Genesis 21:22-22:24

To be honest, I'm not sure what the point to me of 21:22-34 is – I'm not sure what I'm supposed to get from it. If anyone has any ideas…

Chapter 22, though, seems much easier to understand if not to apply. There were several points that struck me as I was reading it this morning.

Abraham says "Here am I" three times in this chapter. He was completely available and ready to listen.

Abraham obeys God instantly ("Early in the morning" – v3) and persistantly (he hadn't changed his mind even by the "third day" – v4). He wouldn't have been able to hold his resolve for that long. Surely he must have spent those days meditating on God's promise that Isaac would be the father of many children and on God's faithfulness. He had so much faith in God's promises that "he considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead" (Hebrews 11:19). How do expect to cope with tough times (or even good days!) without spending time meditating on God's word?

Abraham says that "God will provide for himself the lamb". He knew that God had provided Isaac when naturally he wouldn't have been born. He knew that Isaac belonged to God. But the fact that he acted on that in giving Isaac back to God is phenomenal.

God says that he will bless Abraham and give him many offspring "because you have obeyed my voice" (v18). Previously God promised unconditionally that Abraham would have many children. What if Abraham had said no? What would God have done? Of course, the point is that Abraham didn't say no! Here we see the beginning of a theme expanded on again and again in the Bible – God is sovereign and has mapped out all of time and it is good, but we are responsible and our actions have consequences. If you strain, you may hear a little hissing as my brain melts. Praise God that he has it under control!

The biggest thing that struck me, though, was the typology going on – the fact that this whole story is a picture of something that was to come. This is the first time that a ram was offered as a substitute for the death of a human which would be repeated in the Passover and properly in the crucifixion. Abraham and Isaac would never know that this event was a shadow of the only other time God would command the sacrifice of a human – another "only son" (v12, 16) of a Father who loved him dearly, another man who would have to carry up a mountain the wood on which he was to be killed (v6). That made me stop and wonder at the genius who scattered the little pictures of Christ's death throughout Israelite history. Then I stopped and wondered that God himself did what he did not require Abraham to do. God went the whole way and sacrificed his own Son, the God-man Christ. I can't get my head around it.

Heavenly Father, you are faithful to your promises and you are so wise. You only ever work for good, and you have the power that you only ever win. I confess that I have so often not made myself available to hear you and say "here am I" – I've been too busy in sin or laziness or self-indulgance. Thankyou for the cross that means I can fail and still be clean. Please help me to live the life of alertness and sacrifice that Abraham was willing to. Amen


One Response to “Genesis 21:22-22:24”

  1. Richard Criddle Says:

    I know it’s far too sad to comment on my own blog, but if anyone’s reading this then comment and I won’t have to! If not, it’s my own little secret and no one has to know.

    It’s been revealed to me that I may have been wrong in saying that this was the first ever sheep substitute. Ken Ham has a great site on Genesis with some lectures he gave about the importance of believing (among other things) a six-day creation. Anyway, he makes the point that the first animal ever to die was the one whos skin was used to cover the shame of Adam and Eve’s sin. To cover their guilt, there had to be blood spilt.

    The Bible doesn’t say whether it was a cow or a giraffe or several pigeons that died, but Ken and I like to think that it was a lamb.

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