GOD COMMANDS ABRAHAM TO OFFER ISAAC AS A BURNT OFFERING (G-22-HBS)

GOD COMMANDS ABRAHAM TO OFFER ISAAC

In this chapter we come to another great high point of the Bible. We are walking on mountain peaks in the Book of Genesis. Chapter 22 is the account of Abraham’s offering of his own son.

God commanded him to offer Isaac on the altar and then restrained him at the last minute when He saw that Abraham was willing to go through with it.

This chapter brings us to the seventh and last appearance of God to Abraham. After this, there is nothing more that God could ask Abraham to do. This is the supreme test that He brought to this man.

Genesis 22:1-10 KJV

[1] And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

[2] And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

[3] And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

[4] Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

[5] And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

[6] And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

[7] And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

[8] And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

[9] And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

[10] And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 22:1 KJV

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.


  • We never are secure from trials In Hebrew, to tempt, and to try, or to prove, are expressed by the same word.
  • Every trial is indeed a temptation, and tends to show the dispositions of the heart, whether holy or unholy.
  • But God proved Abraham, not to draw him to sin, as Satan tempts.
  • Strong faith is often exercised with strong trials, and put upon hard services.

Genesis 22:2 KJV

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.


The command to offer up his son, is given in such language as makes the trial more grievous; every word here is a sword. Observe,

  1. The person to be offered: Take thy son; not thy bullocks and thy lambs. How willingly would Abraham have parted with them all to redeem Isaac! Thy son; not thy servant. Thine only son; thine only son by Sarah. Take Isaac, that son whom thou lovest.
  2. The place: three days’ journey off; so that Abraham might have time to consider, and might deliberately obey.
  3. The manner: Offer him for a burnt-offering; not only kill his son, his Isaac, but kill him as a sacrifice; kill him with all that solemn pomp and ceremony, with which he used to offer his burnt-offerings.

Genesis 22:3 KJV

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.


Never was any gold tried in so hot a fire. Who but Abraham would not have argued with God?

Such would have been the thought of a weak heart; but Abraham knew that he had to do with a God, even Jehovah.

  • Faith had taught him not to argue, but to obey.
  • He is sure that what God commands is good; that what he promises cannot be broken.
  • In matters of God, whoever consults with flesh and blood, will never offer up his Isaac to God.

Genesis 22:4 KJV

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.


  • The good patriarch rises early, and begins his sad journey.
  • And now he travels three days, and Isaac still is in his sight!
  • Misery is made worse when long continued.

Genesis 22:5 KJV

And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.


The expression, We will come again to you, shows that Abraham expected that Isaac, being raised from the dead, would return with him.

 

Genesis 22:6 KJV

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.


 

 

Genesis 22:7 KJV

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?


  • It was a very affecting question that Isaac asked him, as they were going together: “My father,” said Isaac; it was a melting word, which, one would think, should strike deeper in the heart of Abraham, than his knife could in the heart of Isaac.
  • Yet he waits for his son’s question.

Genesis 22:8 KJV

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.


Then Abraham, where he meant not, prophesies: “My son, God will provide a lamb for a burnt-offering.” The Holy Spirit, by his mouth, seems to predict the Lamb of God, which he has provided, and which taketh away the sin of the world.

Genesis 22:9 KJV

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.


Abraham lays the wood in order for his Isaac’s funeral pile, and now tells him the amazing news: Isaac, thou art the lamb which God has provided!

  • Abraham, no doubt, comforting him with the same hopes with which he himself by faith was comforted.
  • Yet it is necessary that the sacrifice be bound.
  • The great Sacrifice, which, in the fulness of time, was to be offered up, must be bound, and so must Isaac.

Genesis 22:10 KJV

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.


This being done, Abraham takes the knife, and stretches out his hand to give the fatal blow.

  • Here is an act of faith and obedience, which deserves to be a spectacle to God, angels, and men.
  • God, by his providence, calls us to part with an Isaac sometimes, and we must do it with cheerful submission to his holy will, 1 Samuel 3:18.

GOD RESTRAINS ABRAHAM

James wrote that Abraham was justified by works when he offered up his son. But wait just a minute.

Did Abraham offer his son?

Does your Bible say that Abraham plunged the knife into his son?

