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Abrahams-near-sacrifice-of-IsaacBy faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. – Hebrews 11:20

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. – Genesis 22:6-8

As we have examined the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah we have seen that their trust in God, based upon His character and His Word, led them to obedience. They have been commended for their faith and set up before us as examples. We have looked in some depth at Genesis 22 where Abraham was instructed to take and offer Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. We have seen Abraham’s faith that even in the event that God really would require Isaac’s life, God would and could raise him from the dead in order to keep His covenant promises to Abraham through his son Isaac.

But it struck me that as we looked at Abraham we forgot to look at Isaac. Now Isaac is listed as one of the faithful as we see in the verses following where we have been in Hebrews 11. But what about this specific situation?

Isaac had to have faith. His faith led to obedience. Think about this for a minute. It was Isaac who was bound and placed by his father on that altar. While the Bible does not tell us much about this encounter from Isaac’s perspective let us examine the Scriptures and see what we can learn about Isaac and his faith – faith that led him to be willing to die in obedience and submission to his father and to the Lord.

Genesis 22:6-8 gives us this glimpse of what Isaac was thinking. The two of them went together. Isaac knew they were going to worship, to offer a sacrifice to God. He was obedient to go with his father, and as any son, probably glad to have the time to be with dad. As they traveled along to the mountain he had a question. Where was the sacrifice? Abraham’s simple response exposes his faith, even as he knew that he had been commanded to offer Isaac – he replied, “God will provide for Himself the lamb.”

Isaac accepted what Abraham stated. He had faith too that God would provide a sacrifice. What trust and submission to his dad then as they arrived at the altar and Abraham bound Isaac and prepared to offer him. The Bible is silent as to anything else the two talked about on this journey but you have to wonder what they said to each other as Abraham began to tie Isaac up and place him on that altar.

We hear nothing of questions, or a struggle, or resistance. Abraham obeyed God and Isaac obeyed Abraham – trusting him with his very life. Make no mistake, Isaac was old enough to fight off Abraham if he so desired. Abraham was well over 100 years old and we know for sure from the text that Isaac was at least 20. Surely he could have overpowered his elderly father if he so desired. His faith in God and in Abraham was such that there is no indication at all that Isaac did anything less that consent to what was happening.

We know that Ephesians 6:1 tells children to obey their parents. We know the duty we have to respect and obey those who have authority over us. But do we really have this kind of faith? Faith in God and His Word and His power over life and death to willingly trust God and those He has placed over us with our very lives?

Since we do not have any more information about this from this text, what else does the Bible tell us about Isaac so that we can see the example of faithful obedience that he is for us?

Isaac took time to meditate on the Lord (Gen 24:63), he prayed (Gen 25:21), he walked with God and was blessed by Him (Gen 26:12), he blessed his sons (Heb 11:20), and he died as part of the covenant wherein God identified Himself throughout Scripture as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Isaac was a man of faith, and we see the example of the obedience that faith will lead us to if we truly take God at His Word and trust Him with our lives. So often we try so hard to survive when God wants us to surrender. To give up. We forget at times that we live by dying and are commanded to crucify ourselves daily and to die to self.

Abraham, it says in Hebrews 11, figuratively received Isaac back from the dead, as if to say that to Abraham, Isaac was indeed as good as dead as soon as God asked for his life on that alter. Why? Because Abraham trusted God and obeyed Him. His hope was that God would raise Isaac from the dead. So when Isaac got off that altar and the ram caught in the thicket became the sacrifice provided by God, truly Isaac was received as being brought back to life from the dead.

Do we believe what the Bible tells us about heaven? About Jesus being the resurrection and the life and those of us who believe in Him though we may die we will live? Do we believe it? If God is able to give or take our physical life from us then why is it so hard to trust Him with our daily life?

Let us learn from Isaac. God can be trusted and faith leads to unquestioned obedience. Faith leads to faith. As we believe God He proves Himself true and that gives us even more cause to believe and know that God is able.

(tomorrow: Isaac’s Blessings)

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