Last week we began looking at this tremendous story. The chapter is about Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac, but we talked about how powerfully it looks
forward to God the Father sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ. We’ll continue with a little more typology between Isaac and Jesus, but this morning we’re
primarily going to focus on Abraham and his great faith that allowed him to pass this difficult test from God.
We made it through verse 4 last week, and this morning we’ll pick up at verse 5…
And Abraham said to his young men
(the two servants), “Stay here with the donkey; the lad (referring to Isaac) and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
More than likely Abraham told the servants to stay behind b/c he knew they would try to restrain him from sacrificing Isaac when they learned what he
intended to do.
Last week I discussed The Principle of First Mention. It’s the idea that the first time a word is used in Scripture, God is revealing the truest or most
accurate sense of the word. Verse 5 contains the first time the word worship is used, and this is very, very fitting.
Consider how Abraham used the word worship: he used it to describe sacrificing his son. That any father could think of sacrificing his son and call it an
act of worship is almost unimaginable to us. But the reality is Abraham had a tremendous understanding of what worship really is…and this brings us to our
LESSON 1: ABRAHAM UNDERSTOOD OBEDIENCE IS THE GREATEST FORM OF WORSHIP.
A simple definition of worship could be anything done out of obedience to God. And the greater the sacrifice involved in the obedience the greater the
worship itself. If we think of worship this way, then this would be a perfect place to use the word worship for the first time in
Scripture, b/c I don’t know if there’s a greater act of worship in the entire Old Testament than Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son.
Albert Mohler said,
“Nothing is more important than our understanding of worship, for our concept of worship is inescapably tied to our understanding of God and His
sovereign authority to reveal the worship He desires, deserves, and demands.”
Abraham understood worship in the truest sense. He understood worship takes place when we obey God. Obedience is how we worship God. It’s a theme in
Scripture that the real sacrifice and worship God wants is obedience:
1 Sam 15:22 Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
to heed than the fat of rams.
Pro 21:3 To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Jer 7:22-23 [God said], “I did not command them in the day that I brought them out of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the
ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
Obedience is the worship God wants.
And it’s not just Abraham that worshipped on the mountain. Look at Abraham’s words: the lad and I will go yonder and worship. Abraham said
they would both worship, b/c he saw what Isaac would be doing in his willingness to be sacrificed as a tremendous example of worship as well.
Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is
(and listen to this…) your spiritual service of worship. The verse is talking about living in a way that’s so holy and surrendered to God
it’s as though our lives are living sacrifices to Him.
If you write in your bible, you can circle the words the lad and I will go yonder and worship and write, “Rom 12:1.” Can you think of a better example in Scripture of a living sacrifice than Isaac? I’m not exaggerating when I say you might have the two
best examples of worship in the entire Old Testament demonstrated through Abraham and Isaac in this chapter:
- Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
- Isaac being willing to be sacrificed.
This is true worship b/c of the amazing obedience involved on both of their parts.
Now let me ask you something and please be honest: when I say, “worship” what comes to mind? Singing songs at church. Here are three truths about that:
1. First, singing songs at church can be a form of worship. I’m not putting it down; it’s one way God wants to be worshipped.
2. Second, I say “singing songs at church CAN be a form of worship” because if you’re singing, but you’re thinking:
I don’t like this song.
Where are we eating after church today?
Am I going to have the time to get that project finished?
d. Then you’re not worshipping!
3. Third, it is terribly unfortunate that even though singing songs at church can be a form of worship, to many people that’s all worship IS…and that is
The truth is we’re called to live lives that serve as a form of worship. We’re called to present ourselves as living sacrifices willing to do what the Lord
commands with complete surrender and submission to Him. THAT is worship.
We call this a worship service – and it is – but we want to remember our worship should continue throughout the week. Your worship should be a daily event
that continues until the day you die.
Let’s make sure we understand like Abraham and Isaac that true worship is manifested through our obedience to God. No, we’re never going to be called to do
what Abraham or Isaac did, but:
- We are called to live for God…
· We are called to live lives that are surrendered to Him like we see from these two in this chapter.
