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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 22

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-2

Introduction

In this chapter God shows that His promises are based on the dead and risen Christ of Whom Isaac is a picture here. It is the fourth offering brought in Genesis. God brought the first offering. There the question is answered how He can accept a sinner in His presence. Abel brought the second offering. He shows the answer to the question: How can a man who is a sinner exist before God? The third offering is that of Noah. This answers the question: How can creation, where sinful people live, exist before God?

As we often see in Scripture, a history can be highlighted from several angles:
1. First there is the literal meaning. In this chapter we see a father who is undergoing a severe test of his faith and how he deals with it. From this we can learn our lessons.
2. Then we can also view this history as an illustration of the way God the Father offers His Son.
3. There is also a prophetic application to make. We see this in the blessing that comes from the sacrifice of the Son.

God Says to Abraham to Offer Isaac

After the experiences of faith in the previous chapters Abraham now receives a test of faith. It is an enormous test of faith. It is a great test if you have to wait a long time to get what you have been promised and to be obedient to God’s Word and to keep trusting Him. It is an even greater test to obey God’s Word and trust Him if He reclaims the promised thing from you which you have received. The question then is whether you really believe that God will do what He promised.

God calls him by his name and Abraham immediately makes himself available to listen to what God has to say. What God asks is deeply moving and far reaching. The way in which God says who he must offer is moving. It is “your son”. But not only that. It is “your only son”. But that’s not all either. The description of who Isaac is for Abraham is not yet complete. It is “whom you love”. Finally, God calls the name of his son. It is “Isaac”, his laughter.

This is the first time that the word ‘love’ appears in the Bible. It is remarkable that this is done to describe the relationship between a father and his son, which indicates the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Any misunderstanding about which son it would be is excluded. It is the son he got together with Sarah as a miracle of God. They did not have other children together. It is the son who is his joy, whom he loves very much. God has promised him that he will have a great offspring in this son. Now God asks him to offer all that on the altar. The practical lesson that he and we too must learn is: Do you believe more in what I have given you or do you believe more in Me?

When Abraham has to drive out Ishmael, he has been given the reason. Now that he has to offer Isaac, we hear no reason to do so. Nor is Isaac a criminal who, like a rebellious son, must be brought by his parents to the elders of his city by virtue of justice and die by their hand (Deuteronomy 21:18-Ecclesiastes :). The only reason to do it is because God says it. The only thing that matters in this case is obedience to and trust in God.

The place Abraham has to go to is mount Moria. At that place David will later also make an offering and Solomon will build the temple (2 Chronicles 3:1). The church, seen as a temple, which is as the house of God, is built on the basis of the offering of the Lord Jesus.

Verses 3-8

Abraham and Isaac Go to the Place of Offering

Abraham is on his way to the place God has named him after he has made all the preparations. On the third day, he saw that place “in the distance. This is reminiscent of God’s counsel in which is included that the Lord Jesus would come once to be offered. God has always seen that place ahead (1 Peter 1:20). But it is connected with “the third day”, which is the day that speaks of the resurrection. God also raised him up from the dead on the third day (1 Peter 1:21; Matthew 16:21; Luke 24:46; 1 Corinthians 15:3-Numbers :).

During these three days, Abraham thought about what God asked of him. In Hebrews 11 are mentioned deeds that believers in the Old Testament have done in faith. Only of Abraham is mentioned what he thought: “He considered that God is able to raise [people] even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). This proves the enormous faith of Abraham. He had no example of this in his surroundings, from which he could see that God raises up the dead.

He knows God and through this knowledge and by thinking about all that God has promised him, he can only come to one conclusion: ‘If I have to offer my son, to whom God has bound all His promises, God will raise him up from the dead.’ This is great. This is proof of how real Abraham’s faith is. Therefore it is written that Abraham was “justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar” (James 2:21). The conclusion drawn directly from this by James is: “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (James 2:22). His faith is evident from his works.

