I want to start today’s post off a little differently than my previous posts. Before I dig into Genesis 22, I just want to take a little bit and PRAISE God, the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! I want to praise Him for His preparations, for daily leading my walk, for peace which surpasses understanding. I want to praise Him for the people He places in my life! I praise Him for each person who takes time to read these posts I write. I want to praise Him for Bmidbar Ministries Torah Group which is a group a dear friend of mine started on Facebook and I have the pleasure of being a part of. I praise Him for the encouragement He brings to me from all of You! I praise Him for A Safe Harbor Prayer Group which is another group on Facebook I am blessed to be a part of. I praise Him for the excitement and fire He has placed in my soul!
Many people are facing hard times, tests, and trials; but let me tell you this…IT’S ONLY A TEST! The only special instructions you need are to:
- Choose to surrender this test to God! He is in control! He knew this test was coming, and whether you realize it or not, He prepared you for it!!
- Choose to Trust God! He knows what you need. He doesn’t get oil without pressing and crushing the olives. We have to endure the refiner’s fire, the pressing and crushing so that we will become more! He is shaping and molding us through these times, but He hasn’t forgotten you and He loves you!
- Choose to leave these trying times at the Father’s feet! He doesn’t want you to carry this burden. Give it to Him, Leave it with Him! He is strong enough to carry it. He doesn’t need our help! When we say, “I am going to….”, “I can do ________ to fix ___________….” we get in His way. We make things worse. He wants us to realize that He has this! There is NOTHING we can do to fix anything, except TRUST HIM!”
I know how these tests feel. I am currently in the middle of one, but let me tell you. When this test appeared before me yesterday, I didn’t take my “normal” stance of being “Miss Fix-It”; no, I simply CHOSE to surrender it to God. I have never in my life made this decision this quickly! Usually, I have to mess things up a time or two before I surrender them to Him; but not this time! I can honestly say, I have peace which surpasses all understanding! I don’t know what tomorrow holds, it’s not for me to worry about because today has enough cares of its own. I do know, that whatever it holds, God is in control!
So right here, in the midst of this storm, I CHOOSE TO SURRENDER IT ALL TO GOD! I CHOOSE TO PRAISE HIM THROUGH THIS STORM and may all HONOR AND GLORY go to HIM, for I can do nothing in myself, but ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me! Praise the Lord!
Thank you for allowing me that moment of praise. Now, let’s dig into Chapter 22. I believe we will have more praises at the end of this chapter as we see God at work in Abraham and Isaac!
The Binding of Isaac
How fitting is it that my test started yesterday, the day before we are looking at Abraham’s test? How did Abraham respond to this test? “Here I am.” Of course, when He said, “Here I am,” he didn’t yet know he was being tested.
What a test this is going to be! Most of us face test with finances or illness, maybe marital troubles…but we aren’t asked to sacrifice our son! Now, why would God ask Abraham to take his “only son,” the son you “love,” Isaac, to be a burnt offering? Didn’t Abraham have two sons? Didn’t he love them both? Yes, Abraham did have two sons, both of whom were only sons: Ishmael, the only son of Hagar and Isaac, the only son of Sarah. Yes, Abraham loved both of his sons even though Ishmael had chosen the rocky road of idol worship, robbery, and other ungodly things. So, why word it this way? The sages teach that God and Abraham were in a conversation. The conversation went something like this:
2 He said, “Please pass this ultimate test, so that no one will think that your devotion to Me is limited. Take your son.” Abraham answered, “I have two sons.” God said, “I mean your only one.” Abraham said, “They are both only sons: Ishmael is the only son of Hagar, and Isaac is the only son of Sarah.” God said, “I mean the one you love.” Abraham said, “I love them both!” God said, “I mean Isaac.” God deliberately spoke ambiguously at first (a) in order to give Abraham time to realize the weightiness of His words and not agree too hastily, thereby forfeiting the merit of full, willful consent, and (b) in order to make the command more impressive and grant him reward for each expression He used. God continued, “Take him and go away to the land of Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah is to be the site of the future Temple,76 from where Divine instruction [hora’ah] will issue to the world. The Temple is also to be the locus of Divine service, the most intense form of which will be the incense-offering, a key ingredient of which will be the myrrh [mor].77 It is therefore fitting for you to undergo and pass this test on Mount Moriah, for your precedent will inspire future generations to follow My teachings and serve Me with pure devotion.Take him up there and prepare him as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I will designate to you.” God did not explicitly tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac—although that is what Abraham thought He meant—since He merely intended to see if he would be willing to do so. Also, He did not immediately tell him on which mountain to perform the sacrifice, so that he would earn the reward of trusting God implicitly, just as had been the case with His initial command to go to the Land of Israel.78 The Lubavitcher Rebbe
God wanted Abraham to have the freedom to choose to walk in this test. He wasn’t forcing Abraham to walk in it. He wanted him to fully TRUST him.
