The following is an excerpt from Explore the Bible: Genesis—The Life of Abraham, a 6-session study from the Explore the Bible curriculum published by Lifeway. You can order this study at lifeway.com, and you can check out other resources in the Explore the Bible curriculum—and preview one month for free—at lifeway.com/explorethebible.
The Faith Test
At some point after the birth of Isaac, God came to Abraham again to test him. This test wasn’t an effort to entice Abraham to choose poorly. Rather, it was a test to prove the depth of Abraham’s faith in God. The Lord used it to demonstrate how trustworthy He truly is. We can trust Him with our future plans, our families, our finances, and even our very lives.
So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. […] Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. In his hand he took the fire and the sacrificial knife, and the two of them walked on together.” —Genesis 22:3a,5-6
Abraham began preparing for the journey early. There was no hesitancy or hint of a disobedient heart. After all, God had been trustworthy in all past dealings with Abraham, and Abraham’s faith in the Lord had grown immensely.
On the third day Abraham spotted the place God has designated. Abraham told the two servants that he and Isaac would go worship and then come back. Note the faith demonstrated by the usage of the plural: “Then we’ll come back to you” (v. 5). God had been faithful in the past. God was going to be faithful in the future, doing what seemed impossible. Though Abraham might not have fully understood how, he knew that God keeps His promises and therefore both he and his son would return—even if it meant God had to raise Isaac from the dead (see Heb. 11:19).
Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, ‘My father.’ And he replied, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Isaac said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ Then the two of them walked on together.” —Genesis 22:7-8
As the father and the son walked toward the mountain, Isaac asked the obvious question: “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (v. 7). Abraham answered that God Himself would provide the lamb. Abraham couldn’t have known at the time that God was going to provide another way—another lamb—for the sacrifice. Neither could he have fully understood at that moment that God would provide the ultimate sacrifice through the death of the only begotten Son of God—the Lamb who would be slain for the sins of the world (see John 1:29).
God provides for our needs. He sometimes provides in the everyday, usual ways. At times God provides for us through miraculous means. The death of Jesus on the cross was God’s glorious provision of the all-sufficient sacrifice that takes away our sins.
Excerpted from Afshin Ziafat, Explore the Bible: Genesis—The Life of Abraham © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.