This Week: Genesis 22:1-19 Date: February 21, 2016 Series: Shoe Leather Theology: Study of James
This Week’s Resources:
- The Compass Bible Study (pdf)
- Study Notes (pdf)
- Lighthouse Discussion Guide (pdf)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide (pdf)
- Word Search Answer Key (pdf)
Overview of this Lesson
This week we arrive at one of the first “Mountain Peaks of Scripture,” Abraham’s intense trial on Mt. Moriah. As we will see in this week’s lesson, God has tested Abraham’s faith on several occasions, but this test, described in Genesis 22, is the supreme test. The Lord asks what sounds like the impossible of Abraham–to sacrifice as a burnt offering his beloved son, Isaac, the son of promise.
As you prepare for this week’s lesson, do so with the heart of a parent. Sometimes it is too easy to pass of the trials and tests of Bible saints because they are so long ago, yet these stories tell of God’s work in the lives of real people…people like you and like me.
We often ask God to grow our faith, and this week the Bible shows us through the example of Abraham how God grows our faith. As always, be sensitive to the real trials members of your Lighthouse may be experiencing right now. Our first calling as Lighthouse leaders is to lovingly and gently shepherd our people.
Memory Verse for This Week
But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”–Genesis 22:11-12
Core Doctrine: Eternity
Eternity (John 14:1–4): We believe there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the earth and to establish his kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the dead: the believer to life everlasting and the unbeliever to the resurrection of judgment.
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- If you wanted to test whether or not someone believes what you’re saying, what would you do?
- Can you describe a time when you believe your faith was tested? What made the difference for you…whether to doubt or to believe?
This Week’s Take Home Truth
“Saving faith is at work when our confidence in God’s promises results in obedience to His commands.”
Read the Text (Genesis 22:1-19)
This episode brings to a climax God’s ongoing interaction with Abraham, resulting in an important divine oath. The conditional promises of 12:1–3 are now unconditionally guaranteed as a result of Abraham’s preparedness to sacrifice his son. Put to the test, Abraham displays remarkable trust in God, especially when the death of Isaac would appear to contradict all that God had promised to Abraham. The passage conveys two truths for its original audience: (1) it shows the kind of faith that Abraham had, and commends it for Israel; and (2) it shows that “substitution” is a part of the “atoning sacrifices” that God will direct Israel to offer (see note on 22:13). This further enables the people of Israel to see their very existence, even in the desert, as part of God’s plan, which they must embrace. James 2:21–22 says that by Abraham’s works here, his faith (from Gen. 15:6) was “completed,” i.e., brought to its full and proper expression. This shows that “justified” in James 2:21 probably has the sense “shown to be righteous,” rather than the sense “counted righteous” often found in Paul’s writings (see note on James 2:21).–ESV Study Bible. Read Genesis 22:1-19.
Genesis 22:1–19 (ESV)
1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take 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, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions.
- What is the test God asked of Abraham?
- From what we know of Abraham and what the Bible tells us of him, how would you describe Abraham at this stage in his life?
- Abraham is well over 100 years old in Genesis 22.
- He has been through many trials and tests during his walk with God, including:
- God’s call for Abraham to leave his him and his family to a land that God would later show him (Gen. 12).
- Abraham’s forced separation from his nephew Lot, who was like a son to Abraham given he was the closest family member to Abraham (Gen. 13).
- God told Abraham to abandon his plans for his son Ishmael because he was not the son of promise (Gen. 17).
- Isaac was not only the son of promise, but he was a miracle baby, born to Abraham and Sarah when their bodies were aged and their reproductive organs were dead. Humanly speaking, they had witnessed the impossible with the birth of Isaac.
- Genesis 22 begins with the words, “After these things…” After all that Abraham had been through in his walk of faith, God had one remaining ultimate test for him.
- According to James 2:21, why did God test Abraham?
- How would you describe Abraham’s response to God’s command? See Genesis 22:3-10.
- In a word, what sustained Abraham during this crisis in his life?
- Have you ever experienced a time when you were more focused on what God had provided for you in the past than on what He might have planned for you in the future?
- If we pray and ask God to grow our faith, how does God do this?
These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.
- As we examined this crisis in the life of Abraham, let’s take a few minutes to shift the focus from Abraham’s life to yours. As you survey your life, list some of the major crisis you have endured.
- What is the main lesson you learned from these times of trials?
- Of the trials listed, which was/is the most difficult for you to face? Why?
- In what ways are you more like Christ because of this crisis?
Becoming A House of Prayer
Set aside a portion of your Lighthouse for prayer.
- Pray that our Lighthouses will lead our families to be devoted to prayer, “keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
- Pray that First Family will have a gospel impact on the Neighborhood directly north of our church, from SE Belmont to SE Peterson to SE Delaware to SE Magazine Road. There are thousands of people living within this neighborhood and there are three churches ministering within this neighborhood: Ankeny Church of the Brethren, St. Paul Lutheran Church, and First Family Church. Pray for these churches, for their leaders, and that the Lord will open our eyes to the needs right across the street from us.
- Pray for our GO Partners ministering in countries around the world. Pray that the Lord will protect these families, bless them with health, provide for their material needs, and give them great credibility and influence within their communities. For the names of specific GO Partners and where they minister, visit the GO Team wall for the latest newsletters and prayer cards.
- Pray specifically for those within our church family experiencing trials. Are there members within your group who are in the midst trials? Pray for them specifically.