January 26, 2023

Provision might look different than we expect.

Genesis 22

Ashley Leuellen
Thursday's Devo

January 26, 2023

Thursday's Devo

January 26, 2023

Big Idea

We can trust God when we don't know how things will turn out.

Key Verse | Genesis 22:14

So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

Genesis 22

The Sacrifice of Isaac

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. On the third day 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 1 22:5 Or young man; also verse 12 will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 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. 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?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; 2 22:14 Or will see as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” 3 22:14 Or he will be seen

15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his 4 22:17 Or their enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.

20 Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 (Bethuel fathered Rebekah.) These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24 Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.


[1] 22:5 Or young man; also verse 12
[2] 22:14 Or will see
[3] 22:14 Or he will be seen
[4] 22:17 Or their

"Why Sacrifice Isaac?"

Listen Now

Dive Deeper | Genesis 22

When I was younger, I prayed many times for the God I had heard about to save me from the suffering I was experiencing. I got frustrated after years of praying the same prayer and never understood why He wouldn't save me in the way I wanted. I wanted Him to change my circumstances, but I didn't understand the full picture.

When I read Genesis 22, I can imagine Abraham praying a similar prayer for his son—hoping God would provide a way out, coming up with ideas as he looked up toward the mountain, and pleading with God to do something. But God held His sovereign hand steady until Abraham was postured in total surrender to God's will. Just as Abraham holds the knife up, about to sacrifice his "only son," God provides another way. When Abraham "lifted up his eyes" (Genesis 22:13), he saw a ram—a providential substitute that would spare Isaac's life.

Similarly, we can all look back on times when our faith was tested. During the hardest moments of life when we finally lift up our eyes, God will be there to provide the way through. He has provided His only Son as our providential substitute, so that we might lift up our eyes toward the One who is high and lifted up and be saved.

My salvation didn't come in the way or timing I'd hoped for. But God, in His infinite wisdom, love, and kindness, wanted to do more than save me from my circumstances; He wanted to change my heart through faith in His Son. Only after pausing to look up and assuming a posture of humility was I finally able to see God's sovereign hand move in my life. And eventually, His plan started to become more beautiful to me than the one I had in mind when I was young.

God's provision might not be what we expect, but it is always better than we could imagine.

This month's memory verse

We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

– John 1:45b

Discussion Questions

1. In what ways has God unexpectedly provided for you in the past week? Could you find time today to pause and lift up your eyes to see God's providential hand working in your life?

2. As Abraham named the mountain "Jehovah Jireh," could you memorialize the ways God has provided for you and your family by documenting it on a small stone or piece of paper? Place it somewhere you, or your whole family, can see every day this reminder of the ways God has unexpectedly provided.

3. Abraham learned the lessons of trust, sacrifice, and obedience. Are you willing to learn the lessons God might have for you?

4. Do you fully trust that God works all things for our good and His glory? At the beginning of this passage, Abraham didn't know it would be just a test. He was fully trusting that God did have a good plan. How about you?

5. If God asked you to sacrifice something you hold dear, would you be willing to give it up to obey Him? Considering the example of Abraham, what is one step toward obedience you can take today?

Respond to Today's Passage

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Hugh Stephenson

What in the WORLD does it take to get me to where Abraham is? How in the WORLD do I get to know God so well I would have Abraham’s level of trust, surrender, and obedience. (It’s not about the WORLD, (John 16:33, 1 John 2:15-17)). Its just like Abraham. Finally getting to the point of trusting the Lord 100%; my seeing Jesus for who He is. Then…having my intimacy and unity with Him as my highest priority everyday, (John 14:20). Only in a deep understanding of who He is and who I am can I develop the depth of knowledge and trust Abraham shows here. At the same time, I need reminding that Abraham had some serious knucklehead moments before he got “there”. For Abraham, his path to the mountain top came to him via the child of the Promise, (Genesis 12:1-3. Genesis 15:1-6).

