0318 L1-The Lord Will Provide

The Lord Will Provide

March 4 • Bible Study Guide 1

Bible Background • GENESIS 22
Printed Text • GENESIS 22: 1–3, 6–14 | Devotional Reading • PSALM 20

Aim for Change

By the end of the lesson we will: EXPLORE God’s call to radical personal sacrifice; APPRECIATE the difficulty of following His directives; and EMULATE those who make extreme personal sacrifices for God.

In Focus

It had always been difficult for Janet to build new relationships. As a young woman, Janet worked to build friendships with a group of young ladies and formed a deep meaningful community—they understood her, loved her, rebuked her when necessary, and challenged her spiritually. So Janet did not understand why God was leading her to move to another state for school, away from her bona fide friends and everything else that was familiar to her. Janet was torn; she had made a commitment to follow God wherever He might lead, but this time around, the sacrifice seemed much greater than what she could afford.
Janet desperately missed home. She had decided to obey God’s plan for this season of her life, despite reservations about relocating. Surrounded by people from different cultures and backgrounds, she felt alone in this big city. But as time progressed, Janet began to hope in the possibilities of building new relationships.
Karen was one person she was growing closer to; they had a few classes together and attended the same church. Janet was amazed at how many things they had in common. Gradually, Janet could see God working in her situation, providing her with opportunities to build new friendships.
As disciples, we are called to obey God in every circumstance, even when following His instructions is uncomfortable for us. How can we prepare ourselves for a life of sacrifice in the kingdom of God?

Keep in Mind

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8).

Words You Should Know
A. Test (Genesis 22:1) nasa (Heb.)—Try, i.e., attempt to learn the true nature of something.
B. Provide (v. 14) ra’ah (Heb.)—Give aid or support by making available whatever supplies are needed, as an extension of appearing on the scene of a situation.

Teacher Preparation
Unifying Principle—A Test of Trust. People are reluctant to make challenging personal sacrifices for fear of losing everything. How can they learn to offer difficult sacrifices even in the face of fear? By being willing to offer his son, Abraham trusted God, who provided everything he needed.
A. Pray that students will be faithful in tests that prove their faith.
B. Read and research Genesis 22 in various Bible resources (e.g., commentary, journal articles).
C. Complete the companion lesson in the Precepts For Living® Study Guide.

O—Open the Lesson
A. Open with prayer, including the Aim for Change.
B. Introduce today’s lesson title.
C. Ask the class to read the In Focus story silently by themselves or with someone else (being careful not to disturb others), then discuss it.

P—Present the Scriptures
A. Have volunteers read the Focal Verses.
B. Use The People, Places, and Times; Background; Search the Scriptures; At-A-Glance outline; In Depth; and More Light on the Text sections.

E—Explore the Meaning
A. Split the class in half to answer the Discuss the Meaning section.
B. Have a volunteer read the Lesson in Our Society section.

N—Next Steps for Application
A. Summarize the lesson.
B. For a lively discussion, invite students to ask—and to answer—questions.
C. Close with prayer.

Worship Guide

For the Superintendent or Teacher
Theme: The Lord Will Provide
Song: Gave It All
Devotional Reading: Psalm 20

Daily Bible Readings

MONDAY
Don’t Forget the Lord’s Provisions
(Deuteronomy 8:11–20)

TUESDAY

Jesus Tested in the Wilderness
(Matthew 4:1–11)

WEDNESDAY

Angel Confirms Direction for Jesus
(Luke 22:39–46)

THURSDAY

Prayer for Help in Time of Crisis
(Psalm 20)

FRIDAY

Family Lineage of Abraham Preserved
(Hebrews 11:17–22)

SATURDAY

God Blesses Abraham for Obedience
(Genesis 22:15–19)

SUNDAY

God Provides the Sacrificial Ram
(Genesis 22:1–3, 6–14)

KJV

Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
6 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 the two of them walked on together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

NLT

Genesis 22:1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about.
6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together,
7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.
9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.
10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.
11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”
12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

The People, Places, and Times

Mount Moriah. The place where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac was Mount Moriah, the same place where Solomon would later erect the first temple (2 Chronicles 3:1). The text helps us understand general geographical details regarding where Abraham built the altar. From Beersheba, the journey took two full days. On the third day, the mountain range came into sight (v. 4), which suggests that the place was a little farther north than Jerusalem. It must have been physically exhausting, but more emotionally exhausting for Abraham as he tried to reconcile God’s promise to establish an everlasting covenant with Isaac with the request to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice.
Burnt offering. The first mention of burnt offerings occurs in Genesis 8:20 and thus long antedated the tabernacle system. Burnt offerings were God’s requirement that provided a temporary covering of sins foreshadowing the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 5:10). The “burnt offering” was fully consumed, producing an aroma that pleased the Lord (Genesis 8:21; Leviticus 1:9). It was understood to be an integral aspect of worship to the Lord, as Abraham states on his way to offer the sacrifice: “I and the lad will go yonder and worship” (Genesis 22:5). That Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac as a burnt offering was unusual and foreshadows God’s sacrifice of His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
What in your life would be considered a burnt offering?