Now let me pause and get you to think about something…
There are two reasons God’s request for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was a real test…
First – and most obviously – it was a test b/c it meant sacrificing his son:
- This was the son he waited 25 years for…
- If you look back at verse 2…
o This was his only son: as we talked about last week, his special, unique, only begotten son.
o The son God said, “whom you love.”
· Of course this would’ve made God’s request an amazingly difficult test.
But there’s another reason this was a real test for Abraham and it’s this…
It didn’t make sense. God’s request seemed completely irrational.
When God made the covenant with Abraham in Gen 12:2 He promised him lots of descendants. Then God repeated this in Gen 17 and 18. Then in Gen 21:12 God told Abraham the descendants would come from Isaac, as opposed to
Ishmael or any other child Abraham might have. But when God gave Abraham the command to sacrifice Isaac, Isaac hadn’t had any children of his own.
So think of the terribly difficult dilemma this posed for Abraham:
“God is supposed to give me lots of descendants. They’re going to come through Isaac. Isaac hasn’t had any children yet. Now I’m supposed to sacrifice
The way Abraham solved this dilemma is revealed at the end of verse 5. Look at the words we will come back to you.
Abraham expected to go up the mountain with Isaac, sacrifice him, and come back down the mountain with him. The only way he could expect that is if he
believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. And that’s exactly what we read last week in Heb 11:19 [Abraham] concluded that GOD WAS ABLE TO RAISE [ISAAC] UP, EVEN FROM THE DEAD.
Sometimes people say, “Would Abraham really have sacrificed Isaac?” Yes, we know he really would have b/c we’re told he expected God to raise him
from the dead.
Abraham had tremendous faith, and there are two reasons his faith might be even greater than we initially think…
First, we might say,
“He thought God would raise Isaac from the dead, but there are other instances of God raising people from the dead; so yes it took a lot of faith to
believe God would raise Isaac from the dead, but it was something Abraham knew God could and would do.”
That’s not really true, b/c do you know how many people had been raised from dead when you reach Gen 22? None! So Abraham’s faith is even
greater than we think, because while we’re familiar with people being raised from the dead, HE WASN’T. The idea that anyone could die and come back to life
was completely unprecedented; it would’ve seemed like an impossibility.
The other reason Abraham’s faith might be even greater than we think is contained in the words burnt offering. Those words are repeated throughout the passage in verses 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 13. It is emphasized that God wanted Isaac to be a burnt offering. I don’t want to sound gruesome, but Abraham didn’t just expect God to bring Isaac back from the dead: he expected God to
bring him back from being turned into ashes.
So think about this: in Abraham’s mind, there were really only two possibilities:
· One possibility is God would do something He had never done before. He would do something that had no basis for happening. He would do something that
seemed impossible: He would raise Isaac from the dead.
· Or the other possibility in Abraham’s mind is: God would become a liar.
And to Abraham as impossible as it seemed for God to raise Isaac from the dead, it seemed even more impossible that God would lie. Heb 6:18 says it is impossible for God to lie, and Abraham thought it was so impossible he believed God would bring his
son back from being turned into a burnt offering.
So let’s make sure we appreciate the greatness of this:
· Despite the unimaginable pain associated with doing what God wanted…
· Despite the impossible dilemma it seemed to present…
Abraham still obeyed, and he obeyed completely and absolutely. There’s no record of him questioning God whatsoever; there’s no record of him trying to
justify disobedience whatsoever.
When we look at this story…
· We should be encouraged by Abraham’s great faith…
· We should be amazed by what he was willing to do…
· We should be challenged by the tremendous trust he had in God…
And here’s what I want to tell you, and I hope this can be an encouragement to you:
· God prepared Abraham earlier in his life to pass this test in Gen 22…
· And God prepares us in our lives to pass the tests that He gives us.
LESSON 2: GOD PREPARED ABRAHAM THROUGH THEIR RELATIONSHIP.
