Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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God had promised Abraham an heir and descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven (Gen 15:4, 5).  But in Genesis 22, when Abraham’s heir, Isaac, is almost a man, God commands Abraham to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. 


How should one respond when God’s command seems to contradict His promise? In the past Abraham had tried to save his family by passing his wife off as his sister, and he had tried to fulfill God’s promise of a son by sleeping with his wife’s maid.  But now Abraham is finally ready to live by what God had asked him before Isaac’s birth, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen 18:14).  When Isaac asks him, “Where is the lamb?” Abraham replies, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son”  (Gen 22:8).  And on the spot where temple sacrifices would be offered and near where Jesus would die to save us from death, God provided a substitute ram in place of Isaac.


There are two important personal applications in this chapter:  "Where is the lamb?" where is the Lamb in your life? and "The Lord will provide."   When God’s commands seem impossible to obey, are you willing to believe God's promise?  Does the Good News that Jesus died so that you can have eternal life give you faith to obey all of God’s commands? 


Douglas Jacobs

Professor, Southern Adventist University