Genesis 22

1 The Bible makes it clear that what is about to happen is a test of Abraham's faith. The test was not for God's sake, since He already knew what was going to happen. Instead, the test was for Abraham, Isaac, and everyone who would later hear about it. Those who read this story should be encouraged to obey God no matter how strange the command might sound at the time. Furthermore, if we are encouraged to obey God under unusual circumstances, we can be encouraged to obey God's commands for everyday living.
2 The pagans of the region practiced human sacrifice, but such sacrifices are detestable in God's eyes. This command, then, was strange indeed. This was an extreme test, but God knew that Isaac would live.

The word "love" here is used to show that Abraham cared very much for his son. This would be a great challenge for him to give up his son.

Ishmael was gone, and the fulfillment of the promise rested completely on Isaac. Again, the sacrifice of the promised son seemed contradictory to God's original purpose. In the end, we will see that it was not.

We do not know the exact location of the sacrifice. Tradition combined with 2 Chr 3:1 indicates that Solomon's temple was built on the location.

3 Abraham went right out without debating about it. God may not speak audibly to us, but He has given us His Word to tell us what to believe, and how we should act. We should obey rather than look for loopholes.

Splitting the wood must have been an emotional low for Abraham.

4 Abraham had three days to think about what he was going to do, but he did not falter.
5 Abraham's statement is a positive one indicating that he believed that he and Isaac would return together. Some might think that Abraham was being deceptive, and did not want to raise suspicion. However, one writer later confirms Abraham's confidence (Heb 11:19).
6 It is a picture of irony - the wood was on Isaac's back, but it would soon be Isaac with his back on the wood. This could be taken as a parallel of Jesus' carrying of the wood (cross) on His way to becoming the world's sacrifice (through crucifixion).
7 Now Isaac did not have a clue what was going on. He had undoubtedly witnessed many sacrifices and was confused because the sacrifice itself was "missing."
8 Abraham had no idea that God would provide a substitute (Heb 11:17-19). Thus, Abraham was thinking that Isaac was the "lamb" that God would provide. Interestingly enough, this response is actually a twofold prophecy. First, God would provide a substitute sacrifice for Isaac. Secondly, God would provide a substitute sacrifice for the world in Jesus, the "Lamb of God."

Abraham did not tell anyone about what God told him to do. Isaac would be the first to find out when Abraham placed him on the altar. Often it is wise to seek the counsel of others when faced with a difficult challenge. However, Abraham knew that God had spoken directly and clearly to him. He did not need to question God or seek the opinion of others who would certainly try to dissuade him from carrying out God's command.

9 Abraham was in a place he apparently had never been to perform a ritual he never dreamed of doing.

It is not recorded how Isaac reacted to this or how Abraham convinced him to allow himself to be bound. It is thought that Isaac was in his teens or early twenties. Thus, he figured out what was happening by the time he was bound and placed on the altar. No struggle or outcry is recorded, which may indicate that Isaac also had faith that God would fulfill His promise to make Isaac a great nation. Like Abraham, Isaac may have reasoned that God could raise him from the dead if he was killed here on the altar.

10 Abraham was almost at the point of no return. His full intention was to do what God had commanded.
11 Even in the midst of obedience, it is important to be open to God in the case that He might change plans for you and reveal something better. Often when doing a hard or unpleasant task we will focus on getting the job done quickly and not be aware of things around us.
12 God reveals that this has been a test of Abraham's obedience. Abraham was willing to give up everything. What are we willing to give up?

Isaac is referred to as Abraham's only son. Ishmael is not considered the true son for the purposes of God's blessing on Abraham.

13 God provided a fitting sacrifice for Himself. Sometimes God gives us things or talents simply so that we can give them back to Him (i.e., use them for His purposes). Other times He will ask us to risk everything, but then reward us beyond what we risked.

God provided a substitute for Isaac. This foreshadows the day when Jesus would become the substitute sacrifice for all who would believe in Him. As was mentioned before, human sacrifice was unacceptable to God, but God's Son would become the only acceptable sacrifice for all people because His spiritual and physical purity could not be equaled by any creature. Although Jesus' crucifixion would be a horrible sacrifice, it was the only way to save people from their sins.

14 Places were often given names based on significant events that happened there.
16 We often make promises based on greater things. God promises by Himself, since there is no greater thing for Him to swear by (Heb 6:13).

Abraham proved he would give up anything for God. This kind of faith and devotion is what God desires from people.

17 Abraham was to receive happiness and many victorious descendents.
18 Abraham's descendants would be blessed because of the blessings God gave him. One of Abraham's descendents would be the source of blessing for the whole world. Gal 3:8-9,16 explains that Jesus is the "seed" that gives blessings to the world.

Obedience brings about great reward.