Background

Finally, Abraham and Sarah were beginning to experience the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promise with the birth of their son, Isaac (Genesis 12:1, 21:1–3). The name Isaac literally means “laughter.” When Isaac was born, Sarah said, “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.” His name highlights the tension in Sarah’s response to God’s promise concerning the gift of a descendant, which seemed impossible at the time. Sarah had previously laughed at God in mockery, which reflected her lack of trust. Now, she joins with Abraham in laughter with faith and gratitude.
After twenty-four years of waiting, Isaac arrived! He was God’s promise fulfilled. Abraham and Sarah were confident that their God could make the impossible possible.
What promises of God have you waited on to be fulfilled which proved to be a test of your faith?

At-A-Glance

1. The Test of Abraham’s Obedience 
(Genesis 22:1–3)
2. The Devotion of Abraham’s Obedience 
(vv. 6–10)
3. The Blessing of Abraham’s Obedience 
(vv. 11–14)

In Depth

1. The Test of Abraham’s Obedience (Genesis 22:1–3)
Abraham entered into a God-orchestrated test where he was instructed to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. That God tests His people is not exceptional; it is a means of revealing obedience (e.g., Exodus 15:25, 16:4; Judges 2:22). For Abraham, this test was the culmination of a journey that started in Genesis 12:1.
The command to sacrifice Isaac appeared to place Abraham at risk of losing the son of promise through whom God would give Abraham descendants. Abraham had reluctantly sent away Ishmael, his son through Hagar (Genesis 21:8–21). The descriptors used in reference to Isaac as the son whom he loves indicates that this request was extremely costly to Abraham. He was to kill the child that he had believed in God for all these years. Nevertheless, in immediate obedience, he got up “early in the morning” to obey (v. 2).
Does it take more time for you to obey God’s commands when there is personal sacrifice involved?

2. The Devotion of Abraham’s Obedience (vv. 6–10)
Abraham was convinced that God would be able to resurrect Isaac from the dead, even from the ashes of a burnt offering (Hebrews 11:19). As the two traveled together, Isaac raised a question about the lamb that was to be sacrificed. Something was not right! He was old enough to have sensibly observed sacrifices by his father in the past, and he knew what was required.
Abraham answered in a manner that seemed vague, although it captured his sincere willingness to obey whatever God instructed. God would be the provider, since He was the one who had issued the command. At the designated spot, Abraham prepares the altar. His obedience is showcased by his attention to follow the exact details of preparing an offering.
How do our actions correlate to our faith and trust in God?

3. The Blessing of Abraham’s Obedience (vv. 11–14)
As Abraham lifted his hand with the knife and was about to kill Isaac, the angel of the LORD intervened. Abraham was told to “lay not thine hand upon the lad”—a very different command than God’s first instruction. To say that Abraham probably felt relieved is an understatement.
Abraham feared God. He demonstrated that he respected and revered God. How? He did not withhold his son—the only son through whom God would fulfill His promise. Abraham’s faith, made complete by passing this test, had significant ramifications on his generation as well as the generations after him (James 2:22).
How can our sacrifice and obedience create greater blessings for us and others?

Search the Scriptures
1. Why did God put Abraham’s faith to the test (Genesis 22:1)? Was this the only way God would know whether Abraham’s faith was genuine (v. 12)?
2. Was the test ultimately for God’s sake or for Abraham’s?

Discuss the Meaning
Abraham passed the test! He believed that God would fulfill His promise no matter what the circumstance. If God had to raise Isaac from the ashes, Abraham was confident that he would. Active faith requires obedience even when we don’t know the outcome. Daily we must count the cost associated with following God and determine for ourselves whether He is deserving of our trust and total obedience.
How does our love for others compare to our love for God? What did Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac say about his worship of God?

Lesson in Our Society
Children, money, careers, material possessions, friends, and even our role in the church are sometimes valued more than we value God. What or whom do we worship? Placing God’s blessings in perspective will help us avoid dethroning God from the center of our lives. For Abraham, a relationship with God had immense worth and value above anyone or anything else. God was the object of his worship, and that truth was demonstrated in how Abraham lived.
How do we sacrifice personal desire to love others and bring God glory?

Make It Happen
Make a list of things you could give up if God asked you to do so. Consider what’s not on the list. Are these things more important to you than your relationship with God?
Talk to God about the treasures in your life or whatever consumes your time to the extent that it pushes you away from Him, such as television, social media, the phone, or certain people. Think about the different needs of people around you and decide on a practical way to meet one of those needs. Then go, and for the sake of your God, be a blessing to others.