By the time Gen 22 takes place, Abraham has had a real history with God. Abraham had been through a number of experiences with God. Abraham knew God. This
is why Abraham trusted Him. Abraham was so close with God, three times in Scripture he’s called God’s friend:
2 Chr 20:7 Are You not our God, who gave this land to the descendants of ABRAHAM YOUR FRIEND forever?
Isa 41:8 “But you, Israel, are My servant…the descendants of ABRAHAM MY FRIEND.
- Jam 2:23b [Abraham] was called THE FRIEND OF GOD.
Abraham had so much faith and trust in God, b/c of the strength of their relationship; b/c he was God’s friend.
Think of Abraham interceding for Sodom as he talked God down from fifty righteous people to ten righteous people. This looked like an exchange between
friends. At points you can tell Abraham was even worried about pushing the relationship too far. But when their discussion took place…
- Abraham was getting to know God…
- He was learning about God’s patience…
- He was learning about God’s graciousness…
- He was developing a stronger relationship with God.
And when you have a relationship with someone…
- When you have a history with someone…
- When you’ve had experiences with someone…
You learn to trust that person. And Abraham had been through enough with God that he trusted Him. He trusted Him even when God asked him to sacrifice his
But let me ask you this…
When God first met with Abraham back in Gen 12 do you think he could’ve passed the same test he passed in Gen 22? Do you think Abraham had the faith in Gen
12 to do what God asked him to do in Gen 22? I would say no.
God prepared Abraham for Genesis 22 through everything in the previous 10 chapters. It would take a huge amount of faith for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac,
but God built that faith into Abraham through their relationship.
It took a huge amount of faith to believe God would raise Isaac from the dead, but I believe this was a faith God prepared Abraham to have. Through God’s
relationship with Abraham he prepared him to believe God would – and could – bring a dead body back to life…
There were two “dead” bodies Abraham was very familiar with – they’re called “dead” in Scripture – and God brought those bodies back to life. I’m
referring to Abraham and his wife Sarah’s bodies. Abraham knew he and Sarah could no longer have children, and their bodies were dead in that sense. That’s
not my opinion, that’s the language Paul uses in Rom 4:19-21. Please listen to these verses…
Rom 4:19 Not being weak in faith
(in other words, being strong in faith), [Abraham] did not consider his own body, ALREADY DEAD (that’s how he saw his body)
(since he was about a hundred years old), and the DEADNESS of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but
was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what [God] had promised He was also able to perform.
It means Abraham believed God had the power to bring their bodies back to life when He blessed them w/ Isaac.
So why did Abraham believe God would – and could – raise Isaac from the dead? Because in a sense, Abraham already saw God’s supernatural power in allowing
their dead bodies to produce a child.
One of the other ways God prepared Abraham for the test in Gen 22 was through some of the tests earlier in their relationship. When you look at the
previous chapters you’re practically looking at one test after another as God prepared Abraham to pass the test of Gen 22.
We don’t think about this as much b/c it’s overshadowed by what took place in Gen 22, but in Gen 21 God asked Abraham to give up a different son, Ishmael.
That means before God ever asked Abraham to give up Isaac, He first asked him to give up Ishmael.
And this was painful for Abraham: Gen 21:11 The matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son.
The matter distressed Abraham greatly BECAUSE IT CONCERNED HIS SON.
This upset Abraham very much BECAUSE ISHMAEL WAS HIS SON.
- NAS [he was] distressed greatly.
- ESV [it was] very displeasing to Abraham.
And here’s the question…
When God commanded Abraham to give up Ishmael, do you think he had any idea that in the very next chapter God would say, “Take now your son, your only son ISAAC, whom you love, and offer him as a burnt offering”? No. He never would’ve imagined being
tested like that, but
· God prepared Abraham for Gen 22 by what took place in Gen 21.
· God prepared Abraham for Gen 22 through their relationship in Gen 21.
And God prepares us for the future chapters of our lives through what He does in the earlier chapters. God prepares us for the future tests, through our
relationships with Him.
Here’s another example…
David faced a real test when he went before Goliath. It’s hard to imagine anything more terrifying than when he stood before Goliath. I think most of us
look at the story and say, “Where did David get the faith to do that? Why was he so convinced he could defeat Goliath?”
