"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Thursday, October 17, 2019

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter TWENTY TWO

Contributing commentaries by Sonny Islas and James Fire

Studies by Ray Steadman: GENESIS 22: Life’s Hardest Trial 

GENESIS 22- 24 Karat FAITH by Sonny Islas

INTRODUCTION: GENESIS 22 is the high point of the Book of Genesis. Mainly because of this shocking and unforgettable narrative that clearly points to the future sacrifice of God’s only Son – Jesus. GENESIS 22 is also the high point of Abraham’s faith, love and relationship with Yahweh God. Abraham learned two great lessons,
1. God is Faithful (The LORD is loyal to His promises); here are some verses that speak on this marvelous characteristic of the LORD:

EXODUS 34:6 
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

NUMBERS 23:19 
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

DEUTERONOMY 7:9; 31:6 
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God  who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

PSALM 33:4
For the Word of the Lord is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness

PSALM 91:4
He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark

PSALM 119:90  
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;  you have established the earth, and it stands fast.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

ROMANS 8:38-39 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
See also:
1 COR 10:13; 
2 THESS 3:3; 2 TIM 2:13; HEB 10:23;1 JOHN 1:9 

and also in addition to His faithfulness that . . . 

2. God has no problem testing our faith level, love level, obedience level and fear of God level of us, His children. Which, when combined equals true worship.

GENESIS 22:1-10
 1 ¶ Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 ¶ So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." 6 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. 7 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?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

“God tested Abraham”
We understand this now, but Abraham had no idea that his devotion and priorities were being greatly tested. The Hebrew word for tested here is Nissah which means: to check the quality of something. We must understand that when Satan temps us it’s only for the worst. But when God tests us, it’s only for the best. He conducts a kind of spiritual quality check – for our own benefit, so we can see how far along we’ve come.

God was checking the quality of Abraham’s character and heart. And God did so by asking Abraham to do the unthinkable, the unreasonable and even the unbiblical – in the sense that God commanded Abraham to - kill his son and burn him to ashes – the son of promise at that – the son that Abraham and Sarah deeply love and waited for. Such practices were common among the pagan nations and something that GOD expressly forbid His people to do (LEV 18:21; DEUT 18:10; GOD called this an abomination in 2 KINGS 16:3 and evil in 2 KINGS 17:17.

Why would God command him to do such a thing? God wanted Abraham to offer his besthis most prized possession – Isaac. God wanted Abraham to obey, believe and worship like he’s never obeyed, believed and worshiped before.

Plus Jesus says, in:

MATTHEW 10:37-38 
If anyone loves father, mother, son, daughter more than Me. They’re not worthy of Me. Oh, and if anyone doesn’t take up their cross (become a living sacrifice themselves) and follow Me – not worthy of Me.

I wonder if in the background Satan pulled another "Job" on God [as we read about in the book of JOB]? Where Satan probably said to Yahweh, “Abraham only loves You because you’ve blessed Him with Isaac. Abraham has no problem sacrificing animals to You BUT command him to sacrifice his son! His son of promise! Many people sacrifice their children to me all the time! I bet you can’t get that kind of devotion! He’ll probably try and give You second best: Ishmael!” – Who knows?

I titled this message 24k Faith because that’s exactly what Abraham displayed – unmixed, full faith (trust) in God – solid faith (gold).

A karat is a measurement word used for testing the quality and purity of Gold. i.e. There is 9k gold, 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, and 24k gold (24k being the highest quality and the purest gold). When a gold ring is 18k, this means that it’s not pure gold but that it’s mixed with other metals. All Christians display and have different levels of faith in God’s Word and promises.

If they have a 14k faith then their faith in God is also mixed with faith in self, money or some other thing (gold and other metals). Wavering and weak faith is not 24k faith. But God test us like Gold is tested through the fires and trials of life - to purify us from all self-trust and self-centeredness. JAMES 1:2-4 – God wants to take our 14k faith and turn it into 24k faith.

JAMES 1:2-4 
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
– God wants to take our 14k faith and turn it into 24k faith.

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

Note what GOD said in regards to Isaac – “your only son”. Now wait a minute: does GOD have a bad memory? There was after all Ishmael, Abraham’s first born – did GOD forget about him? No – because Ishmael wasn’t the son of promise, but a work of the flesh, He didn’t acknowledge him. And as the LORD is about to reveal something awesome to Abraham regarding sacrifice, how it’s to be a pure work of the LORD’s Spirit, and not a work of the flesh, Ishmael wasn’t even brought up.

For this and many other reasons, Isaac the son of promise (ROM 9:9), born of Sarah his mother by the life-creating power of the Spirit, would fit this type of Christ’s offering.
And did you also note that GOD observed Abraham’s love for his son? You can search the first 21 chapters of Genesis with a keen eye, but you won’t find the word “love” until this chapter. This brings up the principle of the law of first mention. Many times, certainly not always, when a significant word is mentioned for the first time there is great importance attached to it.

