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God Will Provide

Notes & Transcripts

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Genesis 22:1-18

Subject:         Provision

Theme:          God’s Provision

Proposition:   God will provide all we need to worship Him.

T.S.                 ???.

INTRO: You’ll understand when you are older.  I hated that phrase.  But it is true with so many things. 

·         School – can’t wait to get a job (more time; no homework)

·         Single – married.

·         Married w/o kids – married w/kids.

Our life is about to change again.  In a few months we are expecting baby #3.  We are going from being evenly matched to being outnumbered!

(TRANS) Some things you just don’t understand until your life situation catches up. 

(TRANS) This morning we are going to be in Genesis 22.  The meaning of this passage was the same before I became a dad, but I understand it so much better now that I have children. 

This is one of the most emotional scenes in the life of Abraham.  To set the stage, let me give you a brief look at his life until now.

 

ABRAHAM’S BIOGRAPHY

(TRANS) Now this is where the really important stuff starts to happen to help us understand today’s lesson.

(TRANS) That’s where we pick up the narrative for this morning.  Are you in Gen 22?  Throughout Abraham’s life God has appeared to him multiple times.  Each time he gives Abraham a promise or some encouragement.  Now God appears to him again, but this time there is no promise and no encouragement, only a command.

GOD’S COMMAND (v.1-2)

Genesis 22:1-2

 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!""Here I am," he replied.

 2 Then God said, "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."

Can you imagine the pain in Abraham’s heart?  He’d already lost one son by sending him away.  Now God is demanding him to give up another one by killing him with his own hand!  How cruel!

Some of you who are familiar with the OT might be wondering “Doesn’t the OT outlaw human sacrifice?”  Yes, but that command had not yet been given.  And human sacrifice was not unheard of in the religions of Canaan at this time. So, to Abraham, though surely painful, it was a legitimate demand.

(TRANS) Though we know that God would not demand any of us to offer our children as a burnt offering, there is a principle here that is true throughout scripture: 

Worship is Costly.

Something has to die – blood must be shed – for sinful people to worship a holy God.  In the OT they worshiped by sacrificing animals.  B/c Jesus offered the once-for-all sacrifice, we don’t have to do this anymore.  But worship is something that is still costly

WORSHIP DEFINED: You see, worship is not just singing songs.  It is giving all that I am to all I know of God.  It is life-consuming.  The way we work, the way we spend our money, the way we give our time, the way we sing, the way we speak – all of it is worship.  To willingly submit all of those areas to God, that is worship.

TABLE ACTIVITY (3-4min): Build an altar.  While building, think back thru your week and talk about how you have worshiped God.

(TRANS) As we continue reading, look for how Abraham responded to God’s demand for costly worship.

ABRAHAM’S RESPONSE (v.3-10)

Genesis 22:3-10

 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.

 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,

 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?""Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

 8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.

 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

What initially struck me to this passage was the many ways Abraham ensured his own obedience to God’s command.

(ILL) I can be a master manipulator, conveniently leaving out some key bit of preparation so I don’t have to obey when the time comes.  Specific example: ???

But look at Abraham:

The principle for us is that:

Obedience is hard.

(APP) Sometimes obedience is a joy.  But often it demands something I don’t want to give. 

(ILL) Right now, for me, it’s being a homemaker.  Diapers and dishes were never accomplishments I expected to be on my resume.   But that’s what God has called me to do in this season of my life.  And I need to do it as an act of worship to him.

Looking at this passage, God’s command seems foolish.  God must have misspoken, right?  God promised to multiply Abraham’s descendents thru Isaac, so sacrificing Isaac would break God’s promise. 

(TRANS) We passed right over it, but there is a key word in v.5.  “We will worship and then we will come back to you.” 

To understand Abraham’s reasoning, we need to look at a NT passage called the Hall of Faith where we are given a glimpse of what was going on in Abraham’s mind.

Hebrews 11:17-19

 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,

 18 even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."

 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

Abraham knew God had spoken both the promise of descendents thru Isaac and the command to sacrifice Isaac.  He reasoned that if God wanted him to do both, then God could resurrect the slaughtered son.   He knew God had spoken, so He obeyed.

