Term 1 – Week 9
Big Idea – God provides for Abraham to keep his promises through his son Isaac
- Trust in the promises of God who has provided Jesus our sacrifice
- Belief – God’s promises are true, and he provides what we need in Jesus
- Behaviour – We are able to follow God’s commands, even sacrificing what we love in order to keep believing and trusting in the promises.
As God proved to Abraham in Genesis 14, he does keep his promises. This is made most clear to Abraham through his son Isaac. The lack of a son was the big stumbling block to the plans for God through Abraham. He and his wife Sarah were far beyond the usual age for conceiving children. Without children, God’s promise of a nation of descendants would be dead before it began.
Genesis 21:1-2 demonstrates precisely this point as Isaac is born to Sarah. God has dramatically, miraculously kept his promises. We see here that God’s promises are true. Isaac is born, a precious son and the first in the line of Abraham that would eventually bear the nation of Israel, God’s anointed Kings of the future and one day the Messiah. This excerpt alone should prompt us to marvel at the God who keeps his promises in the most unlikely of circumstances. He keeps this promise as God provides what we need. Abraham needed a son and heir, and so God brought this to happen.
Our focus on the lesson will centre on another example of God’s provision to keep his promises through this boy Isaac. God tests Abraham’ faith by asking him to be willing to sacrifice his precious only son Isaac. This story is striking in portraying Abraham’s resolute commitment to following the commands of God, even when it would prove so costly. This is the son who God has promised in 21:12 would be one through whom Abraham’s offspring would come. How could he be willing then to sacrifice this son?
Abraham has total trust and security in the promises of God. He shows this in his simple instruction to his servants which finished with, ‘then we will come back to you.’ As Hebrews 11:19 tells us, while Abraham did not know how, he knew that God would keep his promises to Abraham and to Isaac, even as far as raising Isaac from the dead. Abraham’s faith proves itself to be true when he is willing to do the most costly thing in obedience and trust in his God. Abraham believes that both God’s promises are true, and that God provides what we need.
It was not resurrection from the dead through which Isaac was saved, but rather a substitutionary sacrifice. God provided a ram in the place of Isaac. God gave the ram to save Abraham’s son, and Abraham named that mountain after God’s provision. The ram died instead of Isaac (v13), and so God’s promises remained true. This sparks off another reiteration of God’s promises to Abraham because Abraham had not withheld his only son. What Abraham has shown he believes is proven to be the case. God’s promises are true as the son Isaac still lives, and in the ram God provides what we need.
We cannot help but think then of the sacrifice God the Father made as he did give his one and only son to die for his enemies. God did not let Abraham go through with the sacrifice of his son, but instead points us to and shows us the gravity of the sacrifice that he himself will make. Just as the ram died instead of Isaac, so Jesus dies instead of us. God promised his people a way that they might be saved, forgiven and restored forever into a right relationship with God. As Jesus, the promised Messiah prophecy-fulfilling King arrives, we can be sure that God’s promises are true.
Additionally, God’s word, as in the case of Hebrews 11, calls us to make note of the remarkable faith on display by Abraham and Sarah. This is an example to us of people who were willing to give it all in obedience and trust in the goodness of God. We can so easily hold on to what we have in this life, and feel unwilling to let go if God might call us to do so. Let the story of Abraham and Isaac be an inspiration for us to follow this radical, self-sacrificial approach to godly living. We can do this know that in Jesus God provides what we need, both in the past-tense sacrifice of God but by the power of his Spirit.
‘If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise‘
Jesus, when you died – Awesome Cutlery – YouTube
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