Online Adult Sunday School. Adult Sunday School. “Beginnings: A Study of the Call of God in Genesis” using Kerygma’s study guide.

 

Read Genesis 22. After these things God tested Abraham. He 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 that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill 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, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide” as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
 

Questions

  1. What do you make of this story?
  2.  What do you make of God’s actions?
  3. What do you make of this type of test by God? 
  4. What should Abraham have done? What would you do? Would you think that God was the source of such a test or temptation.
  5. Theologian Walter Breuggemann says God tests in sovereignty and provides in graciousness. What is your response?
  6. When Abraham says “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” what do you make of that?
  7.  For God testing, see Deuteronomy 8, 11-16, Psalm 17, 3, 1 Peter 1, 3. Also see Job 1 and 2,  Luke 4. 1-13 and Matthew 6, 13. For God providing see Exodus 16, Psalms 104 and 145, Matthew 6 and Mark 6.
  8. The Angel (God?) says “I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” Why does God need to know this? What if Abraham argued or refused? Is this part of the covenant relationship? Does it lead to the good things that follow? Must we be like Abraham?
  9. Did Abraham’s faith case him to obey and trust that God would somehow provide?
  10. Child sacrifice is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament, concerning the Gods of Israel’s neighbors but also people of Israel much later than Abraham. Exodus 22:39; Judges 11:30-40, 1 Kings 16, 34; Micah 6,7. Did Biblical authors come to understand that God did not want children sacrificed? Are there evils in our society that we should understand that God wants us to stop?
  11.  This story has troubled many and resonates in our culture, in the novel/film Sophie’s Choice, Bob Dylan’s song “Highway 61 Revisited,” Kierkegaard’s – Fear and Trembling, and Britten’s War Requiem
  12. How does this story resonate in these Christian stories?
    1. The temptation of Christ
    2. The crucifixion (“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?)
    3. The resurrection. See Hebrews 11, 17-19.
    4. Mark 8, 35.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.