Genesis chapter 22 is very special because it speaks about the Father. Verses 1-3 reads, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”
“He said, ‘Take your son, your only son’”–I’m quite sure you will think of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” This expression is truly extraordinary because it reminds us of God’s love for the world, and He gave His only Son. This act is beyond what man can imagine. Being the only begotten Son of the Father, the Lord is very different from those one and only sons on earth: the Lord is God; He and the Father are one. Their relationship is far beyond any father-son relationships on earth, which merely gives us a glimpse of the relationship between the Lord and the Father.
God did not reveal Abraham’s feelings to us in detail. Abraham has faith, but it doesn’t mean he lacks compassion and affection. What was in Abraham’s heart? You can ask him in the future in heaven: How did you feel on that day?
It’s precious that verse 1 reads, “After these things God tested Abraham.” God had prepared Abraham through many challenges and trials. He had experienced a lot. He went through many difficulties and he stumbled at times. However, he overcame each challenge. Time after time, he reached from one peak to another. After all the previous challenges, God tested him with this special trial. 1 Peter 1:7 says, “The tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire…” This verse can be applied to Abraham. The “test” is actually God’s training for us. When we did not know Him well, we would keep asking “Why?” You have to know God well enough to “rise early in the morning,” just as Abraham did in responding to God’s test. Otherwise, you will find ways to delay. But Abraham rose early and prepared the wood.
We strive on earth to accomplish the Lord’s will. At the same time, the Lord is preparing and uplifting us for the Father’s great business. He is enhancing our qualifications. He wants us to receive many rewards and glory from Him, and become a blessing to many. Can you see? There are so many who have been helped by this passage over so many generations. And how many more throughout eternity? They will learn from Abraham’s life and what he imparted to us. Likewise, in eternity, we will greatly help many. Abba will lead you and me, together with many sons, to glory!
Genesis 22: 3-4 reads, “…And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day…”
This task was not quick and easy. Though with the help of two young men, they still needed to carry the wood.
Genesis 22:4-5 reads, “Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.’”
Here is foreshadowing the Lord being alone in the garden of Gethsemane. Three disciples were with Him, but they fell asleep while the Lord was praying earnestly. The Lord stayed alert. He went forward and foretasted the bitter cup in the garden by Himself.
Genesis 22:6 reads, “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.”
“Took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son”: I believe you can relate this to the Lord carrying the cross for us.
The sentence “So they went both of them together” appears more than once. Of course this refers to Abraham and his son. You may think of the suffering endured by the Lord, whether in the garden, on His way to the cross, or right before He was crucified. He suffered much for the whole journey, yet the Father also went with Him. He felt deeply the pain that His beloved Son was going through. When the Lord bore the stripes, the Father went with Him. The Lord despised the shame and experienced many sufferings before His crucifixion; the Father also went with Him.
Genesis 22:7 reads, “And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’”
When we get to heaven, you may ask Abraham how he felt when Isaac asked him this question.
Genesis 22:8 reads, “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.”
How did Abraham know there would be a ram for the burnt offering on the mountain? I treasure his faith. He also has compassion and affection.
Genesis 22:9 reads, “When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.”
Please take note of “So they went both of them together.” I hope you realize what the Lord experienced before going up to the cross; and the moment when He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Before the Father struck and forsook the Lord, He was walking with the Lord. What do you think? How would the Father have felt when the Lord was whipped? Genesis chapter 22 is very precious because it helps us to understand what the Father has gone through for us. Certainly, He also endured great pain for His beloved Son. The pain of the cross is too deep for us to fully comprehend even through all eternity. We’ll understand it better if we truly understand how the Father loves His beloved Son, and the meaning of these expressions: “in the bosom of the Father,” “His beloved Son,” “the Lord and the Father are one,” and “His only begotten Son.”