Sermon #17 Genesis Sermons
Title: Abraham and Isaac At Moriah - A Picture of Grace
Text: Genesis 22:1-18
Subject: Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac
Date: Tuesday Evening - October 8, 1991
In Hebrews 5:8 we read that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” And that which was true of our Redeemer, when he walked upon this earth as a man, is true of us. If we are the children of God, as long as we live in this body of flesh, we will be required to learn obedience. And we learn obedience by the things which we suffer by the hand of God’s wise and good providence.
The life of the believer is a series of trials, by which his faith is tested, proved, and strengthened. Christian character is developed by discipline. And God will develop the character of his saints. It appears that frequently there is one great trial of faith, for which all other trials seem to be preparatory. Certainly, that was the case with Abraham and the great trial of his faith revealed to us in Genesis 22.
I want you to turn that chapter and hold your Bibles open. The title of my message tonight is ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AT MORIAH - A PICTURE OF GRACE. This is one of the great chapters of the Bible. Here, for the first time, God shows us, in a vivid picture, the necessity of a human sacrifice for the ransom of our souls. Because it was a man who brought sin into the world, sin must be removed by a man. Because man had sinned, a man must suffer the wrath of God and die. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. But the Man, Christ Jesus, “after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God...For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:4, 12, 14).
Genesis 22 records Abraham’s greatest trial and the greatest revelation of the gospel which God made to Abraham. I am sure our Lord was referring to this chapter when he said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). This chapter is full of Christ and full of redemption. Someone suggested, “It could rightly be called, ‘The Gospel of Moriah’.” Many, with good reason, believe that Mt. Moriah and Mt. Calvary were the same places.
This whole chapter is a picture of God’s great sacrifice of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the place of sinners.
There are so many things portrayed in this chapter that I cannot possibly cover them all in one message. It is a picture of...
· Great faith!
· God’s great purpose of grace!
· Substitutionary redemption by Christ!
· And God’s great provision of grace for his people in Christ!
But tonight I can only touch the highlights.
I. Notice first, THE TIME WHEN THIS TRIAL WAS BROUGHT UPON ABRAHAM (V. 1).
“And it came to pass after these things” - After all the other trials, hardships, heartaches, and difficulties he had already endured, perhaps Abraham had begun to think, “At last, the storms are over.”
· This is the man who had been called to leave his home and family.
· This is the man who had buried his father, Terah, in Haran.
· This is the man who had to endure the family strife with Lot.
· This is the man who had to go to war with the heathen kings to save Lot.
· This is the man who had to wait 25 years for God to fulfil his promise - Isaac.
· This is the man who had seen his brother’s family swept away in God’s wrath.
· This is the man who had been required to cast his son out of his house.
Abraham must have thought to himself, after all that he had been through, “Now the worst is over. Now I will live in peace. Ishmael is gone. Hagar is gone. Lot is gone. But I have Sarah and Isaac. All is well.” But it was not so. “It came to pass after these things that God did tempt,” test, try, and prove, “Abraham.” Abraham had been tested again and again. But now the Lord seems to say, “My son, give me thine heart” (Prov. 23:26).
II. Secondly, THE ONE WHO BROUGHT THIS TRIAL UPON ABRAHAM WAS THE LORD HIS GOD - “God did tempt Abraham” (v.
The word tempt here means, “to try,” “to test,” or “to prove” (James 1:2, 3, 12). God brought this trial upon Abraham, not because he was angry at him, but because he loved him. The purpose of the trial was to prove to Abraham the reality of his faith and to reveal to Abraham the glory of his grace in Christ. When the trial was over, Abraham knew himself better than he did before. And he knew Christ better than he did before.
All through his life God had been preparing Abraham for this event. And now, “it came to pass after these things.” Our great, sovereign God does all things “in due time” (Rom. 5:6). And “in the fulness of time” (Gal. 4:4). “After these things” - After the fall, the flood, the exodus, the tabernacle, the law, the prophets, the kings, and the priests had all run their course, it pleased God to fulfil every prophecy, pattern, and promise of Holy Scripture by the sacrifice of his only begotten Son. All that came before were preparatory events, picturing and pointing to the hour when Christ would die (Acts 10:43; Lk. 24:27, 44-46).
God’s providence is always on time. “All things are of God” (2 Cor. 5:18). And God does all things well. Learn these three things:
A. Our trials always come from our heavenly Father.
B. Our trials are brought upon us by God to prove and improve our faith.
C. Our trials reveal Christ and make him more precious.
III. Thirdly, read verse 2 and try to realize something of THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS GREAT TRIAL.
The words of this verse, taken one by one, reveal the greatness of Abraham’s sacrifice, the love behind it, and the agony he endured through it. Can you imagine...
· Abraham’s grief when he received this command?
· The sorrow he suffered as he contemplated the death of his son by his own hand?
· The love he must have had for God, to willingly sacrifice his darling Isaac?
· The supreme sacrifice he made?
Every word in this verse must have been like a sword in his heart! Yet, there is a greater Sacrifice than that of Abraham. Here the Lord God himself is telling us what he has done for us.
