By Faith: Abraham & Isaac

Originally published Monday, 12 August 2013.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named (Hebrews 11:17-18)”

The Sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-10)

We saw last week in our study, that God faithfully fulfilled His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son. From two people “as good as dead,” Isaac is born – and now God asks Abraham to sacrifice him on an alter. Faithfully, Abraham rises early in the morning and sets out in obedience. The task took three days of travel – Abraham didn’t loose his nerve. Together, Abraham and Isaac went up to Mount Moriah (which would later be the site where the temple of the Lord was built by King David), and prepared the alter. Isaac noticed there was no lamb.

“My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.” (Genesis 22:9)

When they came to the place where he should be sacrificed, Abraham bound Isaac. A man over one hundred years tied up a young and vibrant man. Isaac must have been cooperative, trusting his father.

“Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son (Genesis 22:10).

Abraham trusted the Lord to provide for himself. Not for Abraham, not for Isaac, but for himself. God would need to provide a better sacrifice than Isaac – Isaac wasn’t pure and spotless, he wasn’t able to atone for sins.

By faith, Abraham trusted God to provide for himself and he acted in obedience.

He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back (Hebrews 11:19). 

Why did Abraham believe God could raise Isaac from the dead? Because he’d seen God produce a child from a womb as good as dead. He trusted God’s promise more than he trusted the circumstances.

“as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:17-21

Abraham believed if God could make nations from nothing, He could also save the sacrificed. 

Like Abraham, we too are waiting on a lamb. We live under a covenant of grace, God has promised to provide for our sins, making atonement through Jesus, the Lamb of God. This Lamb, is spotless (1 John 3:5) and will take away our sin. He has been provided, by God. In the same way the lamb replaced the need for Isaac to be sacrificed, Jesus rescues us from death. Like Isaac, we are rescued, saved by the blood of the lamb.

By Faith Abraham invoked future blessing.

Because of Abraham’s faith and God’s faithfulness, Isaac lived and Abraham received the promise. God made nations from Abraham, through Isaac, then Jacob, then Joseph – the blessing of God passing from one generation to the next. Abraham’s offspring were indeed heirs of the promise.

In Christ, we too are heirs according to the promise.

“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:23-29 

If we believe in Christ Jesus, we too are sons and heirs of the promise. God is a God who keeps covenant and is faithful to His word. Faithfully calling, promising, and fulfilling. Just as he was faithful to fulfill his promises to Abraham, He will be faithful to keep covenant with us – judging us based upon Christ’s merits instead of our own. Praise the Lord, he provided a lamb not only for Abraham and Isaac, but also for us!

Worthy is the Lamb!


*We’re in the middle of a series on Hebrews 11. This is week four. Click the links to access week 1week 2, or week 3