Text: Genesis 22-24
After Abraham miraculously received his promised son, Isaac from the Lord, God tested Abraham by commanding him to take Isaac to the mountains of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering. Abraham immediately obeys. On the way there, Isaac notices that they have the materials necessary to prepare a sacrifice, but no lamb for the offering. When he inquires of his father, Abraham explains, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” After Abraham builds the altar, he binds Isaac and lays him on top of the wood, he lifts the knife to slay him…but then! the angel of the Lord calls out to stop him. “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham then sees a ram caught by its horns in a thicket and sacrifices it instead of Isaac. Then God promises Abraham that He will bless him and make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and that they will take possession of the cities of their enemies. Furthermore, all nations of the earth will be blessed by Abraham’s obedience.
After this, Sarah dies and Abraham purchases land to bury her in a cave. Abraham sends his servant back to his homeland to find a wife from among his relatives for Isaac. He repeatedly emphasizes to his servant that Isaac is NOT to return to that land, because God has promised Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan. The servant prays in his heart that God will grant him success in his mission and asks for confirmation through a sign. He prays that the girl who responds to his request for water from the well with, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too” be the girl God has chosen as Isaac’s wife. This is precisely what happens and Rebekah, the daughter of Abraham’s brother’s son, returns to Canaan to be Isaac’s wife. Isaac loves Rebekah and is comforted by her after the death of his mother.
Although Isaac was the manifestation of God’s promise, Abraham ultimately did not place his hope and faith in the manifestation of the promise, but rather he placed his hope and faith in the Giver of the Promise. It was his relationship with the Lord, his knowledge and trust of God’s character that enabled Abraham to surrender his beloved son Isaac.
Abraham’s obedience to God’s command to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, led to him receiving many blessings, including that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. Abraham likely didn’t realize the prophetic implications of his words, “God himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering.” This is an incredible foreshadowing of another only son, Jesus, the Lamb of God, dying on the cross, taking the punishment for the sins of the world upon himself. In Hebrews 11:19, we are told that when Abraham was tested, he walked by faith, fully prepared to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, reasoning that God could raise the dead. How right Abraham was! God raised his only son, Jesus, from the dead and through this event, saves “all who call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). This salvation through Jesus is the blessing to all the nations of the earth that God promised!
After Abraham passed this test of faith, God’s promises to him really began to manifest. He purchased land to bury Sarah and thus made the first claim of ownership in the land God promised him. What else is needed to fulfill a promise of “descendants as numerous as the stars”? A wife for Isaac, through whom more descendants can come! The specific way God led Abraham’s servant to find Rebekah shows us further God’s determination to be faithful to the promises he made to Abraham.
We understand through today’s reading the timeless truth that God blesses the posture of surrender and obedience. He is faithful to His promises, no matter how contradictory it might seem in the present circumstance. When we surrender everything and put God first, we can trust that He will orchestrate our circumstances for blessing. When God asks his people to do something, it might not always make sense, but willingness to obey Him demonstrates our faith and He will bless us for it!
How do the timeless truths from today’s reading encourage you to prioritize obedience to God? Might He be asking you to surrender anything to Him?
Thank you, Lord that I can trust your character. You are so good to me. Come have your way in my life; help me to put you first in everything. Reveal to me any thing that I need to surrender so that you are my first priority. I want your blessing, so I commit myself to obeying you completely. Amen.
I Surrender (feat. Lauren Daigle) - Hillsong UNITED
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.