An Obedient Father

Genesis 22:1-18

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A. 	There was once an Arab sheik who became convinced that the 
	terrible deity he worshipped had commanded him to bury his 
	daughter alive.
	1. 	He made known his conviction to the girl, and with that 
		extravagant filial respect 
		characteristic of the Orient, she consented to be 
		a. 	He dug the grave with his own hands.
		b. 	He took the fair young girl in his arms to thrust 
			her down into the pit to be buried alive.
		c. 	But at that moment she noticed that in digging 
			the grave a piece of moist earth had 
			clung to his long white beard, which is the pride 
			of the Arab heart; and she stretched forth her 
			hand to remove it as a final act of affection.
	2. 	Her deed of love so touched the heart of the old fanatic 
		that he spared her life and carried her back to his home.
B. 	This morning's passage is something like that- a God who 
	commands a father to sacrifice his son.
	1. 	Abraham is very highly regarded for his actions in this 
		episode, and rightly so.
	2. 	On this Father's Day, we wish to explore the actions of 
		the "An Obedient Father" in regard to his son.
	3. 	As far as pure literature goes, this is one of the greatest 
		texts in the Old Testament; 
		Moses put this text together masterfully.
		a. 	In reading through Genesis, we have no advance 
			warning that God would dare make such a 
			1)	In the stories of Cain and Abel and 
				Hagar and Ishmael, we see God's 
				upholding the dignity of human life - he 
				strongly punishes Cain and provides for 
				Hagar, but here he requires the murder 
				of a child.
			2)	The shock value in the text likely serves 
				to jolt the reader in a way similar to the 
				jolt that had to come to Abraham.
		b. 	We methodically see Abraham's carrying out 
			God's request- cutting wood, taking fire, 
			building an altar, and binding his son. This 
			likely serves to make the reader stop to ponder, 
			"What was going through Abraham's mind?"
		c. 	The suspense is great in this text - this story is 
			prolonged and makes you wonder, "What 
			exactly is going to happen?"
		d. 	I think there's a reason that this narrative is such 
			a rich piece of literature - the episode narrated 
			here is an important one.
C. 	In this narrative we see: ABRAHAM LOVED GOD MORE 


A. 	God came and told Abraham, "Take your son, your only son, 
	Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice 
	him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell 
	you about," v. 2.
	1. 	Isaac is here referred to as Abraham's only son - you 
		know in a strict sense that Isaac wasn't Abraham's only 
		son (he had Ishmael with Hagar), but Isaac was the child 
		of promise.
	2. 	Isaac is here referred to as the son whom Abraham 
		a. 	Any father is going to love his child - we expect 
			to find parental love even among the most 
			depraved human beings.
		b. 	Yet, Abraham had every reason to view Isaac in 
			a different light than other fathers view their 
			children - this child was given to him in 
			extremely old age and this was the child of 
			promise (the child through whom God would 
			richly bless Abraham).
B. 	We're not told that Abraham said anything to the Lord; instead 
	we simply read of his obedience to the command. Notice that 
	1. 	Early the next morning, Abraham got up and went on his 
		a. 	This was not a man who was going to delay his 
			obedience: he left the very next day, and he got 
			up early so that he could go first thing.
		b. 	It's troubling to see people delay obedience.
			1)	Some of you are sitting here this 
				morning having every intention of 
				becoming a Christian at some point. 
				You might say something like, "I'm 
				going to get around to it."
			2)	Abraham wasn't like that - he 
				understood obeying God was of prime 
				importance. He wasn't going to wait and 
				get around to it later, but he was going 
				to do what was right as quickly as he 
	2. 	He cut enough wood for the offering and went on his 
		a. 	We here see a prepared obedience.
			1)	It would have been far easier, I'm sure, 
				to have waited until he got to Moriah for 
				Abraham to cut the wood.
			2)	But, who knows if Abraham would have 
				been able to have found ample timber 
				once he arrived in Moriah - Scholars 
				don't know where this Moriah was, and 
				it may have been that there wasn't any 
				timber to cut in Moriah and Abraham 
				knew that.
		b. 	You see, Abraham made sure that he had 
			everything in order so that he could obey 
			God when he got to Moriah.
			1)	How many of us make sure that we have 
				everything in proper order so that we 
				can obey God?
			2)	I've had people tell me things like: 
				"Justin, I have some things in my life I 
				need to straighten out before I'm 
				baptized. Let me straighten them out, 
				and I'll do it." If there are things you 
				need to take care of so that you can obey 
				God, be like Abraham and do it.
	3. 	You also see Abraham has prepared obedience in that he 
		carried something to start a fire - called "fire" in the text- 
		and a knife with him.
	4. 	When Abraham and Isaac got to the appointed place, 
		Abraham build the altar, arranged the wood on it, bound 
		his son, laid him on the altar, and took his knife to slay 
		his son.
		a. 	Parents, can you imagine the agony Abraham 
			must have felt at this point?
			1)	Imagine for a second taking your child, 
				whom you love more than life, binding 
				his hands with rope, taking a knife to 
				slay him, and burning him with fire.
			2)	There are not words to express the 
				emotions Abraham had to be feeling.
		b. 	Yet, God had called him to obey, and obey he 
C. 	How much do we value obedience to God?
	1. 	Do we value obedience to God to the extent that we love 
		God more than we love our family?
	2.	Scripture has called upon us to value spiritual matters 
		more than family matters.
		a. 	Jesus valued his heavenly Father more than he 
			did Mary and Joseph.
			1)	When Mary and Joseph took the young 
				Jesus to Jerusalem, they lost him, and 
				finally found him in the temple, Jesus 
				said to them, "Why were you searching 
				for me? Didn't you know I had to be in 
				my Father's house?" (Lk. 2:49).
			2)	When Mary and Jesus' brothers came to 
				see Jesus, the Lord replied, "Whoever 
				does God's will is my brother and sister 
				and mother" (Mk. 3:35).
		b. 	As large crowds were following Jesus, he turned 
			to them and said, "If anyone comes to me and 
			does not hate his father and mother, his wife and 
			children, his brothers and sisters, yes - even his 
			own life - he cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:26).
	3. 	How much do we value God in relation to our families – 
		do we value God or families more?
		a. 	Do our children see that when we discipline 
			them that we don't just discipline them 
			because we love them but also because we love 
			God? Do they see that our discipline involves 
			upholding God's standards?
		b. 	Do our children see that although Sunday 
			morning is beautiful - a beautiful day to 
			spend with them at the park with a picnic, t-ball, 
			and fishing - that we're going to worship God 
			first and only then will we have that "quality 
		c. 	Do our children see that our highest aspiration in 
			life is obedience to our heavenly Father?
		d. 	How much do you value obedience to God?


