Posted by: bellissimanh | April 16, 2009

Testing, Trusting, Teaching

I think Genesis 22 is my favorite chapter in the Bible. I love the way it points forward to Christ, and I can’t get over the fact that I was well into my adulthood before I even noticed it. As a child, I read this chapter and thought of Abraham’s obedience, and how much God sometimes requires of us… but I didn’t see Jesus in the thing.

lamb

Oh, but He’s there!

Because there is so much meat here, and so much that speaks to my soul, I’m going to break this up into a few posts. If I were to put all that my heart contains in this post, it would take much longer to read than you have time to invest today… so in the interests of holding your attention, I think less is more. 🙂

Let’s start with the Word, shall we? From Genesis 22:

1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”

2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

The first thing that jumps out at me is the word “test”. Not test in the way we think of tempting, but a test, rather, to prove the quality of our faith and obedience, often through adversity or hardship. The fact that it says God tested Abraham says to me that He never intended to kill Isaac… I think what He did intend was to show Abraham what his faith was made of. I wonder how often the Lord has sent tests my way, not so much because He needed to know what I was made of… but because I needed to know.  When my daughter suffered 3rd degree burns over 90% of her body, it was a trial unlike any other I have known. Trials can do one of two things… they can draw us closer to the Lord, or they can drive a wedge in between us until there is a deep chasm and we are left feeling isolated. As I look back at that difficult period of my life, I am in awe of the ways the Lord revealed more of Himself to me and showed me what my faith was made of. I’m convinced that He knew how I would respond in those incredible circumstances… but He intended for ME to realize just how solid was the foundation of my faith and the Rock that I had built my life upon. HE is my faithfulness!

Can you imagine what must have been running through Abraham’s head? The Lord had promised to bless him with all of these descendants… as numerous as the stars. Abraham knew that Isaac was the son of promise. The Lord had told him so. And yet now God was asking for his life?

Here’s what I love. Abraham’s trust was not so much in the promise — it was in the Promiser. How important that is for us! If we place our faith in what we believe God has promised us, how will we react when He behaves in a way that seems to contradict what we believe we’ve got coming to us? Hear me now… I am NOT saying that the Lord doesn’t keep His promises. I’m saying that sometimes we are confused about what He has actually promised. Our simple human minds can’t always comprehend what He has in store for us, and… eager for signs, we often think He has told us something when in fact, it may be our own desires or faulty perceptions that are leading us in that direction. Or we may think that in terms of how He’s going to deliver what He’s promised, we’ve got it all figured out. But who can know the mind of the Lord?  Faith is only as strong as the object in which it is placed.  Unless my faith is placed in God alone, I will be disappointed.

The Lord instructed Abraham to offer up his “only son, whom he LOVED.” Does it surprise you to know that this is the first mention of love in the Scriptures? And does that phrase not just jump out at you? It should…

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:17)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Are you seeing the connection?

The place is also significant  –  Mt. Moriah. The location is very interesting. It is the place of the temple mount – before there was ever a temple. It is modern day Jerusalem, whose streets the Savior was led through on His way to Calvary.

The name itself is interesting as well. One interpretation is  “Chosen by Jehovah” (I love this!). Another is “My teacher is Yah”. How incredibly appropriate for the lessons Abraham learned at the top of that mountain! I don’t know which of these interpretations is correct, but I’ll take them both. 🙂

Wow. That’s only two verses!  This passage is so rich with meaning and life application. I can’t wait to share with you how the Lord prepared Abraham for this moment, and to point out some of the other similaries between Isaac’s journey to the place of sacrifice and Jesus’ own path to the cross.

I love something Beth Moore had to say about this passage… “There are some things we won’t learn in the classroom, but only on a fieldtrip.” And what a fieldtrip the Lord took Abraham on this day!

I am so glad that we have a God who can be trusted… One in Whom we can lean our whole weight and know that He will sustain us, regardless of the tests that come our way. How about you? Has the Lord taken you on a recent fieldtrip that you wish could have been avoided? Keep pressing forward, my friend, and trust in the Promiser. He is faithful beyond your wildest imagination!

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Responses

  1. Just what I needed to hear… thanks for posting. It all has a purpose and God is faithful.

  2. I also love this chapter and the location of the “sacrifice.” How like God to tell the story from every angle through the ages.

  3. The first mention of “love”. Wow! I’m looking forward to the rest of the chapter!
    Blessings – Lisa

  4. I love this chapter. It is one of my absolute favs in the whole Word.

    “Our simple human minds can’t always comprehend what He has in store for us, and… eager for signs, we often think He has told us something when in fact, it may be our own desires or faulty perceptions that are leading us in that direction.” How often I do this–jumping ahead or around God. If only I would learn to trust Him completely.

    I cannot imagine all the thoughts that went through Abraham’s mind. One of these days, I’ll be able to talk with him face to face and get the “rest of the story”.

    Have a good weekend!

    Leah

  5. I loved reading this. It is amazing how faithful God is and how He weaves His purposes throughout our lives and throughout history! It was wonderful to be reminded of all of this. You’ve made me want to study Genesis 22!


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