1413.) Genesis 22

“The Sacrifice of Isaac” by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1635 (The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)

Genesis 22   (NRSV)

The Command to Sacrifice Isaac

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

2He 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 that I shall show you.”

3So Abraham rose early in the morning,

Could he have slept at all that night, knowing what was ahead?

saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him.

Reflection:

God’s command is– Take now, not presently.  It is extraordinary how we debate!  We know a thing is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it at once.  To climb to the height God shows can never be done presently, it must be done now.  The sacrifice is gone through in will, before it is performed actually.

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning . . . and went unto the place of which God had told him” (v. 3).  The wonderful simplicity of Abraham!  When God spoke, he did not confer with flesh and blood.  Beware when you want to confer with flesh and blood, i.e., your own sympathies, your own insight, anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God.  These are the things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.

–from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

What is hindering you from being obedient to God?  How can we be more like Abraham in his “simplicity” of faith?

4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.”

"The Sacrifice of Isaac"  by Caravaggio, 1603 (Uffizi, Florence)

“The Sacrifice of Isaac” by Caravaggio, 1603 (Uffizi, Florence)

6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.

7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

8Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

“The Binding of Isaac” by Israeli painter Roni Pinto, 2008.

9When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

At this time, Abraham was more than 100 years old, and Isaac would have been able to get away had he chosen to.  Yet he submits to his father perfectly.  As an obedient son, Isaac laid down on the wood, ready to be sacrificed.  In remembering Abraham’s faith, we should never forget Isaac’s faith.  Jewish commentators think Isaac was in his thirties at the time of this event. 

–David Guzik

10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.

“The Binding of Isaac” by Marc Chagall, 1975 (Nice, France). Notice the crucifixion scene, upper right corner, also on Mount Moriah.

11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

12He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Gregorio Lazzarini, 1705

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Gregorio Lazzarini, 1705.

In this context, faith is spoken of as fearing God.  Fear of the Lord is not just a feeling but is a combination of feelings, attitudes, and habits that govern a person’s relationship to God.  Fear includes reverence, trust, love, and an awesome respect and wonder at God’s great and mysterious power.  Fear and love of God always go together, for an absolute love of God demands undivided loyalty and total surrender of oneself to God.  This is what Abraham has been willing to do.

–Linda B. Hinton

13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

The naming of the place is significant. Abraham called it, The Lord Will Provide (Jehovah Jireh); In this mount, it shall be provided.

Abraham didn’t name the place in reference to what he went through. He didn’t name it “trial hill” or “agony hill” or “obedience hill.” Instead, he named the hill in reference to what God did; he named it “provision hill.” He named it knowing God would provide the ultimate sacrifice for salvation on that hill someday.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

John 3:16 (King James Version)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

HERE  is “Lamb of God,” sung by Twila Paris.

_________________________

"The Sacrifice of Isaac"  by He Qi

“The Sacrifice of Isaac” by He Qi

15The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, 18and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”

19So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.

Hebrews 11:17-19 (New Living Translation)

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,  even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”  Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

The beautiful gold-topped Dome of the Rock, erected in A.D. 691, on top of Mount Moriah today. Photograph by Mike Levin.

The Children of Nahor

20Now after these things it was told Abraham, “Milcah also has borne children, to your brother Nahor: 21Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

_________________________

Fun!

HERE  is quick slide show review of Genesis 1 – 22!  Charming!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Rembrandt.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/67100-rembrandt_-_sacrifice_of_isaac_-_wga19096.jpg
Caravaggio.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Sacrifice_of_Isaac-Caravaggio_%28Uffizi%29.jpg
Pinto.  http://img1.etsystatic.com/il_570xN.205096729.jpg
Chagall.   http://www.jesuswalk.com/abraham/images/chagall_slaying_isaac432x355.jpg
Lazzarini.    https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4152/5021833350_678eef1ab4.jpg
He Qi.   http://www.heqigallery.com/GALLERY%20OT%20B/images/57sacrifice_of_abraham.jpg
Levin photograph.  http://www.mikelevin.com/JerusalemDomeOfTheRock.jpg
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