Wednesday, November 10, 2021

2021.11.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 22:1–19

Read Genesis 22:1–19

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Genesis 22:1 say that God was doing to Abraham? What three things does God say about Isaac to Abraham in Genesis 22:2? When did Abraham get going (Genesis 22:3)? What did he do, and whom did he take? How had he determined where to go? How long did it take him to get there (Genesis 22:4)? What instructions did he give the young men (Genesis 22:5)? Whom did he say would go? Whom did he say would come back? What did Abraham give Isaac to carry (Genesis 22:6)? What did Abraham carry? What do Abraham and Isaac call each other in Genesis 22:7? What does Isaac ask? What is Abraham’s answer in Genesis 22:8? What four things does Abraham do when they arrive at the spot in Genesis 22:9? What does Isaac do (and not do)? What does Abraham do in Genesis 22:10? Who calls out to him in Genesis 22:11? From where? What does He say at first? What does He tell Abraham not to do in Genesis 22:12? What does He say that Abraham has shown? What does Abraham see in Genesis 22:13? What does he do with it? What does Abraham call the place (Genesis 22:14)? Why? What happens after the burnt offering and the naming of the place in Genesis 22:15? By what does the angel of Yahweh swear in Genesis 22:16? To what action does He say that He is responding? What will He do to Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 22:17)? What will Abraham’s descendants possess? In whom will all the nations of the earth be blessed (Genesis 22:18)? Because of what? Where does this passage “end up” (Genesis 22:19)?

God has already made promises to Abraham that include the things that are promised by the end of this passage. So, what does it mean that God was “testing” Abraham in Genesis 22:1, and “now I know that you fear God” in Genesis 22:12, and “because you have done this thing” in Genesis 22:15, and “because you have obeyed My voice” in Genesis 22:18? God is showing some things about how good works function in those who have been made right with God by faith.

First, good works show that God has not just done things for us, and promised things to us, but is also doing the corresponding work in us. Several times so far in Genesis, Abraham’s doubt and fear have led to sin. But God now “tests” him to give an opportunity for the faith that has grown to express itself. Didn’t God know before this event that Abraham feared God? Of course! But what Genesis 22:12 is saying is that when believers demonstrate Godly character,  God observes not merely the action but His work of grace in the heart that is producing that action.

Second, God has chosen to do much good in response to good works. There is an expression of His justice and His pleasure in what is good that God delights to reward them. We know that Abraham does not do well enough to be worthy of reward. Yet here, and many other places in Scripture, God is still pleased to reward those imperfect good works for the sake of Christ from Whom comes any and all goodness in us. The reward is not according to our merit, but according to His grace and Christ’s own merit.

Third, God has chosen to do much good by means of believers’ good works. It is this son Isaac, whom Abraham was willing to devote to God by death, that God will devote to Himself by his life—God will bring the Christ through Isaac, and God will bless all the nations of the earth through Isaac, in part because Abraham has obeyed God’s voice.

Ultimately, however, we still deserve that death, represented in the knife. And we still deserve the wrath of Hell, represented in the fire. But God Himself will indeed provide the Lamb. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world—even our Lord Jesus Christ! Abraham did not withhold his only son, whom he loved (Genesis 22:2Genesis 22:16), but God spared him. Yet, when it came to God’s beloved Son, with Whom He is well-pleased (Matthew 1:1; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5), God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all (Romans 8:32)!

What makes you righteous in God’s sight? What use, then, are your good works?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, You have promised everlasting blessedness, and You have secured it in Christ. Forgive us for when we think that we may earn blessing or that blessedness relies upon us. But forgive us also for when we think that good works are not worthwhile, or that You wil not reward them. Grant unto us to walk in those good works that You have prepared beforehand, knowing that they will come through Christ, for Whose sake also You will reward them. We ask this through His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”

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