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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 451-500 (The Word - Wedges)

F.E. Marsh :: 456. Trial of Abraham's Faith

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GENESIS 22:1-14

There are several characters in which Abraham appears. Let us note them.

  1. The Tried Believer. “God did prove Abraham” (Gen. 22:1, R.V.). If the Lord gives us a special blessing, He will test our appreciation of it. If He places us in a position, He will prove our fitness for it. If He gives an Isaac, He will ask that that Isaac may be given to Him. “When a person took the first Napoleon a shotproof coat of mail, the Emperor fired many shots at it, while the inventor had it on. Finding it answer, the Emperor gave the maker a reward. Storms of trial, sacrifices to be made, obedience required, or loving services demanded, will test us. Constantine thus tested the Christians in his household when he required them to give up their religion under a heavy penalty. Those, however, who were faithful he took into his particular favour and service.”
  2. The Responsive Saint. “Behold, here I am.” When the Lord called, there was a ready response. Like Jacob (Gen. 46:2-3), Moses (Exodus 3:4), Samuel (1 Sam. 3:4-6, 8, 10), and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8), Abraham responds at once to the voice of the Lord. As the courtier stands in the Queen’s presence, ready to respond to the command of Her Majesty, so the believer should ever be ready to answer in willing obedience every command of the Lord.
  3. The Loving Father. “Thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” (Gen. 22:2). The heart of Abraham twined round his son in holy affection, as the creeper clings to its support. This is the first time that the word “love” occurs in the Bible, and it is suggestive of that greater love that God had for Christ, of which He speaks in John 3:35. Mark how God speaks of Isaac—(1) “Thy son.” (2) “Thine only son.” (3) “Isaac.” (4) “Whom thou lovest.”
  4. The Early Riser (Gen. 22:3). Trapp remarks “upon Abraham rising early, to show his prompt and present obedience. He neither consulted with his wife nor with his own reason. She might have haply hung upon him and hindered him, as Zipporah did Moses, to the hazarding of his life (Ex. 4:25-26). He consecrates all the powers of the soul to his Creator.” The early seekers are sure to find the Lord (Prov. 8:17; Luke 24:22; John 20:1), and receive blessing from Him (Psalm 57:8-10; 63:1; 108:2), even as Israel found the manna every morning before the sun “waxed hot” (Exodus 16:21).
  5. The Persevering Follower (Gen. 22:4-5). For three days Abraham plods on in obedience to the Divine word, and there is no hesitation in following out its direction. An old writer tersely says, “We must not weigh the cross, for then it will prove heavy; we must not chew the pill, but swallow it whole, else it will prove bitter; we must not plod too much, but ply the throne of grace for a good use and a good issue of all our trials and tribulations.”
  6. The Confident Answerer (Gen. 22:8). When Isaac asks the question as to the lamb, Abraham confidently answers that God will provide it. The answer of the patriarch reminds us of Him who is “the Lamb of God.” Christ did not come and die to make God love us; it was because God loved us, that Christ came and died. The cause of God’s grace is in Himself, even as the electric light is caused by the generating power.
  7. The Careful Priest (Gen. 22:9). Everything is done in an orderly and careful manner. What a type this is of Christ as the sacrifice for sin! He came at the appointed time (Gal. 4:4). He died upon a cross—that it might be said He was pierced (Zech. 12:10; John 19:37)—and not according to the mode that the Jews put to death, namely, by stoning; not a bone of His body was broken, that Scripture might be fulfilled (John 19:36; Exodus 12:46); and He was carefully placed in a rich man’s tomb that prophecy might be fulfilled to the letter (Isaiah 53:9; Matt. 27:57).
  8. The Resolute Believer (Gen. 22:10; Heb. 11:17-19). Who can tell the feelings of Abraham as he stands over his son with uplifted knife in hand? But he is in the line of obedience to God’s will, and he has faith in God’s power, even though he slays his son, that the Lord will raise him up to life. Faith looks not at consequences, but to God. “When the knife was up, the Lord came.” The Lord is never too late to aid His people.
  9. The Waiting Servant. “Here am I” (Gen. 22:11). No sooner does the Lord speak than Abraham responds, and stands in a waiting posture to hear what the Lord wills. Our safety and blessing are found in being attentive to the voice of God in His Word. The posture of young Samuel should ever be ours, namely, that of reverent, prayerful attention to the Lord.
  10. The God-fearing Man. “I know that thou fearest God” (Gen. 22:12). We are told how Abraham feared God, in that he was willing to give his son. All his hopes were centred in Isaac, but he yielded him at God’s command, and by so doing evidenced his faith. As James says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:21-22). As Canaan proved it was a “good land” by the fruit that came from it (Num. 13:23), so faith evidences its existence by its fruit. Faith receives God’s “All,” even Christ (John 1:12), and shows it has received Christ by giving the soul’s all to Him.
  11. The Obedient Offerer (Gen. 22:13). At God’s bidding the ram is offered up in “the stead of Isaac.” What a type of Christ, who has been offered up in the stead of the believer! “He gave Himself for us.” Thus God answers Isaac’s question of Gen. 22:7, and illustrates His title of Jehovah-Jireh in Gen. 22:14.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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