Genesis 22

* God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac. (1,2) Abraham's faith

and obedience to the Divine command. (3-10) Another sacrifice is

provided instead of Isaac. (11-14) The covenant with Abraham

renewed. (15-19) The family of Nahor. (20-24)

1,2 We never are secure from trials In Hebrew, to tempt, and to

try, or to prove, are expressed by the same word. Every trial is

indeed a temptation, and tends to show the dispositions of the

heart, whether holy or unholy. But God proved Abraham, not to

draw him to sin, as Satan tempts. Strong faith is often

exercised with strong trials, and put upon hard services. The

command to offer up his son, is given in such language as makes

the trial more grievous; every word here is a sword. Observe, 1.

The person to be offered: Take thy son; not thy bullocks and thy

lambs. How willingly would Abraham have parted with them all to

redeem Isaac! Thy son; not thy servant. Thine only son; thine

only son by Sarah. Take Isaac, that son whom thou lovest. 2. The

place: three days' journey off; so that Abraham might have time

to consider, and might deliberately obey. 3. The manner: Offer

him fro a burnt-offering; not only kill his son, his Isaac, but

kill him as a sacrifice; kill him with all that solemn pomp and

ceremony, with which he used to offer his burnt-offerings.
3-10 Never was any gold tried in so hot a fire. Who but Abraham

would not have argued with God? Such would have been the thought

of a weak heart; but Abraham knew that he had to do with a God,

even Jehovah. Faith had taught him not to argue, but to obey. He

is sure that what God commands is good; that what he promises

cannot be broken. In matters of God, whoever consults with flesh

and blood, will never offer up his Isaac to God. The good

patriarch rises early, and begins his sad journey. And now he

travels three days, and Isaac still is in his sight! Misery is

made worse when long continued. The expression, We will come

again to you, shows that Abraham expected that Isaac, being

raised from the dead, would return with him. It was a very

affecting question that Isaac asked him, as they were going

together: "My father," said Isaac; it was a melting word, which,

one would think, should strike deeper in the heart of Abraham,

than his knife could in the heart of Isaac. Yet he waits for his

son's question. Then Abraham, where he meant not, prophesies:

"My son, God will provide a lamb for a burnt-offering." The Holy

Spirit, by his mouth, seems to predict the Lamb of God, which he

has provided, and which taketh away the sin of the world.

Abraham lays the wood in order for his Isaac's funeral pile, and

now tells him the amazing news: Isaac, thou art the lamb which

God has provided! Abraham, no doubt, comforting him with the

same hopes with which he himself by faith was comforted. Yet it

is necessary that the sacrifice be bound. The great Sacrifice,

which, in the fulness of time, was to be offered up, must be

bound, and so must Isaac. This being done, Abraham takes the

knife, and stretches out his hand to give the fatal blow. Here

is an act of faith and obedience, which deserves to be a

spectacle to God, angels, and men. God, by his providence, calls

us to part with an Isaac sometimes, and we must do it with

cheerful submission to his holy will, #1Sa 3:18|.
11-14 It was not God's intention that Isaac should actually be

sacrificed, yet nobler blood than that of animals, in due time,

was to be shed for sin, even the blood of the only begotten Son

of God. But in the mean while God would not in any case have

human sacrifices used. Another sacrifice is provided. Reference

must be had to the promised Messiah, the blessed Seed. Christ

was sacrificed in our stead, as this ram instead of Isaac, and

his death was our discharge. And observe, that the temple, the

place of sacrifice, was afterwards built upon this same mount

Moriah; and Calvary, where Christ was crucified, was near. A new

name was given to that place, for the encouragement of all

believers, to the end of the world, cheerfully to trust in God,

and obey him. Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide; probably

alluding to what Abraham had said, God will provide himself a

lamb. The Lord will always have his eye upon his people, in

their straits and distresses, that he may give them seasonable

help.
15-19 There are high declarations of God's favour to Abraham in

this confirmation of the covenant with him, exceeding any he had

yet been blessed with. Those that are willing to part with any

thing for God, shall have it made up to them with unspeakable

advantage. The promise, ver. #18|, doubtless points at the

Messiah, and the grace of the gospel. Hereby we know the

loving-kindness of God our Saviour towards sinful man, in that

he hath not withheld his Son, his only Son, from us. Hereby we

perceive the love of Christ, in that he gave himself a sacrifice

for our sins. Yet he lives, and calls to sinners to come to him,

and partake of his blood-bought salvation. He calls to his

redeemed people to rejoice in him, and to glorify him. What then

shall we render for all his benefits? Let his love constrain us

to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose

again. Admiring and adoring His grace, let us devote our all to

his service, who laid down his life for our salvation. Whatever

is dearest to us upon earth is our Isaac. And the only way for

us to find comfort in an earthly thing, is to give it by faith

into the hands of God. Yet remember that Abraham was not

justified by his readiness to obey, but by the infinitely more

noble obedience of Jesus Christ; his faith receiving this,

relying on this, rejoicing in this, disposed and made him able

for such wonderful self-denial and duty.
20-24 This chapter ends with some account of Nahor's family,

who had settled at Haran. This seems to be given for the

connexion which it had with the church of God. From thence Isaac

and Jacob took wives; and before the account of those events

this list is recorded. It shows that though Abraham saw his own

family highly honoured with privileges, admitted into covenant,

and blessed with the assurance of the promise, yet he did not

look with disdain upon his relations, but was glad to hear of

the increase and welfare of their families.
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