ABRAHAM’S OBEDIENCE BY FAITH
In Genesis 22 we see Abraham’s obedience by faith. When I read this chapter as a young man, I could not understand how Abraham as a human being and a father could have been so bold. When God asked him to offer to Him his beloved son Isaac, he did it immediately. In this chapter there is no mention of Abraham’s wife. According to the record here, we are not told that Abraham talked with his wife about offering Isaac. We are only shown that he responded quickly and boldly to God’s command, rising up early in the morning and going to the place of which God had spoken.
BELIEVING IN THE RESURRECTING GOD • In the Old Testament we cannot see why Abraham obeyed God so quickly and boldly. But in the New Testament we see that Abraham believed in the resurrecting God (Heb. 11:17-19; James 2:21-22). He had the faith which counted on God to raise up the very Isaac whom he was about to slay. He had received the firm and even confirmed promise that God’s covenant would be established with Isaac and that he would become a great nation (17:19-21). If Abraham had offered Isaac on the altar, slaying him and burning him as an offering to God, and God did not raise him from the dead, then God’s word would have been in vain. Abraham’s faith was based upon God’s confirmed promise. Abraham could have said, “If God wants Isaac, I will just slay him. God will raise him up for the fulfillment of His promise.”
Romans 4:17, speaking of Abraham, says that the God in whom he believed is the One who “gives life to the dead and calls the things not being as being.” Here we see that Abraham believed in God for two things: for giving life to the dead and for calling things not being as being. The birth of Isaac was related to God’s calling things not being as being, and his being returned was related to God’s giving life to the dead. Because Abraham had such faith, he obeyed God’s commandment immediately. Hebrews 11:17-19 says that when Abraham was tried, he offered up Isaac by faith, “counting that God was able to raise him even from among the dead, from whence he also received him back in a figure.”
ACTING ACCORDING TO GOD’S REVELATION • In obeying God by faith, Abraham acted according to God’s revelation (vv. 3-4, 9-10). Everything Abraham did in this chapter was absolutely of God. Abraham did not initiate anything nor do anything according to his concept. Nothing was done by his desire or understanding. God told Abraham what to do, how to do it, and where to do it. In every aspect of his action in offering Isaac, Abraham acted according to God’s revelation and instructions.
Going to Mount Moriah, the place of God’s choice • Abraham went to Mount Moriah, the place of God’s choice. In verse 2 God told Abraham to go into the land of Moriah and offer Isaac on one of the mountains of which He would tell him. In the next verse we are told that Abraham “rose up and went to the place of which God had told him.” Before Abraham began his journey, God must have told him which mountain He had chosen. In verse 4 we are told that “on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” Abraham did nothing according to his concept or choice; he did everything according to God’s revelation.
What Abraham did in Genesis 22 is an important seed in the Bible. As I have already pointed out, Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, were commanded by God to go three times a year to Mount Moriah to worship God and there to offer to Him their burnt offerings. We have seen that Mount Moriah became Mount Zion, the very center of the good land. Abraham was the first to worship God with the burnt offering on Mount Zion. Eventually, we all shall be on Mount Zion worshipping God. On the one hand, in the church life today, as true descendants of Abraham, we are on Mount Zion; on the other hand, we are on our way there. What Abraham did in chapter twenty-two was the seed. His descendants, the Israelites, were the development of this seed, and we today are the further development of the seed. We all, including Abraham, shall be in the harvest of the seed. Perhaps one day we shall shake hands with Abraham on the eternal Mount Zion and say to him, “You were on the ancient Mount Zion, we were on the new testament Mount Zion, and now we are all together here on the eternal Mount Zion.”
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)