Abraham and Isaac

Promises! Promises! September 17 2017  |  ELC, Ogden

Genesis 21:1-3 God’s promise to Abraham kept.  Sarah laughs with joy!

Genesis 22:1-14 Give the promised one back.  “Indian giver?”

John 1:29 – behold, the Lamb…

For family devotions one night Martin Luther read the account of Abraham offering Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22.  Katie, his wife said, “I do not believe it.  God would not have treated His own Son like that!”

“But Katie,” replied Luther,  “He did.”

Is This The Ultimate Child Abuse by the Ultimate Cruel Parent?  Or What?????

Is God contradicting Himself?  Giving a promised son, and then demanding him back—by offering him as a burnt offering?

What was going through Abraham’s mind?  Did he doubt what he was hearing?  God’s voice?  Did he argue silently?  It seems he just complied obediently.  Did he?

What about Isaac?  How did he feel?  Did he completely trust God?  His father?

What would you do if God asked you to do something that crazy?  If you felt God were calling you to do something like that today, I would call you crazy.  If you feel/think God is telling you to go against what you clearly understand to be one of God’s commands— think it through.  Sometimes we get caught between a rock and a hard place.  This account in Scripture deliberately points to Jesus and His death on the cross for us.  Outside of that I doubt God would ever call upon us to break the law of loving one another.

Whenever God speaks to people in the Bible it seems as though God always uses the same pattern.

Abraham!  Abraham!

He did so when He called the young boy Samuel early in that prophet’s life.

Samuel! Samuel!

And when Jesus confronted Saul on the road to Damascus and turned Paul’s life around.

Saul!  Saul!

If we fail to see the horror of this request, we are probably not reading it correctly.  Yet if we only see the horror and dismiss the story we are also missing the point.  When Luther taught and preached this text he contrasted the themes of life and death.  The plague was ripping through the town of Wittenberg and many people were dying.  The people were afraid.  So Luther addressed their fear.

He quoted an old hymn that said “in the midst of life we are in death.”  And added the phrase, “In the midst of death we are in life” because of Jesus.  And he wrote and spoke about how Abraham and Isaac learned to trust God beyond death and the grave.  Hebrews 11 addresses that issue to.


The Promise – God promises to bless all the families of earth through Abraham  Gn 12:1-3.

The Waiting – Despite this promise Abram and Sarai are childless

The Interference – Sarai and Abram come up with a different way of having children, through Sarai’s servant, Hagar.  Ishmael is born. Gn 16

The Promise Renewed- God had not forgotten His promise to Abram.  He changes Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah, and promises Sarah will give birth to a son.  Gn 17:16

The Fulfillment – Isaac is born.  His name means “laughter!”

The Test – After years of waiting with no child, then in their old age having a child, and watching that child grow up to be a teenager, God tells Abraham to give Isaac back.  Why?!  Is God now an “indian giver?”  One to tell a father to kill his son!

The Trust – It seems as though the same God who waited so long to answer the promise of an heir through whom God would make a great nation and bless all the families of the earth— that God was again challenging the trust that Abraham was growing to have.  The Promise is Christological—anchored and centered in Christ.  Jesus is God’s only Son who was born specifically into our human race to go to the cross and die for us.  God indeed gives His only Son, whom He loves to show us just how much He loves us, and to what extent God would go to save us!  It is in a sense metaphorical and challenges us in how we demonstrate our trust in God.

God’s name in this section is “Jehova-Jireh.”  The Lord will Provide.

Moriah is the presumed site for the Temple in Jerusalem where the Muslim Mosque, Dome of the Rock, is now.  Luther’s interpretation of the word, Moriah, is “fear.”  The implied truth is that fear often trumps trust.  We fear the reality of death more than the reality and power of life, especially as we stand at the death bred or grave side of a loved one.

God’s Word calls us to believe past what we see, and to trust the goodness of God despite what we see as the power and supremacy of evil in our world.  Don’t give in to fear.  Overcome evil and fear by continuing to know and follow God, doing good, being kind and gracious to all you come in contact with.

Job said, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).

I don’t know where you are in your life or in your faith, but I hope this story and lesson gives you some encouragement and hope.

In all this broken world I believe that Jesus is the Lamb that makes us right with God.  He doesn’t heal or cure all the evil on this side of heaven.   But He gives us hope and the ability to carry on, and promises us a better tomorrow.  Heaven.  Eternal life.