In this faith he has made all the preparations. All initiative comes from Abraham. He is acting. In picture we see how all the initiatives go out from God to give His Son as an offering (John 3:16; Romans 8:3). In other places we also read that the Son gave Himself (Galatians 2:20), but for a moment it is about the picture that is presented here.

The considerations of Abraham’s faith are reflected in what he says to the servants: “We will worship and return to you.” We also hear his trust in God in what he says to Isaac: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

In Genesis 22:6; Genesis 22:8, and also later in Genesis 22:19, it says: “So the two of them walked on together.” This is also a wonderful reference is to the walking together of the Father and the Son (John 8:29).

Verses 9-10

Abraham Offers Isaac

Nowhere does it say that Abraham ‘supposedly’ offered his son. We always read that he offered Isaac. The detailed description of Abraham’s actions impresses. Nothing happens hastily, but deliberately, purposefully, calmly. We no longer hear a word from the mouth of Isaac.

We know the outcome, which takes away much of the tension. But we can imagine to some extent what went through Abraham. Certainly, he trusted that God would raise him up from the dead. But to have to kill your son, who has let himself be bound as a willing victim; the son who sees his father lifting the knife to slay him …

Verses 11-12

Abraham Gets Isaac back

Then the voice of the angel of the LORD sounds, that is the Lord Jesus, Who himself will later be the true offering, and for Whom there shall come no voice. On the contrary, when He calls, heaven kept silent. Here He calls, as it were in delight, twice the name of Abraham, because of his faith in Him. He tells us this because He wants to share it with us.

This test is not necessary to show the LORD if Abraham is believing, but to show us the faith in Abraham’s heart. If we say we believe in the Lord Jesus, our faith will also be tested. God sees our faith, but He wants our actions to show others what we confess with our mouths.

Again Abraham is directly available. Then comes the word of deliverance: “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him.” The proof has been provided that Abraham gave everything for the LORD. For him the LORD is greater than all promises and all possessions that are anchored in Isaac. Here Abraham gets everything in return. And what an experience has he gained from it! God is to believe through everything and against everything.

We must learn to put everything on the altar, really everything God asks of us. And does He ask less than everything? Then we will also gain the experience that Abraham gained: that God is the God of the resurrection.

Verses 13-14

The Substitute Offering

Isaac does not have to be offered literally. There is a substitute offering. That is so for every person who believes. Here too the faith of Abraham, which he has expressed in Genesis 22:8, is answered.

Abraham gives the mountain the beautiful name “The LORD Will Provide” Everything the LORD has intended, He will provide. The proof for this is furnished; the foundation for it is laid in the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Verses 15-19

Blessing on the Basis of the Offering

Now – in picture – the son of the promise has been in death and has risen, God swears by Himself (Hebrews 6:13-2 Chronicles :) that the blessing will come, both for Abraham and his seed (Genesis 22:17) and by Abraham and his seed (Genesis 22:18). Both Israel, his physical offspring – “as the sand which is on the seashore” –, and the believers of the church, his spiritual offspring – “as the stars of the heavens” –, will be blessed through Christ, the dead and risen Son of God.

The gate of the enemies will be taken possession of by Abraham’s descendants when Israel enters Canaan under Joshua and conquers the cities in that country. There will also be blessing for all the nations of the earth. That shall be in the thousand years kingdom of peace. The nations will then be blessed through Israel.

Abraham goes to live near Beersheba, which is ‘well of the oath’, to be constantly reminded, as it were, of what God has sworn. Thus we may also live in the consciousness of all the promises of God, which are in Christ yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). Do we do that?

Verses 20-24

Rebekah Is Born

The chapter concludes with the mention of the sons of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. The reason is that from Bethuel, the son of Nahor, Rebekah was born, the future wife of Isaac. Although the marriage only takes place in Genesis 24, Rebekah is mentioned here anyway, because we see here on the basis of which that marriage can be made. That basis is the death and the resurrection of Isaac. Thus the church, the bride of the Lamb, came into existence on the basis of the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 22". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/genesis-22.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
 
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