The Sacrifice of Isaac

Text: Genesis 22:1-14


I.         There are stories that cause some concern because they involve the concept of sacrificing a human being to God.

            A.        They cause concern because the Bible is very clear about God’s opinion on human sacrifices.

            B.        The slaying of humans invokes a death sentence - Genesis 9:5

            C.        False gods were worshiped with human sacrifices, but not the true God - Deuteronomy 12:29-32

                        1.         Leviticus 18:21 - To do so would profane the Lord’s name

                        2.         Jeremiah 7:31, 32:35 - God never even thought of allowing such a thing

II.        Most are familiar with the sacrifice of Isaac - Genesis 22:1-14

            A.        Abraham was asked to offer his only son to God.

                        1.         This was the child Abraham had waited 25 years for during his old age. Isaac was not born until Abraham had reached the age of 100.

                        2.         This was the child through whom God had promised to bring great blessings upon Abraham. - Genesis 17:19

                        3.         Here then are two contradictions in God’s command.

                                    a.         The child is to die before he has children. Yet, with this child’s children would be an everlasting covenant.

                                    b.         God abhors human sacrifices, yet He asks for one of Abraham

                        4.         It is these contradictions that hint there is something more here than the simple obvious facts.

                                    a.         Later we are told how Abraham resolved the conflict within himself - Hebrews 11:17-19

                                    b.         Here Abraham demonstrates his great faith.

                                                (1)       He trusted God even when God seemed to contradict His own statements.

                                                (2)       It wasn’t a blind faith, but one that was well reasoned.

                                    c.         Abraham believed he would return with Isaac before he walked up the mountain - Genesis 22:5

                        5.         In truth, it is a foreshadowing of the later sacrifice of God’s only son

            B.        Isaac was called the lamb for the offering - Genesis 22:7

                        1.         Jesus too was called the lamb of God - John 1:36

                        2.         Redeemed by the blood of a precious lamb - I Peter 1:18-19

            C.        Isaac carried the wood for his own sacrifice - Genesis 22:6

                        1.         Jesus carried his own cross - John 19:17

            D.        They traveled three days to the place of sacrifice

                        1.         Why so far?

                                    a.         Some see this as part of the test of Abraham’s faith. He was given plenty of time to change his mind.

                                    b.         Yet, perhaps there is something more here

                        2.         The place they went was a mountain in the land of Moriah, known as Jehovah-jireh (The Lord will provide).

                                    a.         Moriah is only mentioned one other place in the Bible. It was the mountain where the temple was built - II Chronicles 3:2

                                    b.         Jesus died outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem. The city where the temple was located. Jesus died on a mountain of Moriah.

                        3.         Abraham’s sacrifice began the day he left home.

                                    a.         He had given up his son Isaac for three days before he actually placed Isaac on the altar – before God restored his son to him by halting the sacrifice.

                                    b.         Jesus spent three days in the grave before God restored him to life.

III.       There is more here than we first notice.

            A.        A story is being played out in advance of the real story.

            B.        God asks for Isaac to be a burnt offering, but He did not require his actual death.

                        1.         Later in the Law of Moses, a burnt offering is one offered for sin - Leviticus 1:4

                        2.         It is called a “soothing aroma” because it turned away God’s wrath - Leviticus 1:17

                        3.         It was a whole offering because what was offered was completely given - Deuteronomy 33:10

            C.        Yet, because Abraham had given over his son to God, it was an acceptable offering - Genesis 22:16-18

            D.        What we see is a foreshadow of God’s own offer of His Son for the world

                        1.         His sacrifice was sin offering - Hebrews 9:24-10:3; 13:10-14

                        2.         His sacrifice was a burnt offering, even though he was not burnt - Ephesians 5:2, this is because he gave himself wholly over to God to appease God’s wrath.

            E.        From before the foundations of the world, God planned a way to save you from the sins you bound yourself in. He gave the ultimate sacrifice on your behalf - I Peter 1:18-21

            F.        What will you do with Jesus?