Full Service Sermon Video Sermon Audio Scripture Verses Genesis 21-27; Luke 22:40; John 8:49-58; Romans 8:31-39 Worship Playlist Follow You Anywhere by PassionHow Deep the Father's Love for Us by RevereLiving Hope by Bethel Music Study Questions 1. What has been the overarching theme or promise of the Genesis narrative? 2. What is the significance of Isaac’s birth and life in the overarching narrative of salvation in Jesus? 3. Consider Genesis 21:17-21. Do you have a testimony of how God provided for you in crisis? 4. As a good father, what are some ways Abraham provides for his only son Isaac? 5. What extraordinary request does God make of Abraham in Genesis 22? How can a good God make such a request? 6. Read Genesis 22:8. In what way does Abraham demonstrate confidence in God’s good nature? What’s his expectation? 7. Read Genesis 22 in its entirety. In what specific way did God indeed “provide” for Abraham and Isaac? 8. Read Romans 8:31-39. What price was God willing to pay that he’s never required any human father to pay? 9. Read John 8:30-59 In what way was God giving Abraham a preview of the coming salvation found in Jesus? Like Isaac, did Jesus have full knowledge that he himself would be a sacrifice? If so, why did Jesus still choose to obey the Father? What did God ultimately do after the cross? What is our hope? Downloads & Resources Sermon Video Download Service Video Download Sermon Audio Download Madness of Life Dr. Jon Morrissette - 11/7/2021 Last week we took a deeper look at the notable women in Abraham’s life. There was Abraham’s wife Sarah, and then there was Abraham’s mistress Hagar. Because Abraham didn’t take God at his word, he attempted to build his family through Sarah’s Egyptian slave, Hagar. So in time Abraham and Hagar have a son they name Ishmael. Abraham hoped that maybe Ishmael would be the Christ, or Messiah. Or, that God would in time bring Christ forth through Ishmael’s lineage. But God promised Abraham and Sarah a son. Abraham thought the notion absurd, and fell on his face laughing. Sarah was rebuked for quietly laughing to herself. Would she now have such a joy at such an old age? So whereas last week we looked at the notable women, this week we’ll look at Abraham’s notable sons. Genesis 21:1-7 says, “The Lord came to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne a son for him in his old age.” Now after Isaac was born, there came a time for him to be weaned. This was kind of a big deal. To transition a child from milk to solid food, the mother would chew up protein and literally shove it into her child’s mouth with her tongue. It was common for a child to throw the food up, in protest. But Sarah would have persisted. I think that same thing is true spiritually. If you try to wean your child off spiritual milk, they’ll inevitably protest. But blessed be those parents who persist training their kids to desire real spiritual food. Now as Sarah weaned Isaac, Ishmael, that “donkey of a young man” (as the Scripture describes him) laughed and began mocking the whole affair. Genesis 21:9-10. Becoming incensed, Sarah insisted Abraham send both Hagar and Ishmael away. No way would she let the boys grow up together and be co-heirs! In Genesis 21, there is an incredible account of how when Hagar and Ishmael are sent away into the wilderness and find themselves in great distress. They run out of food and water. Watching Ishmael die was more than she could bear—so she put her Ishmael under a bush and sat at a distance. Ishmael is crying. Hagar is weeping. But the Lord saw her. Genesis 21:17-21, “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the boy crying from the place where he is. Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew; he settled in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.” Mohammed the Prophet and Islam, carefully trace their lineage though Ishmael. But these were hard times. Nothing was easy. Abraham gets into conflict over water with King Abimelech, whose servants had seized one of Abraham’s wells. As Isaac comes of age he would have other struggles. In Genesis 23, Sarah dies and they have to lay her to rest. In Genesis 24, at age 40, Isaac finds himself unmarried. Why is that a big deal? Because with Sarah dead, Isaac is their ONE AND ONLY SON. And if their ONE AND ONLY SON didn’t get married and build a family, how could Abraham become the father of many nations? In Genesis 24, Abraham sends one of his servants to find Isaac a wife from among his relatives. Abraham’s servant eventually finds Rebekah. But guess what? Rebekah (like Sarah) was barren. So, like his Father Abraham, Isaac also had to trust God for offspring. In Genesis 25, Sarah has died, so Abraham remarries and has an enormous family through a woman named Keturah. But Isaac was the one through whom the godly lineage, the Messiah or Christ would come. So Abraham had sent Hagar and Ishmael away. And in time, Abraham sent Keturah and all their children EAST, as far away from Isaac as possible! By the end of Genesis 25, Isaac and Rebekah have twin sons Jacob and Esau. Genesis 25:19-23 says, “These are the family records of Isaac son of Abraham. Abraham fathered Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he took as his wife Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was childless. The Lord was receptive to his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. But the children inside her struggled with each other, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two peoples will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” But let’s rewind back the clock to Isaac’s earlier years. The most incredible moment in Isaac’s life comes in Genesis 22:1-2, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Take your son,” he said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” I cannot think of a single Bible story that’s more outrageous to modern people than Genesis 22. The New Atheists see these verses as a kind of proof text, demonstrating the petulant, childish, erratic nature of the Old Testament God. Countless mothers have expressed horror over these verses—what kind of monstrous God would dare ask a parent to sacrifice their baby in fire on an altar? So before you go canceling God, and Abraham, let's dig into this story. The historian Josephus tells us that at this point, Isaac is hardly a child. He is in fact a young man. He is 25 years of age! Isaac is fully aware that he and his father are headed up the mountain to sacrifice a burnt