Deeper Roots – Genesis 22:9-18

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 22:9-18.

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. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

Genesis 22:9-18 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis shows us that sometimes God tests our faith by asking us to sacrifice answered prayers. Our scripture passage begins after Abraham receives a command from God to sacrifice his son Isaac. Now if you remember, God promised that Abraham would be a father to many nations despite Sarah’s barrenness and Abraham and Sarah were very old when they finally conceived Isaac. See the problem? How could he become a father to many nations after sacrificing his only son? By verse 9, Abraham and Isaac have traveled up Mount Moriah to perform the sacrifice upon the altar that they had just built. As Abraham picked up the knife to sacrifice his son, an angel of the Lord interrupted Abraham with instructions to stop. Abraham did not withhold his son, Isaac (the gift that he had prayed for), from God and God provided a ram for the sacrifice in place of Isaac. It was at this moment that Abraham learned that God is a provider and covenant keeper.

This passage shows us the faith of someone who has followed God’s commands and believed in God’s promises. In the Bible, God tests people to reveal their true character. We have the benefit of knowing that this was a test, but for Abraham, it was a very real sacrifice. Abraham ascended the mountain willing to release an answered prayer back to God. He teaches us that a true follower of God is obedient to God’s commands believing that God will provide.

If we’re honest, we are like Isaac. Sentenced to death, but saved by Jesus Christ. A lamb was sentenced to death in exchange for our eternal lives. There are seasons that God tests us in order to call us to deeper levels of faith. Let’s commit to learning from Abraham; maintaining confidence that when God asks us to sacrifice something, it’s for our good. Why would we live with clenched fists when God wants to replace what’s in our hands with so much more?

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