God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees (modern day Iraq) to go to a land that He would show him. Abraham had obeyed and had walked with God for many years. He believed God and the promise that God gave him concerning a son. God declared Abraham righteous based on that belief. Yet he and Sarah had taken matters into their own hands and tried to “help” God by producing a son through their servant Hagar. But God provided Isaac, the son He promised to Abraham and Sarah. The story we want to look at this week is the test of Abraham’s faith when God called him to sacrifice Isaac, the son through whom God would honor His promises to Abraham.
1. What was God’s command to Abraham? (v.2) How did Abraham respond? (v.3)
2. What did Abraham tell the young men when he could see his destination? (v.5) Copy his exact words.
3. What things did Abraham and Isaac take with them as they walked on together? (v.6) What was missing if they were to make a sacrifice to the Lord? (v.7)
4. How did Abraham respond to Isaac’s question? What did Abraham believe about God? How did this statement reveal Abraham’s faith? (v.8)
5. List the steps Abraham took in v.9-10 as he prepared to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.
6. What stopped Abraham from offering Isaac? (v.11-12) What did he offer instead? (v.13)
7. What did Abraham name the place where God provided the ram for the sacrifice? (v.14)
8. In v.15 the angel of the Lord called to Abraham. What promises does he make to Abraham in v.16-18?
9. In Hebrews 11:17-19, the author tells us why Abraham was able to obey God in this most difficult test of his faith. What did Abraham believe about God that allowed Him to reconcile God’s promises to him through Isaac and God’s asking him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice?
10. God asked Abraham to give up his son Isaac. Because Abraham believed God and because he trusted God, he responded in faith. Has God asked you to give up someone or something? When we hold on to something or someone that we need to release, we may miss the opportunity to see God at work. Are you willing to trust God in the difficult relationship or circumstance that you are facing?
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God
must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:8 NASB
Abraham is an example of biblical faith. He began his journey with God by leaving his home and going out to a place unknown to him. Abraham was not perfect. He failed to trust God at several key times in his life. However, in Genesis 15, we learn that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. The sacrificing of Isaac did not make Abraham righteous. His obedience merely proved the biblical faith he already had.
In the same way, we begin a walk with God by faith. We must trust in the completed work of Christ for us on the cross and not rely on our own good works to make us acceptable to God. To walk with God, we must first begin a relationship with Him by faith. Look up the following verses to see what the New Testament has to say about how we begin that relationship.
1. Read the following verses and record what they say about how we are saved and about what things do not save us.
I trusted Christ for salvation as a seven-year-old child. I knew that Christ died for my sins and I wanted to go to heaven when I died. I understood that I was a sinner and that I could not be good enough to earn God’s approval. I believed that Christ died on the cross for me and I believed that He rose from the dead. With simple childlike faith, I placed my trust in Jesus and became His child. I started my walk with God by faith.
Although I trusted Christ for my eternity with Him, it was much more difficult to trust Him with everyday problems. I was very active in church and I tried to please God by reading my Bible, praying, and doing what was right. However, I developed the thinking that “God helps those who help themselves” and I did not bother God with things that I thought I could handle on my own. After all, He was extremely busy, and I thought I should handle anything I could. Apparently, I overlooked John 15 which teaches that without Him, I could do nothing.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him,
he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:15 NASB
This concept was totally foreign to me. I felt I could do a lot of things. I also was not certain that I would be as happy with what God wanted for me as I would be with what I might want. (As I am writing this, I am hearing echoes from the Garden of Eden. Satan had deceived me, and I deceived myself.) A turning point in my life came when I understood and believed John 10:10, in which Jesus is speaking.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 NASB
I would never be happy or really satisfied apart from Jesus. His will for my life would be the best for me. I would be happier in the center of God’s will than anywhere else I could be. God gave me a new life when I was seven years old. He has spent the remaining time changing me and changing my desires. I began the Christian life by faith and faith also allows me to experience the blessings of the Christian life step by step, day by day.
We live in a stressed out, anxious world. Faith is the opposite of anxiety and worry. When we are anxious, our children know it. Even a very small child seems to sense when her mother is anxious.
Abraham‘s faith was an example to Isaac. When Isaac asked Abraham, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son" (Isa 22:7-8 NASB).
Note: This type of faith is not passive but active. Abraham was actively obeying God while He waited for God to provide.
1. What are we to do instead of being anxious? (v.1)
2. What are we to focus on? (v.8)
These verses in Philippians 4 are life verses for me because I am an anxious person by nature. However, I am encouraged to see the progress God is making in my life as I learn to trust Him. I am less anxious than I used to be and I have learned some strategies to prevent anxiety. Philippians 4:8 is a key to dealing with anxiety. What we think about makes a difference! This is also true for our children. Dwelling on things or events that do not meet the criteria of Philippians 4:8 will produce anxiety. We need to be aware of what is going on in the world, but our focus needs to be on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy.
1. What issues cause you anxiety? What things are keeping you from being a mother with “God will provide” type faith? Write a prayer confessing your anxiety, asking Him to help you trust Him and thanking Him for hearing you. (Philippians 4:8)
2. Your son, who is in the sixth grade, comes home from school with a major assignment that will require much time and attention. His topic is international terrorism. You realize that his spending that much time researching and presenting information about terrorism and the threat it poses will not meet the criteria of Philippians 4:8. What steps would you take to address the situation?
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8 NASB
Abraham assured Isaac that the Lord would provide a sacrifice. Abraham obeyed and trusted God and both he and Isaac experienced the provision of God as a ram was caught in the thicket and became the sacrifice “in place of” Isaac. God has provided His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for your sins. He is the LORD who will provide.