Genesis 22:1 “…God tested Abraham…said to him, ‘Abraham!’…Here I am”
Some Bible translations use the term tempted instead of tested. Tested is a better translation. God doesn’t temp man to sin. And in this case, God was telling Abraham to do something specific as a test of his faith, not enticing him to do wrong. What we might consider as a bad translation is not an error. English is such a hodgepodge language with words having multiple meanings which can change over time, translating into it is always difficult. Besides, we must remember that translating is understanding the thoughts and ideas expressed in one language and being able to express them adequately in another, not simply exchanging one word for another.
Good spot for viewing something I wonder about. I don’t hear God’s audible voice, and I don’t know of anyone who does on a regular basis. We go by impression of the Spirit based on His word. But I’ve always wondered exactly how did God speak to men like Abraham. I realize the text says that God spoke, and here we have not only God saying his name but Abraham replying, so verbally is probably exactly how it happened. I also realize the Old Testament saints did not have the full time indwelling of the Holy Spirit, so impression may not have been an option. God used prophets to speak to His people, but he spoke directly to those prophets. He could have spoken audibly or in visions and dreams, or He could have imparted His spirit for a time for impression. There are times in my life when I knew God was speaking and exactly what He was saying, but most times have been impressions and thoughts consistent with His word. I don’t know if I could have done what Abraham did with Isaac based on an impression. That may be considered a weakness of my sinful nature, but God is well aware of my frame. He knows we are but dust. Perhaps that is why we see a distinct conversation here instead of a vision or dream.
2 “…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…”
Much could be written, and has been, on God asking someone to commit human sacrifice. Suffice it to say, it was a test based on something with which Abraham would have been familiar, not necessarily an attribute of God’s character. It was also an antitype of what God was going to do with Christ. He calls Isaac Abraham’s only son although Abraham had another son. This was the son of promise, the one which came through Sarah, the only one that mattered. God says we are His sons, but Christ is the only one that came from Him. That’s why I like the word begotten. Many don’t like it or use it, but I think it’s because they’ve never been told what it means. Christ is God, came from Him, wasn’t created by Him. That one idea does away with a lot of bad theology regarding the personhood of Christ. It is suggested that the mount of Moriah where the incident occurred is where the temple was eventually constructed or where Christ was crucified. Commentaries vary so there doesn’t seem to be specific details saying one way or another. Obviously God had a reason for picking the spot, we just aren’t sure of that reason.
4 “…on the third day…”
So many antitype references.
6 “…took the wood…laid it on Isaac…”
Not sure of Isaac’s age at this point, but obviously not a small child. We know he’s been weaned, and some time had passed between then and now. Now he is old enough to speak, travel, and carry heavy loads. Most estimate him to be a teenager or perhaps a very young adult, but he could have been older. Sarah gave birth to him when she was ninety-one. She is still alive at this point and will die when she is one hundred twenty-seven, so even if Isaac is as much as thirty, there would still be six years before Sarah dies. Considering that Christ was thirty plus when He was crucified, having Isaac at the same age is not a stretch.
8 “…God will provide for Himself…”
Grace. We cannot provide for ourselves, we cannot pay our own sin debts. God had to provide a sacrifice which is sufficient to remove sin.
12 “…now I know that you fear God…”
God deals with us on our level. Certainly God knew Abraham’s heart, not to mention what would happen before it did. Now Abraham is aware of his own commitment as well as knowing that this God whom he is learning to trust knows his commitment also.
13-14 “…a ram caught in a thicket…The-LORD-Will-Provide…”
God provided the substitute for Isaac as He did for us.
18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Re-declaration of the promise. This is the reason Israel is God’s chosen people. Because of Abraham’s faith in God and his obedience to Him, the Messiah will someday be produced through Abraham’s descendants. The covenant wasn’t based on Abraham’s obedience, the obedience he displayed was an expression of the faith he possessed.
23 “…Bethuel begot Rebekah…”
Abraham has received news of his brother’s family. This will give him the idea of where to look for a wife for Isaac.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.