David actually answers that before he ever stepped on the battlefield when Saul tried to discourage him from going. Please listen to this…
1 Sam 17:32
David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of [Goliath]; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Saul said, “You
are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
Now listen to what David says: he tells Saul why he knows he’ll be able to defeat Goliath, and his answer is so convincing Saul actually lets him go…
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I
went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and
struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he
has defied the armies of the living God.”
So David points out how these earlier tests w/ lions and bears prepared him for this test w/ Goliath.
Now please listen to these next words from David: I read the previous verses to be able to read this…
David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, HE WILL DELIVER ME FROM THE HAND OF THIS PHILISTINE.”
Listen to how David spoke of God:
- David knew God.
- David was confident in his relationship with God.
· God had been preparing David for years to fight Goliath…and He prepared him through the previous victories He gave over lions and bears.
· David knew God’s past faithfulness, and it gave David confidence in God’s future faithfulness.
And the same is true for us:
- God wants us confident in our relationships with Him.
· He prepares us for years for the tests and trials we’ll face in the future through tests and trials in our pasts.
· We can look back on God’s past faithfulness to have confidence in God’s future faithfulness.
But this is only if we have a relationship with God:
- This is only if we pursue God.
· This is only if we know God through prayer and reading His Word.
· This is only if we’ve turned to Him when we face trials in our lives, instead of turning somewhere else.
· And then remembering how He took us through those trials; it’s by remembering God’s past faithfulness that we can be confident about His future
o Why did Abraham believe God would raise Isaac from the dead?
o Why did David believe he could defeat Goliath?
o Because they trusted in God’s past faithfulness.
Now let me give you an example of some individuals who faced a test, but didn’t know God. They didn’t have a relationship with Him and they didn’t remember
His past faithfulness…
One of the other clearest examples of a test in Scripture occurred when the Israelites went into the Promised Land. They had a huge number of enemies to
defeat, and b/c of their faith and trust in God they were largely victorious. When you read the Book of Joshua – with only a few exceptions – you’re
basically reading about victory after victory as the people trusted God and walked by faith.
But then something happens. You reach Judges. And if you’re families w/ Judges, you know it’s the opposite of Joshua: instead of victory after victory,
And here’s the question: why did the Israelites who were previously successful in Joshua experience such terrible defeat in Judges? The answer is this: you
start dealing with people who didn’t know God. They had no history with Him. They forgot about His past faithfulness. They were an entirely new generation
who didn’t know God any better than they knew the gods of the Canaanites.
Please listen to these powerful verses…
So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua
(and this is why…), who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel (they remembered God’s past faithfulness)
. 8 Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old… 10 When all that
generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose
(Now listen to this…) who DID NOT KNOW THE LORD NOR THE WORK WHICH HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL. And because they didn’t know God…
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who
had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them,
and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.
This generation failed terribly, and let’s make sure we notice WHY they failed:
· Instead of being like Abraham or David who knew God and the great things He had done…
- You had people who didn’t know God…
o They had no history with Him…
o They had no relationship with Him…
o They forgot the great things He had done…
o They didn’t think of God’s past faithfulness…
· They had no relationship with God and as a result they failed the tests before them.
Contrast these Israelites with Abraham and David…
Abraham and David faced amazing tests which they were able to pass b/c?
- They knew God.
- They pursued Him.
- They had deep relationships with God.
· They were able to rest on God’s past faithfulness.
· They were able to pass the previous tests God put in their lives preparing them for the future tests.
And if we want to pursue God like Abraham and David did, God will prepare us for whatever tests and trials we face through our relationships with Him.
One of the reasons people fail the tests God puts in their lives is they have no history with God:
· They’ve never taken their relationships with Him seriously…
· They have no recollection of the things He’s done…
· They don’t know His faithfulness, because whenever they’ve faced things in their lives, they’ve either given up or they’ve turned somewhere else instead
of turning to Him.
