Introduction:This section takes us to the climax of Abraham’s religious journey: the sacrifice of Isaac. This sacrifice is the “test” of Abraham’s faith. This intriguing event marks the centre of the structure of the book of Genesis, a literary device utilized to alert the reader to the chapter’s importance. A number of questions will be explored: What is the meaning of this test? Why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son in contradiction to His promise? How will God provide? Why did the sacrifice change from Isaac to the expectation of a lamb and finally to the ram? What is the theological and prophetic significance of the failed sacrifice? After this dramatic incident, no significant event happens in Abraham’s life. The next major story is Isaac’s marriage to Rebekah. Then Abraham marries Keturah and eventually dies “well advanced in age.”
1. The Significance of Atonement. The sacrifice of Isaac concerns more than an ethical problem or an existential encounter. The biblical narrative deals with the issue of atonement, and it unveils its mystery, its profound meaning, its cosmic process, and its eschatological purpose. God’s call to Abraham, designed for the blessing of the nations, is fulfilled through the atonement recorded in the sacrifice of Isaac.
2. The Power of Prayer. Isaac’s marriage is founded on prayer. The beautiful story of Eliezer’s prayer and its fulfillment is particularly inspiring and rich in meaning and spiritual lessons.
Thought question: What about free will? Why does our faith make no sense without it being a reality? What examples do we have in the Bible of free will and how, despite the wrong choices people make, God’s will ultimately is accomplished?
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