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ABRAHAM_ MAN OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE

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                        BECAUSE YOU HAVE OBEYED ME

Genesis 22:1-19                                                               Key verse: 18

Part I: Sacrifice Isaac As A Burnt Offering (1-8)

1.     Read verses 1 and 2. When did God test Abraham (1)?

"Some time later God tested Abraham." The clue for us to guess Isaac’s age is found in
verse 6 – Abraham placed the wood for burnt offering on Isaac – how much wood should it
be for a burnt offering? Surely, it was a lot – maybe, the maximum a young man can carry.
Isaac was not a little boy like 6 years old or seven years old, but at least, a teen age boy.

God let him enjoy Isaac for a while. Abraham experienced what it meant to be blessed by
God and to be with Isaac. Then it was time to test him.

What is the significance of God calling Abraham by name?

God the good shepherd knows his sheep by name. God knew Abraham well. They had a
friendship together. God tested Abraham after establishing deep personal relationship
with him.

What was Abraham’s answer?

"Here I am." He was not surprised at God’s calling, but simply said, “Here I am” showing
that talking with God was not something strange to him – They had enjoyed such fellowship
often, and they knew each other very well.

What did God ask him to do?

"To take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.
Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

God wanted to see how Abraham would respond if He asked him to offer Isaac his only son
as a burnt offering to Him. How would he respond? God knew Abraham loved Him. But how
would he respond if he were asked by God to offer Isaac his Son as a burnt offering? It
was the test of true obedience. Does Abraham love God's blessing or God, the giver of the
blessing?

God wants us to love him first; get rid of those idols. God was training Abraham to put God
first.

When God blesses us by giving us our heart's desire, it is easy to become attached to the
gift that we forget the giver.
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What shows that God knew very well the difficulty of what he was asking Abraham to
do?

He emphasized "your only son…. Whom you love." God fully understood how difficult it would
be for Abraham to do so. But still knowing everything, he asked Abraham to sacrifice his
only son as a burnt offering to Him. He wanted to see how he would respond to this.

2.     In what sense is this command unreasonable for Abraham to obey?

First, the command was not logical. God promised that through Isaac his offspring would be
reckoned, but now he asked to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. It was not rational.

Second, offering a person as a burnt offering is not biblical.      The command God gave
Abraham was not consistent with God he had known thus far.

In short, Abraham could not understand why. He must have been confused a lot.

What do you think God wanted to see through this command?

God wanted to see if Abraham would obey Him even though he could not understand why,
and even though it seemed illogical. God wanted to see if Abraham would obey even if it
meant for him to sacrifice his best treasure.

3.     How and when did Abraham respond to God's command (3)?

First, Abraham was a man of obedience. "Early the next morning Abraham got up…" shows
he didn't hesitate or calculate.

He was decisive and already Isaac was offered to God as a burnt offering in his heart.

Second, he didn't tell anyone, not even Sarah. If he told Sarah, he would be able to come
out of this dilemma very easily, saying, “I wanted to obey, but my wife did not want.” But he
did not do so.

Third, he overcame his personal feelings and emotions. What God told him to do sounded
crazy and insane, "What!? Sacrifice my son Isaac?!" But throughout the journey to the
very altar of sacrifice, his faith in God and simple obedience to God's command did not
waiver.

Fourth, he overcame his logical and rational way of thinking. He had hundreds
understandable reasons to disobey the command. "Nevertheless" he obeyed overcoming all
obstacles, the obstacle of his own logical way of thinking, the obstacle of his past knowledge
about God, and his feeling. Certainly, he did not live by his feelings, not by his logic or
reason, but by faith in God only. "Nevertheless" he obeyed.
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Read verses 4 through 8. When did they arrive in the area for sacrifice?

On the third day

Abraham’s journey took many days. It was not about one time making a decision, but three
days. During these three days, all kinds of painful thoughts, images, and ideas had bothered
Abraham. Maybe, one time, he had faith and was determined, but the other time, he was
troubled and scared. But he did not back out. Despite all challenges, pains, and sorrows, he
kept walking on, making progress in his journey to offer his son as a burnt offering to God.
Each step of his journey represented his faith and obedience – the victory of his fight of
faith.

Why can many people not obey God? Many people back out in the course of their struggle to
obey God’s will, because of difficulties, because of financial difficulties, because of the
sense of losses, sorrows, because of their human desires and passions. As a result, they
never obey God. They always come up with excuses, saying, “Because of this,…” “Because of
that.” They say, “I tried, but,…”But Abraham fought the battle of faith in God to the end,
and made progress continually. He was a man of obedience, and faith.

Tell me about Abraham’s obedience here. I think that his obedience was not impulsive, but
persistent, showing his faithfulness to God very well.



As Abraham and Isaac climbed the mountain together, what did Isaac ask his father?

"….where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

When Isaac asked this question, if Abraham had any second thought, or if he had any
hesitation in obeying this command, probably, here, he would have collapsed, crying, “I can’t!
I can’t! Sorry, Lord.” But he obeyed God, not feelings.



What was Abraham’s answer?