 

GOD’S INTERVENTION

Back in Gen 22, in response to Abraham’s obedience, God (as He so often does) surprised Abraham with a solution out of left field. 

After Abraham had taken the knife in hand to kill his son…

  Genesis 22:11-14

 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!""Here I am," he replied.

 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."

At the start of this chapter it said that the Lord tested Abraham.  He tested him in order to prove him to be genuine in his faith.  And Abraham passed the test with flying colors.  God never intended for Isaac to be killed.  But God did want to know if Abraham’s commitment to God was sincere enough that he would do it. 

Was he willing to return the son of promise back to God? 

Put another way – did he love the Giver more than the gift? 

It’s a question we should each ask ourselves:

Do I love the Giver more than the gift?

(ILL) Toys and Grandpa.  Wish that I would have spent more time getting to know him.

Worship is costly and obedience can be hard. 

(APP) Is there something God has given you that he is asking you to give back to him? 

Abraham didn’t select Isaac for the sacrifice.  God did.  It is God who sets the terms for worship.  He names what will please Him.

It comes back to the question – do I love the Giver more than the gift?  If so, then I should be willing to surrender any of the gifts he’s given me in order to please him.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son.  He didn’t think God was going to stop him.  He thought he would have to go thru with it and that God would raise Isaac back from the dead.  But God threw him a curveball, intervened to stop the killing of Isaac.  And he provided a substitute to offer in place of Isaac. 

(TRANS) God had provided Isaac.  Then He demanded Isaac back.  Now he provided the substitute.

If we set our hearts on worshipping God, and if we are willing to obey him no matter the personal cost, then He will give us all we need in order to worship him. 

There on the mountain, God provided.  Abraham gladly took the ram to offer in place of Isaac.  And he gave God a new name to reflect God’s character he had just seen demonstrated –

Jehovah Jireh – God will provide.

(TRANS) God does not change.  He is still Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. 

(APP) Our church is in a season of change and uncertainty.  But if we set our hearts on worshiping Him no matter the cost, obeying him no matter how hard it is, he will make sure that we have everything you need in order to follow please him. 

The same is true for you as an individual. 

As a matter of fact, in the NT we are promised:

2Peter 1:3

 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

This story of Isaac, Abraham, and God was passed down throughout the generations, and at the time Genesis was written hundreds of years later there was still a saying in use – “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  It looked back on God’s faithfulness to provide for his obedient servant, Abraham.

It may be difficult to see at first, but this saying also looked forward to a time thousands of years later.  Mt. Moriah, where these events unfolded is the area where eventually Jerusalem was built, where the temple was erected, and where Jesus died. 

One person, Isaac, was spared b/c God provided a substitute – a ram – on Mt. Moriah.  Each one of us has sinned, and to satisfy the justice of God, we are each condemned to die for those sins.  Millions of us were spared b/c God provided another substitute, Jesus, thousands of years later in roughly that same location.

The worship we give God is not only in reverence for who He is but also in gratitude for what He’s done.

That is what we celebrate when we take communion.  Just as we break the bread, Jesus’ body was broken.  And the juice represents the blood of Jesus that was poured out for many.  His death brought us life.  These elements are the symbols that remind us of his sacrifice on our behalf.

Instructions about communion.

Worship Team comes first.

THE BLESSING

We stopped shy of finishing out the account of Abraham and Isaac. 

 Genesis 22:15-18

 15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time

 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,

 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

There was great reward for Abraham b/c:

·         he worshipped even though it was costly, b/c

·         he obeyed, even when it was hard, and b/c

·         he loved the Giver more than the gift. 

He was given a great reputation, a great family, and all nations were blessed b/c it was through his family line that eventually Jesus was born – the one who would serve as the ultimate substitute sacrifice.

What is God asking you to surrender as an act of worship to Him?  Whether it is returned to you or not, trust that if you obey, in the long run, it will be worth it.

PRAY

Prayer Room 


SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL

 

Genesis 22:1-18 (pg. ???) 

 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!""Here I am," he replied.

 2 Then God said, "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."

 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.

 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,

 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?""Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

 8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.

 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!""Here I am," he replied.

 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."

 15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time

 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,

 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

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