A. 	Isaac asked his father, "The fire and wood are here, but where is 
	the lamb for the burnt offering?" v. 7.
	1. 	Isn't Isaac about in for the shock of his life!
	2. 	Can you even begin to imagine the pain that question 
		must have caused for Abraham? 
		Here is the son of promise, the son of his old age, the 
		son he loves deeply, and he just 
		has to go and ask, "Dad, where's the sacrifice?"
	3. 	Can you imagine the puzzlement that has to be in Isaac's 
		mind? Here is dad has taken all this preparation - gotten 
		up early, brought wood, fire, and a knife - but Dad hasn't 
		brought a sacrifice.
B. 	Abraham simply says, "God himself will provide the lamb for 
	the burnt offering, my son," v. 8.
	1. 	It might be easy to discount Abraham's remark and 
		simply say that Abraham only wanted to allay his son's 
	2. 	However, that doesn't seem to be the proper way to read 
		this verse.
		a. 	The literary structure of the passage doesn't lend 
			easily to that interpretation.
			1)	This verse foreshadows verse 13 where 
				in fact the Lord does provide for the 
			2)	This verse also foreshadows verse 14 
				where the place where Abraham went to 
				sacrifice Isaac is called "The LORD 
				Will Provide."
		b. 	Heb. 11:17-19 also points to Abraham's 
			confidence in God.
			1)	From what we read in Hebrews, it seems 
				that Abraham fully expected to offer 
				his son.
			2)	Yet, Abraham knew that God would 
				provide - what he did not know; perhaps 
				a resurrection - but he knew that God 
				would provide.
C. 	What a lesson for us about putting confidence in the Lord!
	1. 	It's easy to put confidence in the Lord when things are 
		going well- when our spouse and 
		kids do what we think they ought to do, when the bank 
		account is padded quite nicely, and when our job is 
	2. 	But, that's not when Abraham put confidence in God.
		a. 	This God in whom Abraham was putting his 
			trust was the very God who said, "Go, kill your 
		b. 	Are we able to put trust in God when God 
			doesn't seem to make sense?
			1)	When God has acted in a way other than 
				we think he should have acted, can we 
				put trust in him?
			2)	When God hasn't prevented some 
				terrible event we wish he would have 
				prevented, can we put trust in him?
			3)	When obeying God and doing what we 
				want conflict, can we put trust in him?
	3. 	Trust in God is absolutely essential.
		a. 	"Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the 
			LORD, is the Rock eternal" (Is. 26:4).
		b. 	"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, 
			whose confidence is in him" (Jer. 17:7).
		c. 	"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in 
			full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22).
D. 	It is said that Martin Luther, the great reformer, faced period of 
	great depression and discouragement in his life.
	1. 	On one occasion, his wife came down to greet him at 
		breakfast, dressed in black.
	2. 	He exclaimed, "Why in the world are you dressed in 
		black?" She replied, "Have you not heard?  God is 
	3. 	Luther got the point: there was no point in being 
		depressed and discouraged. God lives, and all is well.
E. 	Is your trust in God? Or, is your God dead?

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