Hugh Stephenson

SIDEBAR- What is the promise God has made to me that I have seen Him fulfill - that gets me to the summit; my own “transfiguration”? Am I looking for Him to come to me like He did Peter, James and John? https://www.gotquestions.org/Mount-of-Transfiguration.html Or is it in a strong wind or an earthquake or a fire? Or is it just a quiet whisper? (1 Kings 19:9-12). What is my problem?!?! Why do I keep moving the goalposts?!?! SELF. SELF. SELF. Luke 9:23 Regardless, just like Peter James, and John, after the mountain top, I am called to come down into the valley and re-orient my life to His PERFECT will for me. In my exercise of my FREE will, He will use His PERMISSIVE will to bring more testing via what He PERMITS to come into my life. https://www.gotquestions.org/permissive-will.html

Hugh Stephenson

This is where the sharpening and refining happens. In this, my suffering will sift the dross out of myself, (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5, Isaiah 30:20-21). Then, and only then, am I able to move towards the perfect balance of harmony and unity with Him that he desires and designs.

Michael Sisson

This seminal event in Judeo-Christian history is known as the “Akedah” or the “Binding of Isaac.” In refuting the liberal theologians of his day, the great Danish, Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), described the Akedah as the triumph of faith over reason. In short, Kierkegaard's view agreed with French, Christian mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), who famously concluded, “…faith has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." For a deeper dive into Kierkegaard’s analysis of the Akedah, please see the following Hebrew for Christians article. https://hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Parashah/Summaries/Vayera/Fear_and_Trembling/fear_and_trembling.html Re: Gen 22:1-2 Gen 22:1-2 (NASB) Now it came about after these things, that >>>God tested Abraham<<<, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, >>>your only son,<<< whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” “Tested” seems a mind-blowing, almost clinical understatement of the unthinkable request G-d was about to make of Abraham. “As Soren Kierkegaard reminds us in his book FEAR AND TREMBLING, the Akedah is ‘yirat Elohim’ [Eng ‘the fear of God’] taken to the point of sheer madness.” — John Parsons Notice also G-d does NOT acknowledge the older Ishmael as Abraham's son. See also Gen 22:12; Gen 22:16. Re: Gen 22:4 Gen 22:4 (NASB) >>>On the third day<<< Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Isaac was as good as dead when Abraham and company departed to obey G-d. Isaac’s return from the summit of Moriah will parallel the Resurrection. Re: Gen 22:5 Genesis 22:5 (NASB) Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and >>>we<<< will worship and return to you.” "We" implies Abraham believed G-d would make a way, even if it required raising Isaac from the dead. (Heb 11:17-19) Re: Gen 22:6 Genesis 22:6 (NASB) 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. Isaac bore the wood for his own sacrifice as Yeshua (Jesus) bore the cross for His own crucifixion. (See Jn 19:17) Re: Gen 22:8 Gen 22:8 (CJB) Avraham replied, >>>“God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son”;<<< and they both went on together. A majority of commentators agree Isaac understood from his father’s reply that he was to be the sacrifice. According to Jewish tradition, Isaac was 37 at the time. His age is derived based upon Sarah being 90 at Isaac’s birth and 127 at her death. (Gen 23:1) While his age is disputable, it is also generally agreed Isaac was old enough to overpower and flee his venerable father. Thus, Isaac’s willing cooperation was essential. Moreover, his faith was tested as much as his father’s, and his obedience foreshadowed that of Messiah. (Phil 2:8) However, Isaac’s resemblance to Messiah does not end there: - Both Isaac and Yeshua (Jesus) were born miraculously - Both were called "only begotten sons" - Both were in their 30s - Both were sacrificed by their fathers at Moriah - Both demonstrated a "passion" (i.e.: readiness to suffer even unto death) - Both willingly took up the means of his own execution - Both were resurrected on the third day (Gen. 22:5; Heb. 11:17-19) - Both demonstrate one life can be sacrificed for another Re: Gen 22:13 Gen 22:13 (NASB) Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, >>>behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns;<<< and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. This verse is an excellent example of why it is always wise to consult a variety of translations. Several English translations omit “behind him.” Yet many of our source manuscripts like the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint and Syriac include the phrase >>>“behind [him].”<<< Could “behind him” hint at One who would come AFTER Abraham and would have His head in a thicket? Jn 8:65; See similar prophetic language in Ex 33:23. As the ram’s horns were caught in a thicket here, so too a crown of thorns was placed atop Messiah’s head before His sacrifice. See Jn 1:29; Mt 27:29. Re: Gen 22:17 Gen 22:17 (NASB) indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and >>>your seed shall possess the gate of *[Lit his] their enemies.<<< See Gen 24:60; Rom 4:12-25; Gal 3:16. Re: Gen 22:23 Genesis 22:23 (NASB) >>>Bethuel became the father of Rebekah<<<; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. Abraham receives the news of the birth of a daughter, Rebekah, to his nephew Bethuel. Rebekah will be the future bride of Isaac.