· They don’t expect God to be there for them, because they’ve never turned to Him when they struggled, they always turned somewhere else for deliverance or
That is why the new generation of Israelites failed, and that is why we fail at times.
We want to be like Abraham and David, pursuing strong, committed, surrendered relationships with the Lord, looking at His past faithfulness, to encourage
us regarding His future faithfulness.
Now verse 6…
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son;
The wood for the burnt offering is emphasized throughout the account. The wood is mentioned five times
in verses 3, 6, 7 and twice in verse 9, and the wood furthers the typology between Isaac and Jesus.
LESSON 3: ISAAC AND JESUS: (PART VI) CARRIED THE WOOD FOR THEIR SACRIFICES.
You can circle the words laid it on Isaac his son and write John 19:17 which says Jesus carried the cross. Just like
Jesus carried the wood for His sacrifice on His shoulders, so did Isaac carry the wood for his sacrifice on his shoulders.
(Abraham) took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
Please notice it says Abraham took the fire and the knife in his hand. In carrying these implements to sacrifice his son, Abraham looks like God the Father
when He sacrificed His Son. Both the knife and the fire further the typology between Isaac and Jesus.
Let me explain the knife first and then the fire…
The knife speaks of execution and sacrifice. A knife is what priests used for centuries in the millions of animal sacrifices, and when
Abraham used the knife to sacrifice Isaac, it reminds us of God using the cross to sacrifice Jesus. Abraham’s use of a knife looks forward to the cross as
the physical instrument God used w/ His Son.
LESSON 4: ABRAHAM TOOK THE KNIFE AND THE FIRE, REMINDING US OF (PART I) THE CROSS…
And here’s what you need to know: as responsible as Abraham would’ve been in sacrificing Isaac, that’s how responsible God was in sacrificing Jesus. We say
- “The Jews murdered their Messiah.”
- Or “The Romans crucified Jesus.”
- Or “Our sins put Jesus on the cross.”
And while these statements are true in one sense, there’s another sense in which it’s even truer to say the One Person responsible with crucifying Jesus
was His Father…
Please listen to these two verses that initially sound they’re attributing Christ’s sacrifice to certain people, but then Christ’s sacrifice is clearly
attributed to God…
Acts 4:27 Truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were
You’ve got Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews banding together to see Christ crucified. These groups could not have been more opposed to each other,
but if there was ever a time they could agree it was when they wanted to crucify Christ. But in the very next verse…
28 [They were gathered together] 28 to do whatever YOUR hand and YOUR purpose determined before to be done.
So yes, all these people gathered together to sacrifice Christ, but in doing so all they really did was fulfill God’s determined plan:
Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
God is sovereign; He is absolutely in control of whatever takes place…especially, the sacrifice of His Son.
- Luke 22:22 Truly the Son of Man goes AS IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED [BY GOD].
- Acts 2:23 [Jesus was] delivered BY THE DETERMINED PURPOSE AND FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
John 19:11 Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.”
The only reason Pilate could do anything w/ Jesus was Pilate’s actions furthered God’s plan for Christ to be crucified.
calls Jesus the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. You notice the verse is in the past tense: it speaks of Jesus being slain
before the earth was even created. This is what’s known as the Prophetic Perfect. It’s the idea that when God has determined something, it’s so
certain it’s going to happen it’s as though it already happened…and it was so certain Christ would be slain it could be written as though it took place in
You see God’s sovereignty over the sacrifice of His Son and it was prefigured 2,000 years earlier when Abraham walked up the mountain carrying the knife to
And the amazing reality is it pleased God to do this w/ Jesus. This isn’t my opinion…
Isa 53:10 It PLEASED the Lord to bruise Him;
[God] has put Him to grief.
When [God] makes His soul an offering for sin,
The verse says the exact opposite of what we’d expect. We’d expect it to say:
- It grieved the Lord to bruise Him
- It pained the Lord to bruise Him
- It broke the Father’s heart to bruise His Son
And it gets even stranger b/c elsewhere in Scripture we’re told God doesn’t take pleasure in punishing the wicked:
- Eze 18:23 [God says] “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?”
