Exchange Your Isaac
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
“17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said,“In Isaac your seed shall be called,”[a] 19 concluding that God was able to raisehim up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative.” Heb 11:17-19
From the story of Abraham offering Isaac, we learn that God calls us to yield our dearest treasures to Him.
Anything good can become an idol when it becomes too important to us. Would you exchange your Isaac? Are you willing to lay down for Jesus’ sake?
The passage above shows us three aspects of Abraham’s amazing sacrificial faith born out of a righteous heart.
- Sacrificial Faith Is Thoroughly Tested vs 17
The Hebrew writer deals with the issue of God’s character in this verse. How could a Loving God ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son? Some critics have dismissed this incident on the grounds that it presents a grotesque caricature of the God of the Bible. However, God’s intent was only to thoroughly test Abraham’s righteousness of faith. Abraham had only two options. Either to obey or not to.If we stop to argue on it, that in itself is a form of disobedience. If we try to talk God out of it, that too is disobedience. If we offer an alternate plan, that is also disobedience.
In Gen 22:1-2, God’s repetitious statement, “take your son, your only son” were to reassure Abraham that God knew what He was asking. By saying it in this way, Abraham would know that God understood what it would cause him to obey.
- Sacrificial Faith Is Confident Surrender vs 18
At this point the Hebrew writer wants us to think what was at stake. God told Abraham to offer his own son. Abraham was fully prepared to do it, so prepared, in fact, that Heb 11:17 actually said that Abraham ‘offered’ Isaac without any reservation. It meant that when he laid his son on the altar and raised the knife, he fully intended to put him to death. The writer wants us to think of something else as well. God had already promised to make Abraham the head of a great nation and through that nation to bring God’s blessing to the world. Gen 12:1-3 God had said that He would bring forth that nation from Isaac’s descendants.
The promise and the command seem to flatly contradict each other. Herein lies a lesson for all of us. When God makes a promise, it is folly and disbelief to wonder ‘how’ He will keep His Word. Sacrificial faith does not reckon with ‘how’. Faith believes and leaves the ‘how’ in the Hands of the Almighty God. If we spend too much time trying to figure out ‘how’ God will take care of us, we are likely to talk ourselves into a corner. Abraham obeyed God, knowing the One Who had called him to offer his beloved son would solve the ‘how’ question in His own way.
- Sacrificial Faith Is Overcoming Adversity vs 19
In this verse, we learn something that is only hinted at in Gen 22:5-8. Twice in that chapter Abraham intimates that he expects that somehow, some way God was going to work things out so that Isaac would live. Abraham believed that 1) he and his son would somehow return together. 2) God would raise Isaac even if he is put to death.
Are you willing to exchange your Isaac? Abraham offered his son, the Father offered His Son. Isaac carried the wood, Jesus carried the cross. Isaac was laid on the altar, Jesus was nailed to the cross. Abraham was willing to put his son to death, the Father willed that His Son would die. The ram was offered in the place of Isaac, Christ was offered in the place of sinners. Abraham received his son back ‘figuratively’ Jesus literally rose from the dead.
God commends Abraham’s sacrificial faith by saying “I asked for your precious possession and you gave it to me”
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