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Pastor Zach Terry is driven by a desire help people achieve their maximum life through Jesus Christ. He is known for his ability to teach complex ideas in simple terms with practical implications for daily life.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary selected him as the recipient of the Westminster John Knox Press Award for excellence in preaching and teaching the Christian scriptures. In 2016 he was honored as one of the Connect Faith’s, “Agents of Change“.


Sep 25, 2018

TEXT: Genesis 21:1–7 (ESV)

1 The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”


  • In verses 8-21 we see a divorce take place between Abraham and Hagar (the slave woman that Abraham had married and conceived the child Ishmael with). Abraham divorces Hagar as well as Ishmael. They are sent out of his life entirely.
  • In 22-34 we see a treaty had been struck at Beersheba with Abimelech the Philistine King. Abraham, Sarah, and now Isaac were enjoying a time of peace.
  • The last thing we see in Chapter 21 was Abraham planting a tree a sign that he planned to put down roots. Abraham calls upon the Lord as El Olam – the Everlasting God.


Genesis 22:1 (ESV)

1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”


I am very thankful that the Holy Spirit saw fit to give us a clue that this was a, “test” so we could read what follows with that in mind. Abraham however had no such heads up.


Genesis 22:2 (ESV)

2 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.”


Notice how God demonstrated the significance of this command - 


  • Take your son - This was Abraham’s son, if God has given you a child you know it is a special thing. For a dad, there is always something unique when the Doctor says, “it’s a boy”.

    To be honest, girls freak us out a little bit. We aren’t sure what to do with girls. But a boy - we’ve been down that road before.

    For Abraham the birth of his son was all of that and more - this was the child he should not have been able to have. Sarah was well past child bearing years.

    Beyond this Isaac was the conduit of the promise - he was the next step in God’s promise, God’s covenant to bless the entire Earth.
  • Your only son - Was this Abraham’s only son? Well there was Ishmael, but practically speaking yes. Ishmael had been sent away. Abraham had only one son left – Isaac. The promise would happen through Isaac or it would not happen at all.

    Not only that - the first born son was subject to the ironclad law of PRIMOGENITOR. You see in the ancient world inheritance wasn’t divided equally between all the children. But the firstborn son would receive everything.

    So in a very real sense in offering Isaac God was calling Abraham to lay everything he had, or ever hoped to be, every hope, every dream, all of his possessions on the alter.
  • Whom you love – Don’t think for a minute that Abrahams journey of faith had been a series of theological equations. God is acknowledging that Abraham would FEEL this deeply.

    ILLUSTRATION: I was traveling back to AL for a funeral this week. At one point on the journey I heard a song that my son Cole plays on guitar. That simple music reminded me of how much love my son, how proud I am of him… I don’t expect Abraham love Isaac any less.

    No doubt, his knees buckled, his stomach twisted into a knot.  For a brief moment despair, doubt, disillusionment, disappointment flooded his soul.

    This is the son that he LOVED!

Genesis 22:2b (ESV)

2…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.”


The word Moriah literally means "foreseen by God."  It is not coincidental that God wanted this event to occur on Mt. Moriah.  In the mind of God this was a sacred spot.  There was no other place any place like this place.  Why did it have to be this place?

  • Out of all of the galaxies God choose the milky way. 
  • Our of all the solar systems God choose our’s. 
  • Then he laid his finger on a little blue planet called earth. 
  • Out of all of the expanses of land on planet earth, God choose the sands of Canaan. 
  • And out of all of the mountains that sprung out of the land of Canaan God choose one Mountain called Moriah. It is on this mountain that redemption would occur.

Because there on the Mountains of Moriah - there was one particular place called, Golgatha, the place of the skull… upon a hill called Calvary.


Genesis 22:2–3 (ESV)

2 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.” 3 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.

Gordon Wenham calls us to notice order of action—first saddling his donkey and then cutting wood – the progression is illogical which indicates that Abraham was quite disoriented.

Was it because he was about to have to sacrifice Isaac??? Yes, but more than that.

