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Take Your Son, Your Only Son
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The Lord tests Abraham by calling him to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering at a place yet to be revealed. Although he has questioned God before, Abraham accepts this call without protest and without delay. After gathering the necessary elements for the sacrifice, Abraham locates the mountain and begins the ascent with Isaac, who inquires about the absence of a lamb. Abraham’s response is a statement of faith, believing as he does that God will provide. The jarring scene of Abraham raising the knife to slaughter his son is interrupted by the angel of the Lord, who brings the time of testing to its desired completion. A ram is then provided, which dies in Isaac’s stead. The episode concludes with a renewed promise of blessing through Abraham to his descendants and for all the world. This familiar promise, coupled with Abraham’s unwavering resolve, gives added relevance to us today in light of the sacrificial death of God’s own Son.
01. The Lord tests us in order to deepen our trust in Him; let us respond with obedience and faith, believing He knows what is best and He will provide for us.
02. The Lord gives Himself to us in order to demonstrate His great love; let us respond by loving Him in return, knowing that the greatest blessing is to love and be loved by Him.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. What does it mean for God to test someone? How is His testing different from the devil’s temptations? What do we pray for when we ask the Lord to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13)? See also James 1:12-15 for further insight.
2. Why does God test us when He already knows the thoughts of our hearts and the outcome of our actions? How does our obedience to the Lord encourage the faith of others? What if we had no examples of the obedience of people like Abraham?
3. Why do you think the text is silent on Abraham’s thoughts or feelings regarding the call to sacrifice Isaac? What do you suppose he said to Sarah? How do you internalize God’s call to obedience in your life, especially when He calls you to let go of things you love?
4. What elements of faith do you find in Abraham’s actions and words? How did he know where to go to make the sacrifice? How did he know a “lamb” would be provided? How did he know that he and Isaac would return? How important is faith when it comes to following the Lord without knowing the exact outcome? Are you walking by faith? See Hebrews 11:17-19 for further insight.
5. How does this episode help us to understand the blessings promised to Abraham in a new light? What do we learn from this text that points us to Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross? Are you able to say that God’s love for you is the greatest blessing in your life? See Romans 8:31-35 for further insight.
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Love So Amazing: Expositions of Colossians 1 (Baker Books, 1995)