offering to God. He is aware that there is no lamb. To our horror, Genesis 22:6-7 describes how “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. In his hand he took the fire and knife, and the two of them walked on together. Then Isaac spoke up 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?” Just imagine exactly what we have here: A conversation between a father and his “one and only son”, about the son becoming a sacrifice! With words, in Genesis 22:8, Abraham assures Isaac saying, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.” But in Genesis 22:9-10 things escalate! “When they arrived at the place that God had told them about, Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.” We are hard pressed to make any sense of this story. Who is more audacious? Is it God, whose decided to “test” Abraham? Is it Abraham, who's willing to go along with the whole scheme? OR is it Abraham’s one and only Son Isaac, who willingly lays his own life down on the altar? Josephus has much to say about Abraham and Isaac’s relationship. Isaac was Abraham's most precious, his only begotten, most beloved son. Isaac endeared himself to Abraham and Sarah, exercised every virtue, fulfilled every duty, and was zealous to worship God. Abraham wanted nothing more in old age than to leave Isaac safe and secure. But then God appears to Abraham, insisting not that Isaac’s-preservation, but Isaac’s-sacrifice would be most necessary and please to God! Don’t you find it odd that Abraham didn’t keep any of this from Isaac? The historian Josephus, citing Jewish tradition, relays the whole conversation Abraham and Isaac had about this audacious demand of God. At this late stage of life, Abraham didn’t think it right to disobey God in anything under any circumstance! God had been so kind to Abraham! Josephus tells us Abraham didn’t dare tell his wife about this, nor anyone in their household! When Isaac inquires about things, Abraham reasons that in God’s request, God was able to make a plentiful provision for them. Abraham says, “O son! I poured out a vast number of prayers that I might have thee for my son; when thou wast come into the world, there was nothing that could contribute to thy support for which I was not greatly solicitous, nor anything wherein I thought myself happier than to see thee grown up to man’s estate, and that I might leave thee at my death the successor to my dominion; (229) but since it was by God’s will that I became thy father, and it is now his will that I relinquish thee, bear this consecration to God with a generous mind; for I resign thee up to God, who has thought fit now to require this testimony of honor to himself, on account of the favors he hath conferred on me, in being to me a supporter and defender.” (230) “Accordingly thou, my son, wilt now die, not in any common way of going out of the world, but sent to God, the Father of all men, beforehand, by thy own father, in the nature of a sacrifice. I suppose he thinks thee worthy to get clear of this world neither by disease, neither by war, nor by any other severe way, by which death usually comes upon men, (231) but so that he will receive thy soul with prayers and holy offices of religion, and will place thee near to himself, and thou wilt there be to me a succorer and supporter in my old age; on which account I principally brought thee up, and thou wilt thereby procure me God for my comforter instead of thyself.” And what about Isaac? “Now Isaac was of such a generous disposition as became the son of such a father, and was pleased with this discourse; and said “That he was not worthy to be born at first, if he should reject the determination of God and of his father, and should not resign himself up readily to both their pleasures; since it would have been unjust if he had not obeyed, even if his father alone had so resolved.” So he went immediately to the altar to be sacrificed.” Do you see what I mean? Who is most the most audacious person in this story? God, Abraham, or Isaac? Josephus offers an important insight. Abraham realizes that there is something about this whole ordeal that God is using to honor Himself. And Isaac reaches the conclusion that it would be “unjust” not to obey the will of his Good Father in heaven, much less his good father on earth. So this One and Only Beloved Son went immediately to the altar to be sacrificed. Now as Abraham is about to do the deed, we read this in Genesis 22:11-18, “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.” 12 Then he said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said, “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.” 15 Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, 17 I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the city gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed my command.” If you are one who divorces the Old Testament from the New Testament, the meaning of this story is forever lost in time. But we know exactly what this story means. Can you think of any other story, in which a Father of Divine Necessity, concludes he has no other recourse but to offer his one and only Son, his precious, beloved Son, as a sacrifice? Can you think of any other story in which a Son not only has open knowledge of his Father’s will, but willingly lays down his life as a sacrifice? In the garden Jesus doesn’t run. Knowing he must die, he entrusts himself to the Father. Luke 22:40, “Father, not my will be done, but yours.” In John 8:49-53, we find Jesus is in a heated dispute over his identity. Jesus says, “. . . I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and judges. Truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” Then the Jews said, “Now we know you have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham who died? And the prophets died. Who do you claim to be?” This is Abraham’s posture. “If I obey God’s word, If I offer up my son… I don’t know how, but I know he will provide, we’ll never taste death.” What God shows Abraham, indeed how God honors himself (makes himself known), is he has Abraham enact the gospel story of the vcross. John 8:54-58, “If I glorify myself,” Jesus answered, “my glory is nothing. My Father—about whom you say, ‘He is our God’—he is the one who glorifies me. You do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews replied, “You aren’t fifty years old yet, and you’ve seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” Read Romans 8:31-39…. The Believers (and Abraham’s) Triumph!