Christ has always been at the heart of the Bible from Genesis to Revelations and discovering him within each book is a true blessing. I wanted to reveal to you guys Christ in some of these books and to show you how the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of the New Testament and I thought Genesis 22 and 24 were amazing places to demonstrate this.
In part one I wish to explore Genesis chapter 22 and next week Thursday we shall explore Genesis 24.
You will all probably come to realise how much I value understanding the context of every story as this helps us to understand the purpose of the scripture and catch glimpses of God’s amazing works.
As such, before we begin to delve deeper into Genesis 22, let us establish the context first:
Abraham and Sarah had been married for many years but had remained child-less due to Sarah being barren. However, three visitors (one of them God) visited Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 15) in their ripe old age and told them that Sarah was going to conceive a child supernaturally. Cut to a few chapters later, Sarah does miraculously give birth to a son named Isaac at age 90 and Abraham aged 100 years. Yet!, In Genesis Chapter 22 God asks for Abraham to sacrifices his beloved son whom had been conceived supernaturally.
I don’t know about you but this sounds slightly messed up, and anything that sounds slightly messed up calls for further investigation.
So, I ask ?
- Do you have your bibles open?
- Do you have a pen a paper
- Is you mind open and receptive
Okay Good, let us begin….
Genesis 22: 1-2
In verse 1, God decided to test or tempt Abraham to see how faithful he truly was. I am currently reading The Dake Bible which shows that prior to this request God had asked him to follow 6 tasks
- To leave his native land (Gen 12:1)
- To leave his own kindred (12:1)
- To follow God’s leading (12:1)
- To separate from Lot (13:5-8)
- To give up his plans for Ishmael (17:15-27)
- To Cast out Hagar and Ishmael (21: 921)
In all of these things Abraham had proved faithful, and some of these tasks were not easy, such as when Abraham was told to cast his son Ishmael* into the wilderness for the sake of God’s will; Abraham had remained faithful and obedient to God.
If we were to stand in Abrahams position, first he is in a foreign land with no family support nearby, second he had a son and reared him and was told to cast him aside and now the lord is asking you to kill the only son you have left: harsh!
What I find most outstanding about Abraham, is through all that he still had faith in God to know that God would never leave him stranded and that whatever plans he had they were for his good.
I think this verse just once again shows Abrahams complete obedience, but what I want to pick out is what is written in verse 4
‘On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance’
From this verse we can gather that the journey to the location was far as it took Abraham and Isaac three days to reach the place. I am sure that through out that journey Abraham was possibly pleading to God for this to be prevented in some way. Also I want you to ponder to yourself the significance of the journey taking ‘three days’. Jesus was buried for three days, it took three days for Jesus to take the keys of death and hell (Revelations 1:18) back so that we would no longer be under its bondage. It took a three day journey before a substitute sacrifice in place of Isaacs bondage was to be found and it took three days for us to be set free from the Devil’s grasp.
Genesis 22: 5-10
Wow- I think that if these verses were a tv-drama or a movie this is the point at which the audience would be on the edge of their seats.
Abraham took the fire , the wood and a knife for the burnt offering and he and his son walked up the mountain to build an altar for the sacrifice. Along the journey Isaac in verse 7 asked where the lamb was for the sacrifice, to which Abraham responded
(22:8) “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering”
It is interesting that within this verse Abraham was prophesying what was to come. Instead of man taking the penalty , God would provide a sacrifice in our place but this time through Jesus the ‘perfect lamb’. In the Jewish culture on certain festivals and seasons, people would sacrifice an innocent lamb whose shed blood would thus in turn cover whatever transgressions they had committed (Leviticus 17:11). When Jesus came, Jesus was described as the perfect lamb (1 Peter 1:19) whose blood would cover for our transgressions for eternity where a traditional lamb sacrifice could only cover for a temporary period.
Also it is remarkable that even in such a situation though unable to comprehend God’s command Abraham had the full confidence in God’s wisdom to know that God would provide.
Genesis 22: 11-14
Just before Abraham was to commit the sacrifice an Angel of the Lord called out to him and stopped him and, in a nearby bush there was a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of his son Isaac.
The Ram became the substitute for Isaac and Jesus Christ became the substitute for all men. He (Abraham) called the location Jehovah Jireh ( The Lord will Provide) in verse 14, because this is where He (God) provided a sacrificial atonement for our sins.
Genesis 22: 17-18
More so than anything else, Abraham was blessed by God not for the act of sacrifice but for his obedience. It was within that act of obedience that Abraham revealed God’s nature and heart towards us. For without Abraham we perhaps would not have been able to comprehend the sacrifice which God made for our sake.
This is one of the reasons why Abraham is given the title of ‘Father of Faith because
By faith he (Abraham) considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead , from which he also got him (Isaac) back as an illustration/ foreshadowing’ Hebrew 11:19
They say the bible tells all things we need to know about God and this is so true. The bible is like an instruction manual for all humans to understand God’s nature and when we sit down to read we see his loving heart and his plans for us.
As mentioned prior, there had been 6 things which God had asked Abraham to do prior to Genesis 22. It is through his obedience in these things that God could trust Abraham not to be tempted to disobey when he requested for Abraham to sacrifice his son.
It is through obedience in God that we can learn to trust in God and his nature, Abraham had walked with God for such a long time and had remained faithful to his command that when tested in such a situation he still had the confidence to trust in God’s wisdom above his own.
God favours those who are obedient more so than those who sacrifice. Abraham was blessed because he was obedient, and through his obedience we saw the image of the father and the son which was more valuable than any of his previous acts of faithfulness.
If you liked reading about this please check out Revealing Jesus Through Isaac Part II, subscribe to receive notifications on latest updates.
*In prior chapters as mentioned in Genesis 15, God had informed Abraham and Sarah that they would conceive a son, however , questioning the words spoken to them Sarah encouraged Abraham to have a son through another woman* (Hagar) named Ishmael . Unlike Isaac, Ishmael’s’ birth was not a product of God’s covenant with Abraham but a product of mans efforts and doubts in the Lord. As such in verse 2 the Lord commands Abraham to
“Take your son, your only son Isaac”
Therefore, Isaac at the time was the only son of covenant of Sarah with whom Jesus’ lineage would spring from.