No, and mine doesn’t read that way either.

Genesis 22:11-14 KJV

[11] And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

[12] And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

[13] And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

[14] And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah–jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Genesis 22:11 KJV

And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.


It was not God’s intention that Isaac should actually be sacrificed, yet nobler blood than that of animals, in due time, was to be shed for sin, even the blood of the only begotten Son of God.

Genesis 22:12 KJV

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.


  • But in the mean while God would not in any case have human sacrifices used.
  • Reference must be had to the promised Messiah, the blessed Seed.

Genesis 22:13 KJV

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.


  • Another sacrifice is provided.
  • Christ was sacrificed in our stead, as this ram instead of Isaac, and his death was our discharge.

Genesis 22:14 KJV

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah–jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.


  • And observe, that the temple, the place of sacrifice, was afterwards built upon this same mount Moriah; and Calvary, where Christ was crucified, was near.
  • A new name was given to that place, for the encouragement of all believers, to the end of the world, cheerfully to trust in God, and obey him. Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide; probably alluding to what Abraham had said, God will provide himself a lamb.
  • The Lord will always have his eye upon his people, in their straits and distresses, that he may give them seasonable help.

GOD REAFFIRMS HIS PROMISES

This chapter compares with Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. The first time that I saw in this chapter these great truths which depict the cross of Christ, it was breathtaking.

Not only in the birth of Isaac, but now also in the sacrifice of Isaac, there is a strange similarity to the life of our Lord.

Genesis 22:15-18 KJV

[15] And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

[16] And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

[17] That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

[18] And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Genesis 22:15 KJV

And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,


 

 

 

Genesis 22:16 KJV

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:


There are high declarations of God’s favour to Abraham in this confirmation of the covenant with him, exceeding any he had yet been blessed with.

Genesis 22:17 KJV

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;


Those that are willing to part with any thing for God, shall have it made up to them with unspeakable advantage.

Genesis 22:18 KJV

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.


  • The promise, Genesis 22:18, doubtless points at the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel.
  • Hereby we know the loving-kindness of God our Saviour towards sinful man, in that he hath not withheld his Son, his only Son, from us.
  • Hereby we perceive the love of Christ, in that he gave himself a sacrifice for our sins.
  • Yet he lives, and calls to sinners to come to him, and partake of his blood-bought salvation.
  • He calls to his redeemed people to rejoice in him, and to glorify him.

What then shall we render for all his benefits?

Let his love constrain us to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose again. Admiring and adoring His grace, let us devote our all to his service, who laid down his life for our salvation.

Whatever is dearest to us upon earth is our Isaac. And the only way for us to find comfort in an earthly thing, is to give it by faith into the hands of God.

Yet remember that Abraham was not justified by his readiness to obey, but by the infinitely more noble obedience of Jesus Christ; his faith receiving this, relying on this, rejoicing in this, disposed and made him able for such wonderful self-denial and duty.

ABRAHAM RETURNS TO BEER-SHEBA

Paul says that God preached the gospel to Abraham, and certainly it was done here.

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

Today the gospel of Christ has gone out pretty much to all the world. There are many who have not heard—that is true even in our own midst—but nevertheless, the blessing has come to all nations. And the only blessing the nations have is through Christ. “Because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

That obedience rested upon Abraham’s faith, and faith always will lead to action. “Faith without works is dead.”

Genesis 22:19-24 KJV

[19] So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer–sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer–sheba.

[20] And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;

[21] Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,

[22] And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.

[23] And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. [24] And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Genesis 22:19 KJV

So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer–sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer–sheba.


 

 

 

Genesis 22:20 KJV

And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;


  • This chapter ends with some account of Nahor’s family, who had settled at Haran. This seems to be given for the connexion which it had with the church of God. From thence Isaac and Jacob took wives; and before the account of those events this list is recorded.
  • It shows that though Abraham saw his own family highly honoured with privileges, admitted into covenant, and blessed with the assurance of the promise, yet he did not look with disdain upon his relations, but was glad to hear of the increase and welfare of their families.

Genesis 22:21 KJV

Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,


 

 

 

Genesis 22:22 KJV

And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.


 

 

 

Genesis 22:23 KJV

And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. [24] And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.


 

 

 

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