Bible Lessons, Old Testament

Abraham (Part 2)

Everything’s going to be okay.

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My daughter just graduated from high school, and I’ve been thinking back on her first day of kindergarten. She was super excited to go to school, and at the same time, she was pretty nervous. She had a tendency to worry about the “what ifs” of life, and she often searched for reassurance that everything was going to be okay.

She had been taught to trust God in everything, and she prayed regularly about every little thing. It was so cute. Her dad and I would stand outside her bedroom door and listen to her go over her list of worries with God.

We taught her at a young age that God’s Word says,

Don’t worry about anything, instead talk to God about everything.

And she did. She worried a lot, so she talked to God a lot. Some days in the middle of a meltdown, she would stop and say, “I need to go to my room so I can talk to God.”

Philippians 4:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done.

Her first week of kindergarten, she walked up to her teacher and boldly asked, “Do you know God?” Ruby was at a public school, and her teacher wasn’t quite sure how to answer. But after a long pause, her teacher responded with, “Yes, I think I do.” And I saw Ruby’s shoulders relax. Ruby reasoned that if her teacher knew God, then she could trust her.

Knowing God is the reason for studying the Bible. The more you read, study and understand the Bible, the more you get to know God.

Proverbs 2:3-5 (NLT)

3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.

Let’s look into the story of Abraham like we are searching for hidden treasure.

In Abraham (Part 1), you learned that Abraham waited a long time to have a son. He was 100 years old when Isaac was born to him and his wife, Sarah.

Abraham knew that Isaac belonged to God, but he and Sarah would have the honor of raising him and loving him as their own.

It is an honor and a privilege to care for a child God has entrusted to you.

I get to raise my daughter and love her as my own, but she’s not mine. She belongs to God.

When I look out for what’s best for my kids, I look through the filter of what’s best for me.

God’s not like that.

He looks out for the best for our kids. He created them, and He knows them better than we do. He loves them in a way that we aren’t capable of loving.

When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, He wanted to be sure Abraham knew that Isaac didn’t really belong to him. God won’t likely ask you to hold a knife over your child. But He may ask you to cut away your control. He may ask you to let go and let Him lead her to what He knows is best.

If you’ve ever seen the story of Abraham and his son depicted in stained glass or an oil painting, you might picture an old man holding a knife over a baby on a stone altar. But you don’t want to let your preconceived ideas about scripture guide your treasure hunt; instead, look at the facts, explore the details and the specific words used in scripture.

If you’re with me on this treasure hunt, read the scripture below and look for clues that reveal Isaac’s age.

Genesis 22:1-8 (NIV)
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

As you look for the treasure in this scripture, some clues you may notice about Isaac’s age are:

“Some time later…” Isaac was no longer a newborn.
“We will worship..” Isaac was old enough to know how to worship God.
“Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac…” Isaac was old enough to carry wood up the mountain.
“Isaac spoke up and said…” Isaac was old enough to speak and to realize that they were heading up the mountain to worship God with a sacrifice, but they were missing the sacrificial lamb.

Even if you’re not an investigator by nature, you can see how these clues are valuable in understanding the bigger picture.

God had promised this son to Abraham and Sarah, and He allowed them to enjoy Isaac for “some time.” So why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?

There’s a clue in verse 1 –  “God tested Abraham.”

Abraham’s heart was ready to pass the test.

Genesis 22:9 (NIV)

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

This just got real. Young Isaac could have wrestled down his old dad. He could have fought. But Abraham bound him and put him on the altar.

Genesis 22:10-14New International Version (NIV)

10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

God wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his promised and long-awaited son.

Obedience won’t always be easy.

Abraham learned the hard way how to be obedient to God even when it hurts.

God provides, but we don’t always see it happening.

Abraham was willing:

He walked in obedience up to the top of the mountain, willing to sacrifice his son. God provided a ram to go up the other side of the mountain.

God was ready to provide:

You can’t usually see what God is doing on the other side of the mountain when you’re in the middle of a test or trial. But you can trust Him as the God who Provides.

God has never asked me to sacrifice my daughter as a burnt offering. But He is asking me to let go of the control. He is asking me to trust Him. He is asking me to sacrifice her in my heart, to prove that my love for God is greater than my love for her.

I am trusting that God has prepared her for the journey ahead of her, and that He has enabled her to not only ask others, “Do you know God?” But to also ask, “Would you like me to tell you about Him?”

When you look for hidden treasure in the Bible, God will help you understand, and you will get to know Him better.  As you obey Him, He will equip you to tell others about Him, too.

If you are willing to obey Him, He is always ready to provide.  You can trust Him to make everything okay.

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