Verse 1 – Just as fire refines one to extract precious metals, God refines us through testing. When we are tested we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our character. Sometimes you will think that you’re not going to make it, but God wouldn’t have allowed the testing if He was not going to go through it with you. If you don’t give up, you will always be the victor.
Verse 2 – Then God told Abraham what to do. Have you ever questioned God in what He was doing? I have. Too many times I’ve said, (or more like cried), “God, what are you doing?” Nowhere in scripture can I find where Abraham questioned what God was doing. He believed God and trusted Him.
Verse 3 – This is one of the greatest acts of obedience in recorded history. The next morning Abraham got up and even split the wood that he would need for the sacrifice. That was pure faith. He traveled 50 miles to Mount Moriah near the site of Jerusalem. He would have had a lot of time to think about what was to take place. Over the years he had learned many tough lessons about the importance of obeying God. This time his obedience was prompt and complete. Obeying God is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something we truly want. We should not expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally God does nothing without purposes.
Verses 5, 6 – Abraham told the two servants to wait and he would return after they had worshiped. We don’t know how Abraham carried the fire. Maybe he carried a hot coal or a flint to start the fire.
Verses 7, 8 – Why did God ask Abraham to perform a human sacrifice? Pagan nationals practiced human sacrifice, but God condemned this as a terrible sin (Leviticus 20:1-5). God did not want Isaac to die, but he wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, in his heart, so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his promised and long-awaited son. God was testing Abraham. The purpose of testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to God and His perfect timing. During this testing, Abraham also learned about God’s ability to provide.
Verse 12 – When we give God what He asks, He returns to us far more than we could ever dream. The spiritual benefits of His blessings far outweigh our sacrifices.
Verse 13 – Notice the parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac and Christ offered on the cross as a substitute for us. Whereas, God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, God did not spare His own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross. If Jesus had lived, the rest of humankind would have died. God sent His only Son to die for us so that we can be spared from the eternal death we deserve and instead receive eternal life (John 3:16).
Verses 15-18 – Abraham received abundant blessings because he did not hold back, but obeyed God. First, God gave Abraham’s descendants the ability to conquer their enemies. Second, God promised Abraham children and grandchildren who would in turn bless the whole earth. Most often we think of blessings as gifts to be enjoyed, but when God blesses us they are to overflow to others. We, as Christians, are living under the blessings of Abraham because of that promise.