What must have been going through Abraham’s mind when God asked him to do this task! (Author’s paraphrasing) “Now let me get this right…You told me I would be the father of many nations through this son that you want me to offer as a sacrifice… just how is this going to work? The lad is not yet married, has no children, and I am going to sacrifice him, so explain to me just how I will be the father of many nations through him???” Even with all of his confusion, Abraham was willing to be obedient to God. He trusted God to fulfill His promise to him to have many descendants through Isaac. He understood that he wasn’t able to see the big picture of his life, but God was; and he chose to trust God.
Early the next morning he gets up, he gets Isaac and two other men to go with him. Isaac eagerly went with his father. He didn’t know at the time that he was going to be the sacrifice, but he trusted and loved both his father and God. Abraham not only took Isaac and went, he went prepared. He took with him his sacrifice, Isaac, and the necessities for the offering: split wood.
Genesis 22:4 On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.
The sages teach that this journey should not have taken more than one day, but God didn’t want him to hurry. He (God) didn’t want anyone to be able to say that Abraham had made a hasty decision, but one through prayer and trust in God.
Verse 5, “Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey and I and the lad (Isaac) will go over there; and we will worship (pray) and (we will) return to you.'” Here Abraham is telling the men travelling with him that He and Isaac are going to pray and worship God and that they are both going to return to them. In making this statement, Abraham is prophesying that God will find another way. He will provide another sacrifice, because God won’t lie or break His promises, and He has already promised Abraham many descendants through Isaac.
Abraham handed Isaac the wood for the offering, and he himself took the fire and knife. Now Isaac is starting to get the picture. “Hey daddy! Where’s the lamb that we will offer? We have everything else…but where’s the offering?” Here the sages explain it this way:
8 Abraham replied, “God will see to a lamb for a burnt-offering, and if He does not, then you, my son, will be the offering.” Even though Isaac now understood that he was to be sacrificed, he, too, did not question God, and thus the two of them walked on together, father and son with equal enthusiasm.
Isaac truly was his father’s son. He had full trust in God, and he did not protest being the sacrifice. He was willing to lay down his life if that is what God wanted him to do.
Abraham placed Isaac on the altar. He had the knife in his hand and was prepared to slay his beloved son, but God intervened! God had an angel call out to him to stop, stating that he knew Abraham fully trusted God, “since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me.” God was saying, “Abraham, you have passed this test! You passed it with flying colors! I never truly meant for you to harm your son, and now, no one can question why I bless you! It is because of your love, reverence, and trust that you have in ME!”
Atonement for Sin
14 Abraham named that site HaShem Yireh [“God will see”], praying, “May God select this place as the site of the Temple, where His presence on earth will dwell and where He will manifest Himself to His people.“ Since God indeed had designated this mountain for this purpose, it is said to this day, “On God’s Mountain, Mount Moriah, He can be seen.” He further prayed, “May God always see and remember the binding of Isaac and consider its merit sufficient to atone for the Jewish people’s sins and to save them from punishment, so that it be said in all generations, ‘to this day, it is as if Isaac’s ashes can be seen on the altar that Abraham built on God’s mountain,‘serving as atonement for the Jewish people.“89 The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Often times I have heard taught that we need to “convert” the Jews. I do not believe that. God has made atonement for them. Jesus came for the rest of us! He came to teach us and show us the way, to be the atonement lamb for us! He became bound to the cross, shed his blood, and was resurrected on the third day to provide the way for you and I, my friends. Just as Abraham and Isaac had prayed, Jesus prayed, “Father, YOUR will be done on earth as it is in heaven!” He took this cup for us! We do not have to convert anyone…just humbly love them; just like Abraham, just like Jesus. In fact, if we are willing, there is a lot that we can learn from them, for they have kept the Father’s times and this is how we can recognize what time it is.
Just as Abraham had prophesied to the two men with him, both he and Isaac returned to them because the Lord had provided his own sacrifice! God honored Abraham’s words spoken with the trust of God in his heart.
Abraham had shown himself worthy to the Lord, and once again, because of his willingness to trust and obey, God blessed him. God said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld you son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”
More to Come
Surprisingly, the binding of Isaac doesn’t end there. Instead we see where Abraham’s brother, Nahor, had children. We see listed the children of Nahor and the introduction of Rebekah. God is telling Abraham, “You do not have to search for a wife to help Me keep My promises to you! I already have someone in mind! I am capable of keeping My promises without any help!” Eight children Milcah bore to Nahor. Eight people exited the ark after the flood. There will be new beginnings through these eight!
