STUDY Hebrews 11:17-19 (click here for notes)

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (NIV)


The Command

The story of Abraham's test of offering Isaac as a sacrifice is in Genesis 22:1-18. Genesis 21:34 says, "And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time." This statement suggests that Isaac was already an adolescent or a young man when this unique test came.

"Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, 'Abraham!'

'Here I am,' he replied.

Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." (Genesis 22:1-2)

1. Why did God test Abraham? (see Exodus 15:24-25; 16:4-5; 20:20; Deuteronomy 8:2, 16; 13:3, 4; Psalm 66:8-12; James 1:12-15)


2. Why did God call Isaac "your only son"? (see Genesis 21:12; Galatians 4:23-24, 28-31)


3. In this unusual exchange with Abraham, what was God foreshadowing about himself? (see John 3:16, 18; 1:18; 1 John 4:9)


4. What ultimately was significant about Mount Moriah, the place on which Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac? (see 2 Chronicles 3:1)


Abraham's Response

"Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac." (v. 3)

5. How did Abraham's response to God's command compare with his response to God's previous commands to him? (see Genesis 12:1-4; 17:9-11, 23; 21:11-14)


6. What enabled Abraham to obey unhesitatingly? (see Genesis 22:8, 14; Hebrews 11:17)


7. As Abraham and Isaac left the servants and went ahead to the place of worship, Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice. How was this act symbolic and prophetic? (see John 19:16,17)


8. Just as Abraham prepared to plunge his knife into Isaac, "the angel of the Lord" stopped him. Why was it necessary for Abraham to attempt to carry out this terrifying command when God was going to stop him from completing it? (v. 12; Proverbs 8:13; James 2:21-22)



9. We have seen how the offering of Isaac was a type of God sacrificing his son. Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham believed God could resurrect Isaac if necessary in order to fulfill His covenant with him. How was it possible for Abraham to conceive of resurrection before the prophets or Jesus had lived on earth? (see Genesis 5:21-24; John 1:29, 36; Revelation 13:8; 17:8)


God's Provision

"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide." (v. 13-14)

10. This passage is the first place in scriptures where a substitutionary sacrifice is mentioned. What other provision of God does this incident foreshadow? (see Mark 10:45; 26:28; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 13:8)


11. After providing a substitute sacrifice for Abraham, what ways did God use to keep the idea of a substitute/redeemer alive until Jesus came? (see Exodus 34:19-20; Numbers 8:16-19; Leviticus 4:1-6:7; 8:14-17; 16:3-22)


Obedience As Mark of Faith

12. Why was Abraham's not withholding his son so significant? (see James 2:21-24; John 3:16; Romans 8:32)


13. Abraham prefigured God sending his only Son to earth, and he also modeled obedience through faith. If we are saved by grace through faith, why is obedience necessary? (see Romans 1:5; 5:19; 6:15-18; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 5:8-10; 1 Peter 1:1-2)


14. What does obedience mean to a Christ-follower? (see 2 John 6; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Titus 3:1-2; Hebrews 3:1; 1 Peter 1:14-15)


15. How does a Christ-follower accomplish the kinds of obedience mentioned above? (see Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 8:2, 4-6, 9, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:13; 6:10-18)



16. How has/is God testing you?


17. Have you been willing to do what God has asked of you?


18. How has God provided for you when you have been in difficult situations?


19. How has God's grace intersected your life?



20. What sacrifice has God asked you to make that you have not been willing to make?


21. What stands between you and obedience to Jesus?


22. What do you fear about surrendering yourself to obedience?


23. Ask God to make you willing to know his voice and to respond when He calls you. Ask him to take your fears and to place His Spirit in the places of your heart where fear and resentment have lived. Let Jesus give you a heart of flesh instead of stone, and let the Holy Spirit give you a new life!


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