A. “Take now thy son” - The Lord Jesus Christ, whom God sacrificed for us, is himself the Son of God.
B. “Thine only son” - Our Savior, whom God gave for the ransom of our souls, is God’s “only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
C. “Isaac” - Isaac means “laughter”, or “delight.” And Christ is the one, the only one, in whom God is well pleased.
D. “Whom thou lovest” - God said, “This is my beloved Son.” Yet, he sacrificed his darling for us, the very chief of sinners!
E. “And offer him for a burnt offering” - Not just a sacrifice, “a burnt offering!” The Lord Jesus Christ is our burnt-offering, our sin-offering, sacrificed for us by the hand of God, according to the will of God (Isa. 53:10; Heb. 10:9-10).
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” (1 Cor. 9:15).
III. Fourthly, CONSIDER THE DIFFICULTIES ABRAHAM HAD TO OVERCOME TO OBEY GOD’S COMMAND.
There were many things Abraham might have argued as reasons for disobedience. But he “consulted not with flesh and blood.” God called Abraham to sacrifice his son, but...
A. The Lord gave him no reason for requiring such a sacrifice - All Abraham had was God’s command.
B. The commandment was contrary to nature, reason, and love - But it was crystal clear.
C. The commandment appeared to be contrary to the promise of God - But it came from God who made the promise.
D. If Abraham obeyed God, as he knew he must, he was sure to suffer much ridicule, persecution, and reproach for it.
· What would he tell Sarah?
· What would he say to the Egyptians?
God, give me grace to give you such implicit obedience. “God’s commands must not be disputed, but obeyed. We must not consult with flesh and blood about them (Gal. 1:15-16), but with a gracious obstinacy persist in our obedience to them” (Matthew Henry). “Whatsoever he saith to you, do it!” (John 2:5).
V. Fifthly, now I want us to LOOK AT ABRAHAM’S SACRIFICE (vv. 3-10).
As we read these verses, turn your thoughts away from Abraham. This is a picture of God’s whole purpose of grace and his work of redemption by the sacrifice of Christ.
A. “Abraham rose up early in the morning,” and prepared everything with great care (vv. 3-4).
Abraham had three long days to think about what must be done. As they journeyed those days and slept through those nights, the burden and sacrifice constantly lay upon his heart. But our heavenly Father planned, purposed, and ordained the sacrifice of his Son for us, not three days, nor three thousand days, but from eternity, before ever the world was made (Rev. 13;8; Eph. 1:3-4). And he never thought about altering his purpose!
1. Abraham carefully prepared everything for the sacrifice. And our great God carefully prepared everything for the sacrifice of his darling Son for us (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).
2. “Abraham saw the place afar off!” So the Lord God, from everlasting set his heart and mind upon the place of sacrifice - Mt. Calvary!
B. Abraham and Isaac went to the mountain of sacrifice together alone (vv. 5-8). God is not a stone! He felt the sacrifice!
Redemption was the work of God alone, a transaction between God the Father and God the Son. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).
Twelve went with the Son of God to the Passover. Eleven went with him to the garden. Three went with him to pray. But when he went to the cross, our Savior was alone (Heb. 1:3).
1. The wood was laid upon Isaac’s back. Christ carried his cross.
2. The instruments of death were in the father’s hands.
3. Isaac’s question (v. 7) - He knew that God could not be worshipped without a blood sacrifice (Ex. 12:13; Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22).
4. “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (v. 8). This is clearly a prophecy of Christ, the Lamb of God.
· The Sacrifice for God!
· The Sacrifice from God! Whatever sacrifice God requires, it is only what God has given!
· The Sacrifice who is God!
C. At last they came to the place of sacrifice (vv. 9-10).
1. Abraham built the altar and laid the wood upon it.
2. Abraham bound his son and laid him on the altar.
3. Isaac willingly submitted to his father’s will.
4. Abraham stretched forth his hand to kill his Son! (Zech. 13:7).
VI. Sixthly, VERSES 11-13 REVEAL A BEAUTIFUL, BLESSED PICTURE OF SUBSTITUTIONARY REDEMPTION.
Once Abraham’s faith was proved, God intervened to save Isaac. And the type changes.
A. When God spoke Abraham looked - Faith.
B. When he looked, he saw a ram - Christ.
C. He offered the ram “in the stead of his Son!” (2 Cor. 5:21).
VII. Seventhly, “ABRAHAM CALLED THE NAME OF THAT PLACE, JEHOVAH-JIREH” (v. 14).
· The Lord will see - He sees our need! - Atonement, righteousness.
· The Lord will provide- What we need! - Christ.
· The Lord will be seen - In the provision he makes!
VIII. Lastly, WHEN THE WHOLE WORK WAS DONE, ISAAC, THE OBJECT OF HIS FATHER’S LOVE, WAS EXALTED (vv. 15-18; Phil. 2:9-11).
A. He was promised a great posterity - “He shall see his seed!”
B. He was made to be a great ruler - “Possess the gate of his enemies” (John 17:2; Psa. 2:8).
C. He be the source of universal blessedness (Eph. 1:3).
In the light of these things:
1. What trial is too great?
2. What sacrifice is too costly?
3. What work is too demanding?