Sermon: Abraham's Sacrifice (Part Two): Love Exemplified
The Father Loves the Son of Promise
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 28-Mar-21; 69 minutes
Genesis 22:1-2 contains three "first mentions": 1.) the first mention of the Hebrew noun for love, "the son whom you love," indicating the importance and uniqueness of father-son love; 2.) the first mention of the Hebrew word for "test," "proving" or "verifying" and 3.) the first mention of Abraham's willingness to follow God's commands after having studied His character for over 130 years. The first mention of Father-son love replicates itself in the first mention of the Greek nouns for love in each of the Gospel accounts (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22 (where God expresses unqualified love for His Son at the Transfiguration) and at John 3:16, where He expresses the same level of love for His people. The love of Abraham for Isaac serves as an emblem for the love of the Father for His Son and for all the children of Adam and Eve. Abraham provides a concrete example as to how God tests, proves and perfects our faith. After perhaps a 22-year hiatus in which no conversation took place between Abraham and God, Abraham was instantly ready to go when God told him to go, without knowing exactly where he was going. The location of Isaac's "sacrifice" was Moriah, where Solomon later built the Temple; the venue may have been the location of the Garden of Eden. God did not want Abraham to fail but wanted to test his faithfulness. Abraham, thoroughly attuned to God's character and laws (which contained proscriptions against human sacrifice) was willing to go to the extremes through which God wanted to test him. God's people must follow Abraham's cue of unconditional obedience to God's purpose, realizing it is always for their good.
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