Follow the Spirit
What God wants me to do:
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Remember Your Thoughts
Special insights I have learned:
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More Light on the Text

Genesis 22:1–3, 6–14
1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
In Jewish tradition, this chapter is referred to as the Aqedah, which means “the binding,” which speaks to Abraham’s test. The idea of being tested is rarely a pleasant one. However, when God is the tester, the test promotes good over evil (James 1:13). Instead of “tempt” (Heb. nasah, nah-SAH), here most modern translations have “test,” giving a clearer picture of what God is doing. Such a test serves a dual purpose: revealing where one’s allegiance lies as well as unveiling aspects of the divine character and Person. In Abraham’s case, it revealed that he feared the Lord (v. 12). Many other times throughout Scripture, God tests His people to see their faith and obedience (Deuteronomy 8:2; Judges 2:22; 2 Chronicles 32:31).
Abraham’s response to God’s call was, “Here I am” (Heb. hinneh, hee-NAY), a familiar response to God in other places in Scripture (Exodus 3:4; 1 Samuel 3:4; Isaiah 6:8). By this response, Abraham not only answered God but also voiced his availability and willingness to do as instructed.

2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
This account includes many christological overtones. The father-son relationship between Abraham and Isaac is reminiscent of the heavenly Father-Son relationship. Some scholars suggest that the Hebrew word yakhid (ya-KHEED), here translated “only,” should be understood in the sense of “uniqueness” (since Isaac was technically not Abraham’s only son); both Isaac and Jesus are unique sons of promise. It is translated with the word agapetos (Gk. ah-ga-peh-TOCE), “beloved” in the Septuagint. This is the same word used for Jesus at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). Both Isaac and Jesus were beloved sons. The identity of the son is described with extremely emotive language: “thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” (v. 2). There could be no doubt concerning Abraham’s affection for his son and the tremendous loss that this would be to him.

3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
We are not told whether Sarah knew what Abraham was about to do. Perhaps he left early before she had the opportunity to find out and oppose his carrying out God’s instruction. In any event, Abraham immediately responds in obedience, unlike previous rebuttals to God, suggesting Eliezer (15:2) or Ishmael (17:18, 21:11) as substitutes through which the promise was fulfilled. As he prepares for the journey ahead, Abraham packs the essential wood necessary for building the altar, which demonstrated his resolve to carry out divine directive.

6 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 the two of them walked on together.
Commentators suggest symbolism in Abraham’s action. The wood is transferred from the beast and laid on Isaac, the new burden bearer as well as the sacrificial lamb. Abraham, as the offerer, is said to be carrying the fire and knife. The use of the reflexive “himself” or “in his (own) hands” significantly emphasizes his deep-seated commitment to accomplishing the task.

7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
These verses build the tension of the narrative. Isaac, who had been silent all this time, speaks up. He understood what was about to take place but noticed that the sacrificial sheep was missing. Animal sacrifices were instituted by God from the very beginning. Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to the Lord (Genesis 4:3–4). These sacrifices were pre-Tabernacle and served the purpose of pointing toward the ultimate sacrifice: the Lamb of God that would take away “the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Abraham’s response to Isaac’s question, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering,” implies much about Abraham’s faith, God’s ultimate plan for salvation, and Abraham’s convictions concerning God’s person. The Hebrew ra’ah (ra-AH), which is translated as “will provide,” generally denotes the act of seeing with one’s own eyes. Essentially, Abraham was insinuating that God would see the current situation and make available what was best.
For Abraham, Isaac was the lamb God was providing. The translation of the verb in the future tense must not be understood as merely referring to what God does in the future. In Abraham’s faith journey, God had provided in the past and in the present, and He would in the future as well.
Additionally, commentators view Abraham’s answer as typologically important, linking the discourse to Jesus as a lamb specifically provided (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus would be God’s provision to permanently deal with sin in the world making it possible for mankind to be reconciled back to God.

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
The fact that Isaac allows Abraham to tie him to the altar is noteworthy. Isaac’s exact age is not revealed in the text, but he was certainly old enough to run away or overpower his father. Despite this, he was still a willing sacrifice. Another allusion to Jesus can be derived from Isaac’s posture toward being sacrificed. Jesus, too, was the willing sacrifice who “opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (from Isaiah 53:7).

11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Abraham had completed the test; the storyline reverses the threat to the boy. While Isaac was not killed, it was clear that Abraham had every intention of doing so. Abraham’s obedience had been revealed through the process, resulting in commendation as one who truly feared God. This fear of God describes Abraham’s obedience and trust motivated by his love of God above all else (Deuteronomy 10:12–13).

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Again, the keyword “provide” (Heb. ra’ah, ra-AH) is used when Abraham spots the ram (“looked,” v. 13) and when he names the sacred site (“jireh,” v. 14). The ram caught in the thicket became a substitute sacrifice in place of Isaac. Though Isaac is delivered, Abraham was not deterred from what he had come to the mountain to do. Together with his son, they worshiped God in that place.

Say It Correctly

Moriah. more-EYE-uh.
Antedated. an-tuh-DATE-ed.

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