Day 6: Genesis 20-23; Abraham, Issac, and Faithfulness

There is an old saying that “those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”  While I don’t necessarily know if Abraham was forgetful or was just deceitful, but it seems as though even here he still struggling in this strange up and down of trust and mistrust of God.  He deceives Abimelech which almost costs the man his life, and a few years later he willingly offers up his only son as a sacrifice in obedience to God.  I often think that we tend to uphold important people in the Bible like Abraham and show the way that they followed God completely and willingly. We use them as an example of how we should be living.  However, we don’t always look at the things with which they struggled, the issues of things like trusting God.  While these things don’t necessarily teach well when it comes to upholding right living, they do make them more human, more like our own sinful self.  And yet God uses them for great things!  Abraham struggles to trust God fully at times, and yet God still uses him to be a blessing for all the nations.  How much more can God use us?  Are we open to it?

Also today we see the fulfillment and extension of the covenant.  Issac is born and God says that the blessing of Abraham will be passed on to him, not Ishmael.  To this birth, Sarah laughs.  Have you ever gotten to the end of something you were doing where everything came together perfectly, just at the right time, in a way that you would have never seen or thought possible?  I’ve been there… and sometimes I just sit back and laugh.  For all the planning, struggling, and working that I do, everything is still in God’s hands and God will handle it in God’s time, which is always perfect.

It is important too to remember the ways that God shows His faithfulness here.  First, God remembers Hagar and Ishmael, the cast-outs of Abraham’s family.  These two could have probably just disappeared into history without another word, but God is faithful to His promise and provides for them.  Some actually think that Ishmael is the father of the Arab world today.  This isn’t the place to speculate on that, but it would help to explain the continuing animosity in that region.

The other great showing of faithfulness from God is in His provision for Abraham and Issac.  Though he was completely willing, almost too willing it might seem, to sacrifice his son, God provides the sacrifice for him.  God guides them to the mountains of Moriah, also know as Mount Sinai, and there provides a lamb for the sacrifice.  If this sounds somewhat familiar, its because this is another type of foreshadowing.  This isn’t the last time that God will provide the lamb for the sacrifice, and later when He does it again it will be in fulfillment of His Covenant promise with Abraham to bless all the nations through his family.  More specifically, Jesus is the the Lamb of God who dies as a sacrifice for our sins.

7 Responses to “Day 6: Genesis 20-23; Abraham, Issac, and Faithfulness”

  1. Cliff Folkert says:

    The thing I always wonder about when reading this part of the Bible is did Abraham really think God would provide a lamb in place of Issac or did he count on God to raise him from the dead, what was really going on in his mind if he truly believed God that Through Issac God’s promise was to be fullfilled?

    • Jon says:

      That’s a really great question! I can’t imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind. Sometimes I think that he might have been just saying that God would provide to keep his son calm… I don’t know…
      What we do know though, from the text, is that Abraham was willingly following God’s command, even if he didn’t fully understand it or know how it was all going to work out. I think sometimes we want to know how things are going to work out before we say yes or not… what we see here is a model of trust and belief that God would work out the ends in His own perfect way.

  2. Jon says:

    We did some enactments of this Narrative in Hebrew Class! Check it out!

  3. […] you’ll notice several similarities between his story and the story of Abraham and the birth of Isaac.  Both are hold and have barren wives who miraculously conceive in an advanced age.  Both births […]

  4. […] come out and worship me in this place.’  And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of […]

  5. […] faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was […]

  6. […] Genesis 21:24 – Abraham said, “I swear it.” […]

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