Year A – Proper 9 – Genesis 22:1-14

Genesis 22:1-14: After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’

Summary and Insight –  This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture.  As with last week’s OT reading, the moral of the story is in the last line.  This is the story of our God comforting Isaac.  Also like last week’s reading, this passage highlights the drama of God’s faithfulness.  To get a true sense of chapter 24, you may want to review 23 which is all about the death and burial of Sarah.  When she died, Abraham, had to go out of his way to find a small piece of land to buy in order to bury his wife.  Remember, this is the man who has already been promised all of the land by God.  Then for several years, his promised son is unable to shake the grief of his mother’s death.  He was forty years old, living in the Negeb [desert] and still walking the fields at night in sorrow for his mother.  And this is the son through whom God promised Abraham he’d beget innumerable descendants!  But God was faithful to fulfill His promise, and in grand fashion.  He did so not only to display His greatness and glory, but also His compassion.  He turned the son of laughter from his tears and He is also a God not unaffected by our sufferings.  He bids us come and find rest and comfort in Him. Hallelujah, our God is a God of comfort!  Perhaps now would be a good time to reflect upon and share those times when you have seen Him restore comfort to you or those you know.

Discussion – How many years elapsed between Sarah’s death and Isaac’s marriage?  Why would someone like Isaac have been so grief-stricken at the loss of his mother?  How does this picture of Isaac differentiate him from the other patriarchs, Abraham and Jacob?  How much water can a thirsty camel drink after a long journey?

Prayer – Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your perfect  faithfulness, even when we are faithless.  We pray that You would comfort our sorrows and cause us to be like You in service to a grieving world.  Thank You for Your Fatherly caring.  Help us to cast all our cares upon You, by the power of Your Spirit, Who is our Comforter, and in the name of Your Son, our Lord, in Whom we find rest.  Amen.
Contributed by Pastor Ben Rossell

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