God 'TESTS' us to CONFIRM our COMMITMENT to HIM: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Take now 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." (Gen 22:1-2)
This is the seventh time that God revealed Himself to Abraham since Abraham came to the land of Canaan. In this instance God tested Abraham in order to give Abraham an opportunity to show his true character and confirm his commitment to God. This incident also reveals remarkable faith both on the part of Abraham and Isaac, and evidently points to the future sacrifice of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ for us.
Isaac was the only ‘true’ son of covenant promise (17:1) born to Abraham and Sarah bringing ‘laughter’ to them in their old age (21:12). Thus, God’s requirement of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was the supreme test that would demonstrate both Abraham’s reverence for God and his confidence in God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant promise. The writer of Hebrews reveals to us that Abraham prepared to offer up his beloved Isaac being fully convinced that God would raise Isaac from death itself (Heb. 11:19). However, God made a timely intervention and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac (22:12-14).
This is a dramatic foreshadowing of God’s offering His only begotten Son to die in our place (John 3:16). The place where Abraham travelled for three days to sacrifice Isaac – Moriah - is the mountain range where Jerusalem is situated (2 Chron. 3:1), and also where Calvary stood. The two words ‘love’ (v. 2) and ‘worship’ (v. 5) are first found here in Scriptures. Abraham’s love for his son is a picture of God’s love for His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Isaac is a picture of the greatest act of worship—the Savior’s self-sacrifice to accomplish His Father’s will. God provided a ram (22:13) in place of Isaac also illustrates Jesus dying in our place.
We should be clear that God does not tempt anyone with evil (James 1:13); but He tests us to prove our faith, loyalty and commitment to Him (James 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:6, 7). This episode in Abraham’s life was a test of his faith (if Abraham really trusted God over everything), this was a test of his hope (if Abraham had hope in God alone for providence), and this was a test of his love (if Abraham loved God more than his beloved son). If we will believe and obey God like Abraham, He will reward our faith as well with His goodness and righteousness!