Adult Sunday School Lesson for March 4, 2018
To trust that, ultimately, God will provide
Background: Genesis 22
Genesis 22:1-3, 6-14 (CEB)
1 After these events, God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”
Abraham answered, “I’m here.”
2 God said, “Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up as an entirely burned offering there on one of the mountains that I will show you.” 3 Abraham got up early in the morning, harnessed his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, together with his son Isaac. He split the wood for the entirely burned offering, set out, and went to the place God had described to him. . . .
6 Abraham took the wood for the entirely burned offering and laid it on his son Isaac. He took the fire and the knife in his hand, and the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father?”
Abraham said, “I’m here, my son.”
Isaac said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the entirely burned offering?” 8 Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it, my son.” The two of them walked on together.
9 They arrived at the place God had described to him. Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 But the Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from heaven, “Abraham? Abraham?”
Abraham said, “I’m here.”
12 The messenger said, “Don’t stretch out your hand against the young man, and don’t do anything to him. I now know that you revere God and didn’t hold back your son, your only son, from me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a single ram caught by its horns in the dense underbrush. Abraham went over, took the ram, and offered it as an entirely burned offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham named that place “the Lord sees.” That is the reason people today say, “On this mountain the Lord is seen.”
Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it, my son.” The two of them walked on together.” (Genesis 22:8)
Today we start a new series of lessons, our first four lessons will be on “Acknowledging God.”
I think as we start this series we must understand the difference between the way God was acknowledged in the Old Testament compared to the teachings of the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, fear seems to be the way God chose to make His presence known. While in the New Testament, God’s people are led by “faith.”
As our lesson text begins, we should be aware of what the first few words mean. What events are we talking about. There are two major events in the previous chapter, first, is the eviction of Hagar and Ishmael from Abraham and Sarah’s camp. The second might come as a surprise to some because it is a treaty between Abraham and the Philistines. (today’s Palestinians)
That brings us to today’s lesson. In many ways the lesson is bothersome, it is not the God we know. But as previously stated, fear was the motivating factor in the way God communicated with the people He had chosen to represent him to the rest of the world.
Abraham’s willingness to obey unconditionally is remarkable. Whether it was obeying the call to leave family and the idols they worshipped. Or the country they called home. Or to sacrifice his only son whom he loved. Abraham’s obedience was counted as “righteousness.” Much in the same way our faith is our avenue to righteousness.
The story in our text has been told many times, but I think there are some things that need to be explored. First, is Abraham's confidence in God. Note in verse 5 “Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will walk up there, worship, and then come back to you.
The other thing is, God is asking Abraham to make the hardest choice of his life. But it is also one that God himself will make about His only Son whom He loved. It is important to notice the words used in our text and the words of John 3:16. While God provided a “Scapegoat” for Abraham and Isaac, He willingly offered up His only begotten Son for us. Faith in that, along with God’s grace provides us with a “Scapegoat.” We no longer have to fear God, we need only “Trust and Obey.” Which is my Hymn for this week.