Lesson 10 - Isaac – The Promised Seed

    Suggested Bible Reading: Genesis, Chapters 21-22

    God Fulfills His Promise

    God had promised to give Abraham and Sarah a son even though they were too old to have children. Twenty-five years later God was finally ready to fulfill that promise to Abraham. He was now 100 years old, and Sarah was 90 years old. They both knew that it was impossible for them to have children at their age, but God always fulfills His promises. Nothing is impossible with God. They had a son and named him Isaac. The Bible says in Genesis 21:1-3, “And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.”

    Isaac was the pride and joy of Abraham. Abraham believed that God's promise to send a Savior to the earth would be fulfilled through Isaac and his descendants. Many years passed by and Isaac grew to be a young man. His father and mother loved him very much. However, one day God told Abraham to do a most difficult thing.

    God Tests Abraham’s Faith

    The Bible says in Genesis 22:1-2, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac! How then would Abraham become the father of a great nation? How then would the Savior be one of his descendants? How could God's promises be fulfilled through Isaac if Abraham killed his only son? God is not endorsing child sacrifice. He was merely testing Abraham to see if he loved God more than his own son. What a difficult test!

    Abraham did not doubt or question God. He accepted what God commanded. He believed God and knew He could not lie. He knew God would not give him a promise and then change his mind. God would still keep his word. This test of faith was very difficult, but Abraham put his trust in God. Abraham discovered just what each person needs to discover for himself: that God never fails to do what he has promised. We can fully trust Him. God wants us to trust His word. We need to be careful and make sure that we are trusting God’s Word, and not in our own ideas, or in some preacher’s word, but in God’s Word, the Bible.

    The Bible says in Genesis 22:3-5, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Abraham really believed God. So far he is doing everything he should. He gets up early the next morning. He does not hesitate to obey God. He is really trusting God to work this situation out. Somehow, Abraham knew Isaac would return with him, because he told his servants that "we" will go worship and come back again.

    The Bible says in Genesis 22:6-8, “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”

    Isaac had seen his father worship and offer sacrifices to God before. He could not understand why they had not taken a sheep with them to sacrifice. Abraham confidently instructed him that God would provide himself a lamb for the sacrifice. He knew God would not make a promise about Isaac and then not fulfill it. Isaac had to live! Even if Isaac died, Abraham believed God would bring him back to life to fulfill his promises. This certainly was a difficult test for Abraham, but he knew something had to happen up on the mountain top to spare Isaac's life.

    Believing God is the most important thing we can do. Just hearing God's word will not deliver us from Satan's control. Suppose you were sick and went to the doctor. The doctor told you what medicine you should take. Would you get better by just hearing the doctor tell you about the medicine? Of course not! You would need to take the medicine to get better. Likewise, just listening to God's words will not help us. We need to believe and obey God’s Word. God will only accept those who, like Abraham, believe Him.

    God Provides the Way to Life

    The Bible says in Genesis 22:9-10, “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” Isaac was a young man and could have put up a fight, but there was no struggle. Isaac willingly submitted to his father. When Isaac was bound, there was no way for Isaac to escape. He was helpless and could not save himself. When God shut the door of Noah's ark, there was no escape for anyone outside the ark. Likewise, there was no escape for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah when God sent down fire.

    God saved Noah and his family from the flood. God saved Lot and his daughters from the fire which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Only God could save Isaac from being killed. Is there any way that we can save ourselves from everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire? No! We cannot save ourselves. Only God can make a way for man to be accepted and escape the Lake of Fire.

    The Bible says in Genesis 22:10-13, “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” God saved Isaac! Abraham passed the test! God told Abraham not to kill his son. Although Abraham loved Isaac more than anything else on earth, he loved God even more. God provided an animal for sacrifice. God caused a ram to be caught by its horns in the bush. Abraham killed the ram and burned it as an offering to God. Isaac went free because God provided a substitute to die in his place. The ram was Isaac's substitute.

    The Bible says in Genesis 22:14-19, “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.”

    God provided a ram to die instead of Isaac. Abraham believed that God would also provide the Savior to triumph over sin, just as He provided the ram. In our very last lesson, we will see something even more dramatic occurring on this same mountain. Just as Isaac was under God's direct order to die, so all mankind is under the sentence of death. Isaac could not save himself. Abraham trusted the Lord, believing that somehow his loving God would provide a way to live. And He did. God provided a way of escape through a substitute; the innocent dying for the guilty.

    Just as Abel offered a sacrifice to die in his place, so the ram died in Isaac's place. Just as God accepted Abel's sacrifice, so God accepted Abraham's sacrifice of the ram in Isaac's place. We cannot begin to imagine such a difficult test as Abraham faced. However, we can see that God rewarded Abraham for his faith. He provided a way for Isaac to be saved. The ancestral line of the promised Savior was preserved. God can be completely trusted to fulfill His promises.

    Study Questions

    1. Abraham believed that God’s promise to send a Savior to the earth would be fulfilled through his son Isaac.
    2. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac because…
    3. Abraham thought that God had changed His mind about His promise.
    4. We should not trust in our own ideas, or a preacher’s word, but we should rather trust in Word.
    5. What verse tells us that Abraham knew that he and Isaac would return together alive?
    6. God will only accept those who …
    7. After Isaac was bound on the altar, he could have escaped.
    8. A person that tries hard enough to please God can escape from the Lake of Fire.
    9. Isaac went free because God provided a to die in his place.

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