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16. Isaac Lives and Sarah Dies

June 23, 2009

Text:   Genesis 22:1-23:20

Key Verses:   Genesis 22:8, 14

Outline:                     I. Abraham’s Faith is Tested      Gen. 22:1-4

                                     II. Abraham’s Faith is Steadfast      Gen. 22:5-8

                                     III. Isaac’s Faith is Willing      Gen. 22:9-14

                                    IV. Their Faith Brings God’s Blessing      Gen. 22:15-24

                                    V. Sarah Dies      Gen. 23:1-20

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     The date God tested Abraham is unknown but we speculate Isaac was a teenager in that he, not Abraham, carried the wood [vs. 6]. God speaks to Abraham and asks him to take his only son whom he loves on a journey to Mt. Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice to God. Abraham obeys taking 2 servants and Isaac on a 3 day journey from Beersheba to Salem where Abraham encountered Melchizedek at least 35 years earlier [Gen. 14]. Abraham leaves the two servants behind and takes Isaac and the wood to the mountain. He instructs the servants to wait upon their [Abraham and Isaac] return. Isaac shows his concern by asking what they will sacrifice. Abraham simply responds “God will provide”.

     Abraham builds an altar, binds Isaac, places him on the altar, and raises his knife before he is stopped by the Lord’s angel. Abraham is now commended for his obedient faith. A ram is caught in a nearby thicket and becomes the sacrifice in Isaac’s place. Abraham names this place appropriately “God will provide”.

     The Lord’s angel proclaims that Abraham will be greatly blessed with a great multitude of descendents including the seed [Gen. 3:15] by which all nations will be blessed. This is possible because of Abraham’s faithful obedience to God. Abraham and Isaac return to their servants and go back home to Beersheba.

     Abraham is told of the lineage up in Ur that has come from his brother Nahor. This is given for Isaac’s benefit, a wife [Chapter 24] because Lot’s daughters were unacceptable.

     Sarah dies at age 127 or when Isaac is 36 years old. She dies at Hebron. It appears Abraham was at Beersheba and had to travel home to Hebron to mourn and care for her burial. Thus, we see the prominence Abraham has in the land; home is Hebron but his livestock is near Beersheba where there is water and grass.

     Abraham’s home may be Hebron but he doesn’t own any property. The Hittites offer Abraham one of their tombs for Sarah’s burial, recognizing Abraham has become more powerful than they. Abraham insists he legally purchase the cave belonging to Ephron. Ephron offers to give Abraham the cave plus the field. Abraham ends up purchasing the cave and the field at a very high price. Abraham now owns property near Hebron legally without fear of future challenges. Abraham is in the land to stay.

Lessons/Applications:

     1. God will test our faith but He will never tempt us such that we would lose our faith [I Cor. 10:13, James 1:3]. In fact, God continually tests our faith [consider Jeremiah, Job, David, Paul, Peter, James]. Review your own life and note the times you have been tested, when you had to make a choice to follow God or ignore Him. If you can’t think of any, get on your knees before God and ask His forgiveness.

     2. A strong steadfast faith always looks to the future and never considers the present. [see Heb. 11:17-19]

     3. Isaac could have run away from his father, but he didn’t. Isaac could have run away from God, but he didn’t. Note the times you have run away, been disobedient to God’s call. Note the times you have willingly obeyed. Compare your lists and compare your blessings. An obedient heart is always blessed.

     4. As parents we dedicate and/or baptize our children to/in the Lord. Therefore, let us not stand in their way when the Lord calls them to sacrifice themselves in loving service for Him [Rom. 12:1-2].

     5. This is God’s most poignant example of the “seed” that was promised to come from the bosom of Abraham…, the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sin that we might have eternal life, inheriting all His riches [blessings] He has promised those who place their faith in Him.

     6. God’s blessings are always spiritual [hope, love, joy, peace, comfort, assurance, security, faith, etc.]. Sometimes they are material [wealth, position, possessions] and sometimes they are personal [our heritage]. And sometimes they are all three. “Count your blessings, name them one by one”. Remember what the Lord has done.

     7. Few of us would probably pass the test Abraham [and Isaac] were given. But we are capable and expected to pass the tests that God gives us in the testing of our faith. Trust God in the little things and you will soon be able to trust God in the big things. Trust God and receive His Blessing.

     8. Accepting a significant gift is nice but be very careful. The helpful and generous gift may come with strings attached. Always question the intent of generous and significant gifts. They may not be real gifts.

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