Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
Abraham is Tested
Abraham’s relationship with God began with his being told to “go” (literally, ‘get yourself’) to the land that God would show him. It comes to a climax here in chapter 22 with his being told to “go” (‘get yourself’) to the region of Moriah with Isaac, the son who was to fulfill the promise to make Abraham into a great nation.
Abraham’s Test (22:1-10):
o John Goldingay writes, “…the Old and New Testaments use the same words for a positive testing designed to build you up and a negative temptation designed to pull you down.” Which meaning of the word do you feel fits best in the situation Abraham faces in Genesis 22? What choices does Abraham face that test/tempt him?
o Genesis 22:2 is the first time the word ‘love’ is used in the Bible. In what ways is this significant?
o How do you think Abraham felt? How does he react to God’s command?
o Why does Abraham not negotiate with God in prayer as he has in earlier situations?
“Genesis 18 [pleading for Sodom] suggests that our relationship with God and our prayer is not so much about us and what we need as about other people and what they need. Genesis 22 now suggests it is not so much about us as about God. It is not about the fulfillment of my longings and the resolving of my fears but about my submitting to God. That is not all that Genesis or the Old Testament says about prayer. Indeed, the Old Testament more characteristically portrays prayer as a way of pressing my longings, fears, and sufferings onto God and pressing God to do something about them. But here and elsewhere it also reminds us that our relationship with God is one where, when the chips are down, we submit to the fact that God is God.” John Goldingay
o What do we learn about Isaac from this story?
God’s Provision (21:11-24):
o Why did God need to test Abraham’s commitment (22:12)?
o Abraham names the place Jehovah Jireh, which means “Yahweh will See (to it)” or “The LORD will Provide”. How did God see and provide for Abraham in this midst of this test?
o What connections are there between Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, and God’s willingness to sacrifice His only Son, Jesus. How has Abraham’s faithfulness blessed all people on earth?
o In what ways can you identify with Abraham? Has God ever tested your commitment or asked you to release something to Him?
o Abraham says, “Here I am” three times in this story, in 22:1, 7 and 11. It is the same response that Moses and Samuel will give when God calls their names (Ex.3:4, 1Sam.3:4, 6, 8). What attitude of heart does this response show? How might you respond similarly to God?
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997