2018-02-28 / Religion

The Lord will provide for His people

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Genesis 22

Things that seem to be “random acts” are important parts of the intricate eternal plan. Our Heavenly Father — the creator of the universe — is the one “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done…” Isaiah 46:10. The divine plan has a single focus — the redemption of the lost human race.

God — Jehovah — called the man, Abram, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” Genesis 12:1. The only assurance that Abram possessed was given was the “word” of the one who had called him. The divine promise was enough for this man to begin his journey of faith. At that time, there were few individuals who had any concept of God, Jehovah. Abram had no friends who could encourage him, nor give him any kind of godly advice. The journey of Abram led him to the land of Canaan. The promise was repeated, as assurance to this faithful servant of God.

The assurance given included a large posterity. The offspring of this man was to be innumerable. The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) gives the reader an insight into the divine response to the action of Abram — “And he believed in the Lord (Jehovah); and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6.

The posterity of this man was to come through his “son of promise.” The wife of Abram was barren. This man was given a divine name-change. The name, Abram, means “high father.” His new name was “Abraham,” meaning “father of a great multitude.” The wife of Abram was Sarai, which means “dominative.” Her new name was Sarah, which means “princess.” The yet-to-be-conceived-child was named — “thou shalt call his name Isaac.” Genesis 17:19.

The record is specific — “And the Lord visited Sarah, as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” Genesis 21:1, 2. This event took place when “Abraham was one hundred years old.” Genesis 21:5. At this time Sarah was 90 years old.

Before the birth of Isaac, Sarah had devised a plan to “help God” fulfil the promise. This humanly-devised scheme resulted in the birth of the child, Ishmael. Genesis 16:11. Abraham thought-in error-that this child was the answer to the promise. Sarah saw the action of Ishmael, and gave a clear directive to Abraham — “Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even Isaac.” Genesis 21:10. The record gives the effect that this action had upon Abraham — “And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.” Genesis 21:11.

After the bondwoman and her son were sent away, Abraham was given a promise regarding Ishmael. God declared, “of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed (offspring).” Genesis 21:13.

The record gives us a picture of the way that God continued to reveal himself to Abraham. “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (test; prove) Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” Genesis 22:1. The patriarch had no idea regarding the test that was to come. “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 shall tell thee of.” Genesis 22:2.

As we read the record, there is no hesitation regarding the action of Abraham. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave (split; break) the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.” Genesis 22:3.

On the third day, they were able to see the mountain of their destination. “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Genesis 22:5.

As events continued to unfold, the record declares, “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:6. As these two continued their trek, a multitude of thoughts must have been coursing through their minds. “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provided himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:7, 8.

When these two reached the designated place, “Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.” Genesis 22:9b. One can only imagine the thoughts that must have continued to crowd the mind of Abraham, as he “stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” Genesis 22:10.

Divine intervention was immediate — “And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he [the angel] said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Genesis 22:11, 12.

Divine provision was made for the sacrifice. “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in the thicket by the horns: and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” Genesis 22:13.

The place of this offering was to be the physical location of the temple that Solomon would build many centuries later. In symbol, the sacrifice that day pointed to place of sacrifice that would serve Israel in years to come.

Situations in our lives are not “random,” but are part of the divine plan that can touch many lives, now and in the future. May we, too, be faithful!

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@yahoo.com

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