The Test

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-17

1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 
2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” 
3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. 
4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 
5 “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 
6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 
7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 
8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. 
9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 
10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 
11 At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” 
12“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 
13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 
14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” 
15 Then the angel of the LORD called again to Abraham from heaven. 
16 “This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. 


I was driving to the hosptial and listening to a song that providentially popped up on YouTube and the words of the song sparked the flame of inspiration and I wrote the outlne down on an old receipt that was laying in my truck. What we have here is an old, old story that ends with our Savior getting glory. When I read this story, I see some beautiful pictures. This story is an object lesson that teaches.


Of course you have the elements of O.T. worship in the story, the Altar and the Sacrifice but we will come back to those symbols later. Our worship today is not what it should be and I think I know why. On Mount Moriah, Abraham gave God the best that he had. He gave God his most prized treasure, his son Issac. Our worship today is not about our giving to God, we come here to get, not to give. I’m not talking about the offering although that is a central part of worship and another area where we fail–I’m talking about our attitude. We have the idea that we are supposed to get something out of worship and we are so focused on getting a blessing, a fuzzy feeling, inspired, convicted, etc. that we forget that worship is not about us recieving from God but giving to God. Worship is about HIM, not us. We have made it about ourselves and have thus corrupted the entire process. The result is: we come in here and expect someone to do something for us. We don’t enter thinking, what can I do for Christ. What kind of praise can I offer my Savior. We are probably better at giving our money than we are our devotion, attention, praise and adoration. Think about it, how many of you give your absolute best when we stand to praise the LORD?

I wonder if Jesus would say the same thing to us that He said to the Pharisees… You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ ” 

Abraham experienced authentic worship because he was focused on pleasing God, not himself.


Abraham waited a long time to be a father and in a manner of speaking, Issac was his only son. His only child by his beloved wife Sarah. There is no question that he loved this boy dearly, more than life itself. Abraham’s future was bound up in his son. It is not hard for me to understand what was going on. Abraham was beginning to put more faith in his son that the One who gave him the son. He was allowing Issac to become his idol, the chief object of his love and devotion. This can easily happen to any parent, we begin living for the child instead living for the ONE who gave us the child. Abraham fully believed that God wanted the child and he was willing to make that sacrifice although it was killing him. But God didn’t want the child, He wanted Abraham’s full commitment.

What we have here is a picture of Abraham giving to God his most prized treasure. God knew and so did Abraham, that if he was willing to give his son, there was nothing that he would withhold because the son meant more to him than life.
  • What do you love more today than Jesus? God wants it…
  • What object or person have you put before God? God wants you to lay it down!
  • Who are you living for? Who are you trying to please more than Christ? God wants you to lay it down today.

God wants you to pray the Jame L. Nicholson prayer

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

God did not want Issac’s physical life…He wanted Abraham total devotion


Jesus disciples had a problem, they had a little faith. Matter of fact, Jesus nick named them “Little Faiths.” Do you remember what Jesus said to Peter when he failed to stay above the waves, when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink in Matthew 14…this is what Jesus did and said, Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”  [Remember, Peter is the only one who had enough faith to get out of the boat but Jesus assessed his faith as “very little.”

Father Abraham had big faith. The writer of Hebrews said… It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. 

We see this incredible faith not only in what Abraham did but in what he said…[v.4-5] 

On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 

“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 

This leads us right into the next picture…


First of all, the writer of Hebrews says that Abraham did experience a resurrection in type. I believe that Abraham believed that even if he took the boys life, God would raise him up. Why else would he tell his servants, “We will return to you.” I also believe that Abraham entertained the thought that Issac could possible be the Messiah. Issac is the most Lamb like figure in the Bible other than Jesus. How many 14 year old boys are going to carry the wood for their own sacrifice. When I was 14, I could run like a deer and you can bet your last dollar that had my dad been leading me to the slaughter, I would have broke and run. My daddy was 40 years older than me: he could not outrun me at that age. Abraham was 100 years older than Issac. What I am saying is this…The boy was willing to die just to please his father.

Of course, God does not approve of Child Sacrifice.  God said through Jeremiah the prophet,  “Such a horrible thing has never entered My mind.” The only Child Sacrifice that God approved was that of His own Son. Thus God stopped Abraham from slaying his own son but it was like a resurrection because Abraham had already went through the agony and grief of giving his son up.


God does require a sacrifice but that sacrifice has to be His doing. Adam and Eve learned this lesson the hard way. They tried to cover their sin and shame with a puny fig leaf apron but God would not accept that as a suitable sacrifice because it cost them nothing and it was the work of their own hands. Folks, no one has the ability to save themselves and no one can present a worthy sacrifice for their sins. THE LESSON ON MOUNT MORIAH is….GOD MUST PROVIDE THE SACRIFICE.

This is exactly what God did in Christ…

  • Romans 8:3–God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins
  • Hebrews 10:4-5–It is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 
    That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer
  • I John 2:2–He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world

Like it or not, Jesus love you and He died for you…there is absolutely nothing you can do about it…it is an accomplished fact. Perhaps this does not impress you but it should. The old hymn ROCK OF AGES comes to mind…

  1. Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
    Let me hide myself in Thee;
    Let the water and the blood,
    From Thy wounded side which flowed,
    Be of sin the double cure,
    Save from wrath and make me pure.
  2. Not the labor of my hands
    Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
    Could my zeal no respite know,
    Could my tears forever flow,
    All for sin could not atone;
    Thou must save, and Thou alone.
  3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
    Simply to Thy cross I cling;
    Naked, come to Thee for dress;
    Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
    Foul, I to the fountain fly;
    Wash me, Savior, or I die.