Abraham and Isaac? The Lamb? The Ram?
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
This week we begin our journey through Genesis 12-50. These books tell our origin story. We will talk more about this at Large Group, but God chose Abram out of all the peoples of the earth to be the father of many nations. The covenantal promise of God was "I will be your God and you will be my people." This promise is replayed all throughout Scripture, from the beginning when God says to Abraham, "I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” to the end, when He who is seated on the throne says, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God." (Rev. 21:3)
Before discussing this specific passage it's important to know this promise (that He will be our God and we will be His people) contained three components to it:
God promised to bless them in order that they might be a blessing to the nations. Read Genesis 12:2 (others to note, 18:18; 26:3-4). This promise is referred to as BLESSING.
God promised Abram that he would be the father of a great nation (Gen. 12:2) and his name later became Abraham, because he would be the father of many nations. If/when you read Genesis 12-24 (the story of Abraham) you'll notice the word offspring (some translate it seed) many times. For example, read Genesis 13:14-16 (others to note, 15:5; 17:5-8; 21:1-7). This promise is referred to as SEED. It is the biggest part of Abraham's narrative: a promise to have a child, a longing for that child, doubting that child will come, the coming of the child (Gen. 21:1-7) and then the required sacrifice of that child (the passage we are studying today).
God promised Abraham's offspring would have land. Read Genesis 12:7 (others to note, 15:18-21; 26:3). This promise is referred to as LAND. This is the greatest theme in the historical books of the OT. The people of God were constantly en route to the Promised LAND of Canaan.
Ok, now that we've got that understood. Watch this OVERVIEW VIDEO on the book of Genesis!
Read Genesis 22. God has FINALLY given him a son (remember the theme of SEED), but now, for some reason he's asked to sacrifice him. What?!
Initial thoughts from this passage? Where do you see the three components (listed above) of the promise in this passage?
This is described as God testing Abraham (verse 1). Hebrews 11 says, "17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back." Think about your school exams. What is the purpose of an exam?
Read James 1:2-4 & 1 Peter 1:3-7. Do you think God tests us still today? What would the purpose of those tests be? Can you think of any examples that are personal or hypothetical?
What do you think of this scenario of a test? A pastor wrote, "I get so concerned for many of you men and women when you move off to other cities single.You are quite convinced now that God wants you to marry someone who is a Christian. But that conviction is going to run headlong into the reality of this thought, “Well, I am so lonely, surely God wouldn’t want me to feel this way all the time... surely he doesn’t want me to do nothing. He knows how I feel. This girl or guy may not be the most religious person on the planet, but hey, he or she treats me so well.”
Did Abraham seem scared about this? Does the text give us any signs that Abraham was certain God would spare his son somehow? (there are two clear parts that show his certainty!)
Read and discuss the differences between verse 8 and verse 13. If you look closely you notice something glaringly different in these verse?
Read John 1:29 and Revelation 5:6-10. Jesus is the Lamb that was eventually provided in our place. How does this help you better understand this passage?
Read 1 John 4:9-10, John 3:16, and Romans 8:31-32. Jesus is the Great Isaac, who followed the lead of His heavenly father up the mountain of calvary, carrying not the wood for a sacrifice (Gen. 22:6) but the wood of a cross. He gave Himself up for us, so that by his blood we are at peace with God.
Lastly, read James 2:14-24. In light of this Genesis 22 passage, which James references, how do we better understand what James 2 means?