelation of God.
The first time we see the word “Love” in the Scriptures, it is wrapped around a father sacrificing his only son. So, if you wanna know what love is, look no further than the Cross! That is the message sent here: “Greater love no one has than this: To lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13).
Notice secondly, that He wants him to take him to Mt. Moriah. Mt. Moriah is Jerusalem. Isaac will be sacrificed on the very same Mt. that Christ would be sacrificed upon.
“I want you, his father, to take your only son. I want you to take him to Jerusalem, and there I want you to sacrifice him as a burnt offering.” So, right out the gate here is a fascinating foreshadowing of the Gospel, and as we continue this, its gonna develop in a striking fashion.
At this point, some people say: “Well, Abraham interceded for the Sodomites; remember that in Gen. 18? Why doesn’t he intercede for his son? Good question! And it is answered by the full counsel of God. Abraham doesn’t intercede for his son because he believes in the Resurrection! And we’re going to get to that in a minute.
I really think he believes God is going to resurrect Isaac after the sacrifice, which is why the writer of Hebrews tells us: Hebrews 11:17-19 - “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”
Notice the timing of Abraham’s obedience as we pick it up in vs. 3. When God says: “do this,” how long does it take Abraham to do it?
Vs. 3 - “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.”
“Loaded or saddled” his donkey.” Here also ya might be thinking of Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. What was He on the back of? A donkey! More imagery!
“He split wood,” and wood will speak to the cross.
I want you to underline or highlight the end of vs. 3. “He went to where God told him.” He didn’t go half way. He didn’t go 3⁄4 of the way, he went to where God told him and that is evidently important enough to the Holy Spirit to repeat it again in vs. 9, and we’ll get into that.
Vs. 4-5 - “On the third day (That remind you of anything? “After 3 days I will rise.” Are ya seeing this?) Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship (Here’s the first time this is mentioned in Scripture, and we’ll get to that) and then we will come back to you.”
But notice the timing of Abraham’s obedience! He rose EARLY the next morning, and this shows his “Immediate Obedience,” his “prioritized Obedience,” and you’ll also notice that he traveled for 3 days.
What’s the best commentary of the Bible?? Other parts of the Bible! Now, the writer of Hebrews will give us a commentary on this chapter, and it tells us that Abraham believed in the resurrection. Abraham knew the promise of God was going to be through Isaac, as the writer of Hebrews tells us. Abraham didn’t know this was a test!!! Abraham thinks this is the real deal. He believes he has to take his son up to the mountain and plunge a knife into his chest, and he’s going to be a burnt offering unto the Lord.
So, for 3 days he’s traveling, in his mind, Isaac is dead. But he somehow recognizes that God is going to have to raise this child from the dead, because God has provided and promised and He cannot lie.
Again, first time in the Bible, the Principal of the First Mention again, that we see the word: “Worship.”
Now we have an idea of what that means, don’t we?! It doesn’t mean that Abraham took an Amy Grant Worship CD with him up on the hill. Worship is NOT singing songs! As the progressive revelation of God unfolds in the O.T., music will be part of expressing praise to God, but in our culture we think of worship as that thing that happens for 15 minutes before the sermon on Sunday. Not so!!
The first time we find the word “worship” in the Bible, it is wrapped around this unspeakable act of sacrificial obedience! I don’t care if your signing tender songs on a Sunday and living the rest of your life like you don’t know who God is, that’s NOT worship.
You're worshipping God right now because you're being obedient in seeking to study His Word. You're worshipping more right now than when you are singing. So, the Word of God is telling us that ultimately, at its core, worship is “Obedience.”