Lesson 23 w/AnswersGenesis Chapters 22 and 23
Following our study of the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael from Abraham’s camp, we now examine one of the most well known stories in the Bible. It is the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and Abraham’s response. We will also review the lineage of the daughter who will one day become Isaac’s wife, and we will note the death of Isaac’s mother, Sarah.
Through all of this, we will see God’s hand at work, as He patiently leads Abraham and his family, and as He faithfully carries out His promises.
Read Genesis Chapters 22 & 23, and consider the following:
- Why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, especially after He told Abraham to listen to his wife and drive his other son Ishmael out of the camp? (see Gen. 22:1-2)
- ANSWER: The scripture tells us that God wanted to test him. Given that Abraham now only had one son, this would be a very difficult test indeed.
- God was asking Abraham to do something so awful, so extreme, that it is hard for us today to imagine such a thing. How would we respond to God if he gave us the same test? What was Abraham’s response to this command, and how does it compare to Abraham’s reaction to the Angel of Lord telling him that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? (see Gen. 22:3, and Gen. 18:23-32)
- ANSWER: In the Sodom and Gomorrah event, Abraham reasoned with God and tried to bargain to save the cities, one of which his brother Lot was living in. In this test, we see that Abraham immediately and without discussion goes about doing what God told him to do: he gathers the material for the altar and the sacrifice, a couple servants, his donkey, and Isaac and heads out on a three day journey to Mt. Moriah.
- Isaac is an intelligent boy. We know this based on two primary reasons: (1) he has already learned what an altar is and that a sacrifice is burnt on it, and (2) he knows that while they may be at Mt. Moriah with the material to build an altar, his father hasn’t brought a sacrifice. What is Abraham’s response? (see Gen. 22:3-8)
- ANSWER 1: Abraham’s reply echoes down through the ages and speaks volumes about his faith in God: "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering..."
- ANSWER 2: This example of Abraham’s faith is also an excellent example of God’s love for mankind; that indeed God has provided the perfect lamb, the Lamb of God, Jesus, who died on the cross to pay the price of our sin; to die in our place, just as the ram that day died in the place of Isaac. What a merciful and loving God we have and what a glorious savior we have in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
- Can you imagine what was running through Abraham’s thoughts as he headed for Mt. Moriah? What would be going through your mind on that three day journey? Was his heart weighed down with anticipatory grief? Was he thinking anything at all, or was he numb and simply going through the motions of carrying out God’s command? The scriptures tell us. Read Hebrews 11: 17-19. What does this passage reveal to us about Abraham’s great faith?
- ANSWER: Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed that when he sacrificed his only son Isaac that God could raise him from the dead. This is an amazing revelation into Abraham’s own personal faith and understanding of God. Long before we had proof that God raised Christ from the grave, Abraham already believed that God could, and would, do this.
- What rationale would indicate to Abraham that God could do all that Abraham was thinking?
- ANSWER 1: He had seen God work in mighty ways in his own life, in the life of his wife, and in the life of Lot. Abraham had always had a well-grounded fear and respect of God from the very beginning, and this command of God to sacrifice his only son must mean God will raise him from the dead, otherwise how would God keep his promise through Isaac?
- ANSWER 2: Abraham believed that God would keep his promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars, and Abraham believed that God would never go back on a promise. He was confident that God would be faithful in fulfilling it and that nothing is impossible for God; just as he witnessed in the life of his wife Sarah when she gave birth to Isaac. If God could what Abraham has already seen God do, then raising Isaac from the dead would also be something God could do. Thus, Abraham had complete faith in God, which is why he did not hesitate in taking the knife to slay his only son just before the angel of the Lord stopped him.
- After the "test" was over, what did God tell Abraham that it was intended to reveal? (see Gen. 22:12, 16)
- ANSWER: God wanted to confirm that Abraham would withhold nothing from Him. Not only did Abraham demonstrate his fear and respect of God, but at God’s command, he was willing to give up his most prized possession: his only son.
- What is special today about the spot on Mt Moriah where Abraham’s faith was tested and where God provided the sacrifice? (see Gen. 22:13-14 and 2 Chron. 3:1)
- ANSWER: Today, this place is referred to as "The Temple Mount" in Jerusalem.
- From this point on, Abraham will receive his blessings through Isaac and Isaac’s descendants. We note that at the end of Genesis 22, specifically verses 20-24, that Abraham is told of his brother’s children. What is the significance of this passage, as it relates to the young son of Abraham, Isaac? (see Gen, 24:15, 67)
- ANSWER: Abraham’s brother, Nahor ("Uncle Nahor" to Isaac), had a son named Bethuel; and one of Bethuel’s daughters, Rebekah, eventually became Isaac’s wife.
- Sarah was ninety years old when she gave birth to Isaac. How old was Isaac when his mother died, and was he married at that time? (see Gen. 23:1, Gen. 24:66-67, and Gen. 25:20)
- ANSWER: Given that Sarah was ninety when Isaac was born, and that she was one hundred and twenty-seven when she died, Isaac would have been 37 years old and not yet married. He would marry Rebekah sometime after his mother’s death.
- Abraham mourns for his wife and bargains for a cave to bury her in. Who else will eventually be buried in this cave with her? (see Gen. 23:2-1, Gen. 25:9, Gen. 49:29,31, and Gen. 50:13)
- ANSWER: Abraham, Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah would all eventually be buried there.
- What city still in existence today is the cave near?
- ANSWER: The cave is near Hebron, the home of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Genesis 23:4 points out that Abraham was an alien and a stranger in the land then, during Biblical times. Interestingly, even today, it is still an area that is very unsettled and an area of great unrest for God’s chosen people, Abraham’s descendants.
God’s promise to Abraham will now be continued through his son Isaac, and eventually through Jacob and Joseph, and then through Jesus. That same promise holds for us today, as the Bible tells us that we are adopted into the family of Abraham and will be heirs to the promise as well. God, through His only son Jesus, is our redeemer just as He was for Abraham; and just as he saved Isaac from death, he will save us from an eternal separation from God
What faith Abraham had! And what mercy was displayed by God! May He grant us that same mercy today, and may we demonstrate the faith of Abraham in our own lives as God works out His will through us
Thanks for studying with us; have a great week.