Verse 8, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."

Here, what did Abraham believe? He believed that providing the lamb was what God ought
to do to fulfill His own promise. He said, "God himself…" So worrying about preparing the
lamb was not what he was asked to do. He believed that on the mountain of obedience,
everything would be provided and fulfilled by God beyond man's understanding.

Here, what can you learn about obedience to God? When we obey God, he always provides.
God even gave us Jesus.
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Part II: I Will Surely Bless You (9-19)

4.     Read verses 9-12. After arriving at the place of sacrifice, what did Abraham
       do?

Verse 9. He built an altar and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him
on the altar on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his
son.



Why did he stop slaying his son?

Because a voice from heaven called him and asked him not to kill Isaac.



What was God confirmed of Abraham through his obedience?

"Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only
son."

Abraham proved that he feared God through his obedience to God's command, which meant
sacrificing his most precious treasure. Abraham passed the final exam and got a big "A+" in
his faith and obedience class.



What does it mean to "fear God"?

Fearing God means to not withhold from God even your son, your only son. “Now I know that
you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Those who fear God do not make excuses or do not run away from such dilemma, but obey
God’s will even though it means for them to offer Isaac, their most precious treasure. They
are the ones who love God in the true sense, and who treat God as God.

Those who fear God obey God’s command absolutely even it means great sacrifice for them
because they love God so dearly.

To fear God is to treat God as God. If we think God as God, there cannot be "No", or "Let
me think about it", or "Let me pray about it." There is "Yes, Sir!" all the time.

Through offering our most valuable treasure Isaac to God, we prove that we love and fear
God.



What is your Isaac?
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5.     Read verses 13 and 14. How did God provide the sheep for the sacrifice?

Verse 13.

How did Abraham name that place?

"The Lord Will Provide." (Jehovah-jireh in English, Yehovah-yireh in Hebrew)

What did Abraham personally learn through this event?

Abraham learned that God provides everything if he obeyed. Through this, Abraham
experienced the real fruit of faith and obedience, which gave him complete peace and
confidence. He learned the secret of obedience in practice.

What does Abraham giving this name to the place show us?

It shows us that it was not easy for Abraham to obey this command and that a terrible war
had been going on in his heart – all kinds of doubts, negative thoughts about God, and all
kinds of terrible emotions had bothered him.

But despite all this turmoil going on in his heart, he obeyed God. With all the pains and
sorrows in his heart, he was willing to obey God. Then, on the Mountain of the Lord, on the
Mountain of obedience, when his obedience was complete, there he experienced God’s
provision, and won the victory.

He proved his love for God that nothing could stop him from loving God and obeying God’s
command. He was proved as the one who would do anything and everything to please God. For
God, he was unstoppable; he was invincible for God.

What is the secret of obedience?

"On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided." "On the mountain of obedience, the Lord
will provide."

We must learn this secret of obedience. We must meet the God of Jehovah-jireh in our
life of obedience. Otherwise, our life of faith is still shallow. But if we experience even
once "the Lord will provide" faith, we learn the secret of the life of faith. The only way to
learn it is to offer our Isaac to God in obedience to God's will.

What did God provide for your sins?

God provided Jesus for my sins. God was looking forward to the more perfect Lamb that
would take away the sins of the world.
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6.     Read verses 15-19. What does it mean that the Lord swore by himself? (cf.
       Heb 6:13-17; Isa 45:23)

There was no one greater for him to swear by. God would certainly do what he says. God
was pleased with Abraham's obedience. God confirms his promise and seals it. No one could
change it.

What moved him to make this firm, unchangeable oath?

Abraham's obedience to God that showed he loved God more than Isaac. Read verse 16 and
18. "……..because you have obeyed me."

What blessings did God confirm?

Three blessings he confirmed.

First, God would make Abraham's descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky.

Second, Abraham’s descendants would take possession of their enemies.

Third, through Abraham's offspring, all nations would be blessed.

Compare these blessings with those of the previous covenant. (cf. 18:18,19)

18:18,19 - God chose Abraham so that he may teach his descendants to obey God and keep
God's covenant so that God would fulfill his promises and bless all peoples on earth through
them. It was a contract. So in order for God's covenant to come true, Abraham's
descendants had to keep God's covenant obeying Him and doing what is right. Otherwise,
forget about God's blessings.

22:17,18 - God confirmed that He would bless Abraham's descendants and all peoples on
earth through Abraham's offspring not based on Abraham's descendants' covenant keeping,
but based on his own oath. No matter what Abraham's descendants would do, whether they
obeyed God's covenant or they rebelled against God, God would surely bring out what He
had promised to Abraham because he was so pleased with Abraham’s obedience.

This is why God sent Jesus Christ through Israel people despite their failure in keeping
God's covenant.

Had Abraham's obedience not been there, what would happen since Israel people did not
keep God's covenant?

Only because of Abraham's obedience recorded in today's passage, all Israel people have
been blessed, and all peoples on earth as well. He became a blessing through offering his
most precious treasure Isaac in obedience to God's will.

				
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