GENESIS 22:2 is comparative to JOHN 3:16:

JOHN 3:16
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

Such love calls upon sacrificial giving; Abraham loved his son but offered him up to the LORD.

The LORD loves this world and so He offered up His Son.
Go to the Land of Moriah” Moriah means: chosen by Jehovah.
The land of Moriah is none other than the Holy land of Jerusalem.
So, Abraham rose early in the morning

Notice, no questions asked, no complaint, no 'wait a minute here..', no 'but...', no nothing but pure 24k faith is being displayed. Remember when God told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom? Abraham tried to change God’s mind and even questioned His justice. He cried out "Wait, wait, wait! Don’t act so quickly! Let’s make a deal here. Let’s think this through”
But no, not a single word of protest! 24k faith doesn’t question, doubt or complain, because 24k faith is full trust in God’s promises.

And Abraham said to the young men, 'Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you'.

Abraham made the two men stay behind because they might have tried to stop this 100+ year old man from doing something crazy (in their eyes). At times those around us may not be able to handle our 24k faith. This word “we” is a 24k faith word. Abraham believed that somehow his son (“we”) will walk back down the mountain.

Abraham may have nor said anything audibly but HEBREWS 11:17-19 gives us some insight on how he thought and reasoned. I’m sure he thought if God could resurrect Sarah’s womb, He could resurrect Isaac’s body - from the ashes!!! So, either God is going to resurrect or provide a lamb.

The lad and I will go yonder and worship

Here we learn a most vital lesson on worship. At times we reduce worship to singing songs (a form) but worship is much more that using our vocal cords to praise God – worship is a life of sacrifice. A life of total surrender and obedience. To obey God is to die to self. Worship is sacrifice.

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?'

Isaac who was in his late teens or early or middle twenties was no dummy. This wasn’t his first worship service – his first church visit.

This tells us about Isaac’s trust in his Father’s relationship with God. He could have run (outrun his pops) but instead allowed his dad to tie him up and place him on the alter. Abraham held the knife and Isaac held his neck out! At this point both displayed 24k faith. They both went to worship!

And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son?

Imagine this moment! He had the knife at Isaac’s throat and by doing this Abraham was saying – God can’t lie, and I love Him even more than Isaac. Many times we fail in this area where we tend to love the gift more than the giver.

GENESIS 22:11-19
 11 ¶ But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided." 15 ¶ Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

And He said, 'Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear (highly honor Me above all) God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me'.”

If we want to know our level of love and fear towards God all we have to do is examine our hearts and see f there is anything at all that we would not give to the LORD.

Now I know God knew that Abraham loved Him, but I believe as mysterious as this may sound that at this point God experienced Abrahams love in a special wayGod felt Abraham’s love if you will.

I believe that there are times where God feels more loved by us than at other times. like a real relationship. For example, my wife Marla knows that I love her but when I do something special, she feels that love.

Once this test was completed and Abraham’s faith was vindicated, and shown to be genuine 24K (JAMES 2:20-24,26), the LORD provided a ram to take the place of Isaac.

So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering INSTEAD OF HIS SON 
This is the clear picture of Jesus’ substitutionary Atonement/sacrifice. This ram provided by the Father in heaven to be killed instead of Isaac points to the Lamb of God who was slain on the cross in our place!

This word “will” points to an immediate future time (the ram caught in the thicket) but even more importantly, a prophetically distant time in the future: Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (JOHN 1:29).

In the mount of the LORD it shall be provided” 

2 CHRONICLES 3:1 tells us that
Solomon built the Holy Temple (where man met with God) on this same spot. And even more incredible this is the spot or near this spot where Jesus was offered up by the Father for us. What Abraham was willing to do, God the Father did!

Another rendering of Jehovah Jireh is "In the mount of the LORD it (the provision) shall be seen" which is interesting because of what the LORD Jesus Himself stated in John's Gospel:

JOHN 8:56
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Abraham may well have seen a vision of Calvary and understood that what he was doing was a kind of enactment of what would transpire on Mt. Moriah some thousands of years in the future!

Then God promises to bless Abraham’s socks off for obeying Him in this. 
I will bless you, multiply you, in your seed (Isaac, Israel and mainly through Jesusall the nations of the earth shall be blessed.

Some quick parallels between Isaac and Jesus

Both named before birth.
Both miraculous births.
Both “only Sons” (unique)?
Both faced sacrifice by their Fathers. Isaac carried the wood – Jesus carried the cross. Isaac laid on the alter – Jesus was crucified on the alter ( of the cross). 
Jesus was dead for three days – Isaac was figuratively dead in Abraham’s’ mind for three days (during the three days journey). Isaac in a sense came back to life but Jesus literally rose from the dead! They both submitted to their father’s will.

GENESIS 21:20-24
 20 ¶ Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, "Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 "Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 "Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel." 23 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.

In closing: Do we have any Isaac’s in our lives? Things or people that we love more than God? Areas in which we’re not obeying God’s written Word.

For even more commentary on GENESIS 22, check out Bible Commentaries
Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible - Genesis 22

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