- Eze 33:11 “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”
So you’ve got God saying He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but Isa 53:10 says He took pleasure in the death of His perfect.
And why is that? Because of what it accomplished:
- It accomplished our redemption…
- It provided for our forgiveness…
· If the Father punished His Son, He wouldn’t have to punish us.
· If the Father poured out His wrath on Jesus, He wouldn’t have to pour it out on us.
And God’s wrath is also pictured in Genesis 22…
Notice it says Abraham took the fire in his hand. This sounds odd to us that Abraham took the fire in his hand – we would
expect it to say he took the implements for building a fire – but every translation says Abraham took the fire itself.
And fire is the clearest picture of God’s wrath and judgment in Scripture, which brings us to the rest of Lesson 4…
LESSON 4: ABRAHAM TOOK THE KNIFE AND THE FIRE, REMINDING US OF (PART I) THE CROSS (PART II) AND GOD’S WRATH.
There are a large number of examples I could give you showing fire to be a picture of God’s wrath and judgment, but here are only a few a few:
· Fire is what rained down from heaven and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jer 21:12 Thus says the Lord: “My fury [will] go forth like fire And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your
- Eze 22:31 “I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath,” says the Lord God.
- Zeph 1:18 In the day of the Lord’s wrath; the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy.
When Abraham carried the fire it pictured or prefigured the wrath of God that would be poured out on His Son when He was on the cross.
To tie it all together:
· Taking the knife speaks of execution and sacrifice.
· Taking the fire speaks of wrath and judgment.
When Abraham carried the fire and the knife to sacrifice Isaac, it looked forward to God the Father sacrificing Jesus and pouring out His wrath and
judgment on Him for our sins.
But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
(I can’t imagine what this would’ve been like for Isaac to ask this…)
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but
where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Isaac had no idea what Abraham planned to do…
And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
These words of Abraham are the most difficult to understand in the passage…
Abraham thought he would sacrifice Isaac and then God would raise him from the dead. In other words, it’s clear Abraham thought Isaac would be the burnt
offering for the sacrifice. So why did he say God would provide a lamb?
The only possible solution – and I’ve studied a number of commentaries on this – is Abraham was referring to Isaac as the lamb. The Moody Bible Commentary
“It is therefore to Isaac that Abraham was referring, that is, Isaac was the lamb God was providing. This emphasizes the typology between Isaac and
Jesus with both being described as a lamb provided by God.”
Now Abraham said something in this verse that is truly amazing. Look at his words: “ God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”
These words contain one of the most important truths in the world. They reveal the difference between Christianity and every other religion. But these
words don’t just reveal why Christianity is different than every other religion in the world, they reveal why Christianity is the opposite of every other
religion in the world.
And this brings us to Lesson 5…
LESSON 5: CHRISTIANITY IS THE OPPOSITE OF OTHER RELIGIONS BECAUSE GOD PROVIDES HIS OWN SACRIFICE.
For a moment, think of the absurdity of what Abraham actually said:
- He said God would provide His own lamb for the sacrifice.
· He said God would provide what’s necessary to approach Him or worship Him.
That doesn’t make any sense. Religion is about what man provides to approach or worship whatever deity is being worshipped. That’s what makes it worship,
b/c it’s about what the people provide.
But in Christianity the unthinkable takes place, and it makes Christianity the opposite of everything else: God provides His own sacrifice. It would seem
absurd to us if we weren’t so familiar with it.
· At the heart of every other religion are individuals bringing sacrifices to the God they worship.
· But at the heart of Christianity is a God who provides the sacrifices necessary for His worship.
· In every other religion people do the work, but in Christianity God has done the work. And this doesn’t just make Christianity different than every other
religion: it makes Christianity the opposite of every other religion.
Every other religion is like the Tower of Babel:
Gen 11:4 Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered
abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
· Every other religion is about man making a name for himself and reaching to God.
· But Christianity is the religion where God reached down to us.