Maryann Adams

Thank you for this clear teaching, Ashley! I also have a Catholic background and continue to see how the LORD uses that "preparation" for recognizing grace vs. legalism. How simple is the "call" of God: total surrender, unreserved obedience, trust. Yet, it it so hard! But, God is faithful and promises to provide when He tests us. Interestingly, Abraham was not portrayed as someone who was unstable, crippled by fear, anxiety, frustration, and discouragement during the testing. Rather, he revealed the peace of God that comes from abiding, repentance, and a step-by-step trusting heart. "...In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." Isaiah 30:15 NIV "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1 ESV

Sue Bohlin

Insightful devo, Ashley! “God's provision might not be what we expect, but it is always better than we could imagine.” BAM! So good! When I opened my NIV this morning, this chapter was titled “Abraham Tested.” I just stopped. I thought, “That’s where I am in this post-tongue-surgery season of healing and recovery." Every day is a test: “Do you trust Me?” I don’t know how much of my speech will be restored. I don’t know when I will be able to talk to strangers without embarrassment again. I don’t know if I will be able to record radio programs for Probe Ministries again.

Sue Bohlin

“Do you trust Me?” The same question that underlay God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son. I also stopped when I saw God’s affirmation when Abraham passed the test: “You did not withhold your only son from Me.” Part of the test is holding back from God, reserving part of our hearts, withholding our idols, refusing to give God access to our inmost parts. He wants our unreserved surrender, and full access to every part of us.

Michael Scaman

God doubling Abraham's name is a sign of knowing someone closely and intimately "Abraham, Abraham!”. God declared Abraham righteous more than 25 years before when Abraham believed God about blessing the world through a son to come, Isaac. Now Abraham still believes God will somehow bless every nation through his seen Isaac The faith he already had was vindicated by his actions.

Amy Lowther

1. I work for a fruit and vegetable distributor. When production was complete for the week last week, there were extra products. I was able to take a few items home to stock my refrigerator. God is at work in my life. My friends and I worked today. It’s nice we trust each other while we work at separate employers and to know we work at sharing God’s values with others while we are at work. These are all signs of God’s love. 2. God comforts my friends and I in good times and in bad. 3. Yes. 4. Yes, I fully trust God has a good plan. God loves each of us and sacrificed his son Jesus so we each can have eternal life. 5. Fast food. Without it, you have to think more of who you are, what you need, and what’s available to fulfill the void of not having fast food for a meal. To be more obedient, I could help people accept Jesus in their hearts.

Kathy Hempel Cox

It is funny reading a passage over and over and knowing the story, then you read it in a season of testing and it hits you differently. Genesis 22 and your devo hit different today, and they were a beautiful reminder of my Jehovah Jireh! Thank you. My husband, during one of the valleys of life, encouraged me, as you suggested, to write down all the times that God has been faithful to me and put them in this wooden box I have. I only hit the big ones as He truly provides every. day. It is a sweet reminder...just seeing the box of how faithful He was, is, and will be! And all this after learning He is the God who hears and El Roi, the God who sees in previous chapters. Such perfect timing!