If I may declare over you now the eight blessings found in the Shemoneh Esrei:
- Blessed are You, Adonai our God, and the God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. The Great, Mighty, and Awe-inspiring God, the Most High God, Who bestows kindness and creates all, Who remembers the kindnesses of the fathers, and Who brings a Redeemer to their children’s children for the sake of His Name with love. O king, Helper, Savior, and Shield. Blessed are You, Adonai, Shield of Abraham.You, O Lord, are mighty forever. You are the Reviver of the dead. You are greatly able to save. You sustain the living in loving kindness. You revive the dead with great compassion. You support the falling, heal the sick, set free the bound, and keep faith with those who sleep in the dust. Who is like You, O master of mighty deeds? Who compares to you, a king who puts to death and restores to life, and brings forth salvation? And You are faithful to revive the dead. Blessed are You, O Lord, who revives the dead.
- You, O Lord, are mighty forever. You are the Reviver of the dead. You are greatly able to save. You sustain the living in loving kindness. You revive the dead with great compassion. You support the falling, heal the sick, set free the bound, and keep faith with those who sleep in the dust. Who is like You, O master of mighty deeds? Who compares to you, a king who puts to death and restores to life, and brings forth salvation? And You are faithful to revive the dead. Blessed are You, O Lord, who revives the dead.
- You are Holy, and Your Name is Holy, and holy ones praise You every day for eternity, for You are God, the Great and Holy King. Blessed are You, Adonai, the Holy God.
- You kindly give man the gift of knowledge, and teach wisdom to frail man. Give with grace from Yourself with wisdom, insight, and knowledge. Blessed are You, Adonai, the gracious Giver of Knowledge.
- Cause us to return, Our Father, to Your Torah (instruction), and draw us near, our King, to Your service, and cause us to return in perfect repentance before You. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who desires repentance.
- Forgive us, our Father, for we have made errors; pardon us, our King, for we have sinned willfully, for You are a Good and forgiving God. Blessed are You, Adonai, Gracious One, Who forgives abundantly.
- Notice, please, our affliction, take up our grievance, and quickly redeem us with a full redemption for the sake of Your Name, for You are God the Mighty Redeemer. Blessed are You, Adonai, Redeemer of Israel.
- Heal us, Adonai, and we will be healed, save us, and we will be saved, for You are our Praise. Bring cure and healing for all our sicknesses, sufferings, and ailments, for You are God and King, a faithful and compassionate Healer. Blessed are You, Adonai, healer of the sick of His people Israel.
Father, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit. To those who curse me, let my soul be silent, and let my soul be like dust to everyone. Open my heart to Your Torah (instruction), and then my soul will seek Your commandments. As for all those who plot evil against me, quickly nullify their counsel and disrupt their plans. May it be Your Will, Adonai, my God and the God of my forefathers, that human jealousy may not rise against me, nor may I be jealous of others; may I bot be angry today, and may I not anger You. Rescue me from the Evil Inclination, and place in my heart submissiveness and humility. O our King and our God, cause Your Name to be unified in Your world; rebuild Your city, lay the foundation of Your House, perfect Your Sanctuary; gather in the scattered exiles, redeem Your sheep, and make glad Your congregation. Act for Your Name’s sake; act for Your sanctity’s sake so that Your beloved ones may be given rest; let Your right hand save and respond to me. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find graceful favor before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. He Who makes peace in His high places, may He make peace upon us, and upon all Israel. Father, may are tired and weak in body, mind, and spirit. Our souls long for You! Please rest Your presence with us. Please allow us to feel You near. Lord, we surrender to You all of our problems be it health, financial, family, community, national, and world. We surrender all. We ask you to intervene for us, just as You provided a sacrifice so that Abraham did not have to sacrifice Isaac, his promise from You. Hear our cry, O LORD. Save us, Your people. May the lives we live before You show You that we are willing to Obey and Trust. May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Bless us, O Lord, that we may bless others and You receive all of the praise and glory. These things I ask You this morning, Lord, not just for myself, but for every person You created! I praise You and I thank You for the many exceedingly great blessings You have already provided. You, O LORD, are worthy of our praise! Amen!
- Abraham and his son, Isaac (Genesis 22) (thepanoramasense.wordpress.com)
- God’s Word and Prayer (prayercommunicationwithgod.wordpress.com)
- Unbinding Isaac: A Rosh Hashanah Midrash (sjewindy.wordpress.com)
- Answers to Your Prayer, But not the Answer You Were Looking For (prayercommunicationwithgod.wordpress.com)
- Prayer and God’s Word (prayercommunicationwithgod.wordpress.com)
- Sacrifice at Moriah (viktoriaveigas.wordpress.com)
- “Give This Up” (treasuresoflove1.wordpress.com)
- Prayer’s Unbroken Fellowship (prayercommunicationwithgod.wordpress.com)