Please listen to me for a moment…
Propitiation is a fancy word referring to satisfying or appeasing God. In every other religion man tries to propitiate or satisfy or appease his false god;
the responsibility is on man. But in the NT:
· Whenever the word propitiation is used, it never refers to the work of man: it always refers to the work of God.
· Whenever propitiation is discussed, it doesn’t discuss what man does for God: it discusses what God did for man. Listen to how these verses describe what
God did for us:
o Rom 3:25 [Jesus] whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood.
1 John 2:2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.
o Heb 2:17 In all things He had to be made like His brethren…to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- If we made propitiation, it would be about us showing our love for God, but in Christianity it is entirely about God showing His love for us.
And it goes even further than that, b/c not only does God provide the sacrifice, He actually becomes the sacrifice! To tie it back to the typology between
Isaac and Jesus, like Isaac was willing to become the sacrifice, Jesus was willing to become the sacrifice. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb OF GOD. He
belonged to God. He was God’s Lamb. He was the Lamb God provided.
There are so many ways this story establishes a great type between Isaac and Jesus, but what you need to know about typology is this: it always breaks down
at some point. It has to: if it didn’t:
· It wouldn’t be a type: it would be the reality.
· It wouldn’t be a shadow: it would be the substance.
And it’s no different with Isaac and Jesus. This might be one of the most amazing types in Scripture, but it breaks down…
Isaac’s father Abraham was with him the whole time. You see the intimacy between them as they speak to each other in verses 7 and 8:
- Isaac called Abraham, “My father.”
- Abraham called Isaac, “My son.”
· But there was no intimacy like this on the cross between God the Father and God the Son. Throughout the Gospels Jesus calls God His Father, but at that
moment on the cross there was no intimacy – only separation – as Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have You Forsaken Me?”
Abraham carried the knife and he carried the fire, but Isaac didn’t experience either. If this type went further, Isaac would’ve been sacrificed; he
would’ve experienced the full weight of execution and wrath like Jesus did. But he didn’t. Isaac felt neither the knife nor the fire, but Jesus felt both.
Listen to this amazing verse…
Acts 20:28 The church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
This verse doesn’t read how we’d expect. We’d expect it to say:
- The church of God which Jesus purchased with His own blood.
- Or The church of God which He purchased with His Son’s blood.
The mention of God purchasing the church with His own blood does a few things…
First, it clearly identifies Jesus as God: if Jesus is the One who shed HIS blood and this verse says God purchased the church with HIS OWN blood. Jesus
must be God. God must be the One who died on the cross.
Second, this verse shows unity between the Father and the Son:
- It says God purchased the church with His own blood.
- And John 3:16 says For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son.
You’ve got the Father and the Son working together, and this is beautifully pictured in Genesis 22:
- At the end of verse 6 look at the words the two of them went together.
- At the end of verse 8, look at the words the two of them went together.
The phrase is repeated twice to draw our attention to Abraham and Isaac working together, but it pictures the True and Greater Father and Son working
together 2,000 years later on the same mountain to provide for our salvation.
Like Abraham said in verse 8 “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”
- He provided the Lamb in His Son.
- He provided for our salvation.
· He made that clear when He stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, choosing 2,000 years later to sacrifice His Son instead.
Your salvation is paid in full. The Father’s love for you is deep and wide and vast beyond all measure.
LET’S REVIEW THESE LESSONS:
LESSON 1: ABRAHAM UNDERSTOOD OBEDIENCE IS THE GREATEST FORM OF WORSHIP.
LESSON 2: GOD PREPARED ABRAHAM THROUGH THEIR RELATIONSHIP.
LESSON 3: ISAAC AND JESUS: CARRIED THE WOOD FOR THEIR SACRIFICES.
LESSON 4: ABRAHAM TOOK THE KNIFE AND THE FIRE, REMINDING US OF (PART I) THE CROSS (PART II) AND GOD’S WRATH.
LESSON 5: CHRISTIANITY IS THE OPPOSITE OF OTHER RELIGIONS, BECAUSE GOD PROVIDES HIS OWN SACRIFICE.
Author: Scott LaPierre