You see God’s COMMAND was in direct contradiction to God’s COVENANT. 

Isaac was the child through which God promised to carry out the covenant promise. Now God is saying, “Sacrifice him as a burnt offering”. How could Abraham make sense of this seemingly impossible situation.


  • God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to him. That would require Abraham cutting the throat of Isaac, draining his blood, cutting off his arms and legs, then burning his body completely.

Somehow or another God was going to have to put this boy back again. Some how God was going to have to reinstate that spilt blood. Somehow God would have to breath again the breath of life. The promise of God demanded that Isaac have a child. That had not occurred. Abraham was believing God for the unbelievable – a resurrection. We get some hint of that in verse 4 and 5…


Genesis 22:4–5 (ESV)

4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”


You say Pastor that’s quite a stretch that Abraham would assume that God intended to raise Isaac– No not at all - Hebrews 11:17–19 (NAS) 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. 


Friend the ONLY reason Abraham was able to obey God in this command was because Abraham KNEW that God HAD to be true to His word. DO YOU REMEMBER THE COVENANT? The Shikina Glory of God passed through the torn pieces of the animals. If God didn’t keep His promise - God called down a curse upon Himself. 


The death of Isaac could NOT be the end… Abraham believed that deeply. 

Genesis 22:6–8 (ESV)

6 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.


Isaac would be required to carry wood up Mt. Moriah, the very wood that was designed to claim his life. It would be thousands of years later before another Son would carry the deadly wood up the mountain… 


Church do you see the analogy that Isaac is portraying? The loving father giving His only begotten son as a sacrifice. 


 7 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?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.


Now I don’t know if Abraham really believed that or if he was trying to convince Isaac to go along. We are told Abraham expected resurrection. Either way - what a prophetic word that was! 


God will provide HIMSELF a LAMB. Dear church:


  • We don’t serve a God that demands your son’s to die… we serve a God that provides HIMSELF a lamb. 
  • We don’t serve a God that call your good to outweigh your bad so that he is appeased… we serve a God that provides HIMSELF a lamb.
  • We don’t serve a God who calls you to EARN his good favor… we serve a God that provides HIMSELF a lamb.


Genesis 22:9–14 (ESV)

9 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.”


The Hebrew word for fear means an “Awe, reverence” it carries the idea of wonder, amazement, astonishment… it’s very similar to our word for ultimate love. He is saying Abraham - you have passed the test. You have proved that I’m the absolute most important thing in your life. 


 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.


Do you see it? This Ram wore upon his head a crown of thorns pointing to another who would bear a thorny crown.

Up until this point Isaac has been the type pointing to Christ, but the analogy could go no further. For you see Isaac also needed a redeemer, there must be a substitute also for Isaac. 

ULTIMATELY - the mind of God wasn’t fixed on Abraham, it wasn’t fixed on Isaac, it wasn’t fixed on the ram caught in the thorns…look at verse 14 - 


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.”

You see the word Moriah literally means "foreseen by God.” 


God could look into the future and see another Son, carrying the wood up the mountain, another Father prepared to slaughter His son…. Other thorns upon another head…. But this time, no angel stepped in. 


ILLUSTRATION: Years  ago I read about a preacher who was backing out -of his driveway.  His little boy loved to play hide and seek with his daddy.  And this preacher's little boy jumped out from behind the bushes and said, "Boo,  Daddy." But Daddy didn't hear him because he was behind the auto- mobile.  This preacher heard that sickening thud as he backed out over and crushed the body of his little boy. And he picked up that crushed little body.  The life had already gone from the little youngster.  And he was  so broken-hearted.  Later on, he told a preacher friend about it.  And the preacher's friend's name was Bob. And this older preacher told the younger preacher with the tears streaming down his cheeks, he said concerning the death of his son, "Bob, I wouldn't have done it for the world.  I wouldn't have done  it for the world. But God did for the world, for the world.    For God so loved the world, that He gave, He gave He gave His only begotten Son for the world.  


Friend - if you are to find the power to take your dreams and sacrifice them to God’s glory….


You will have to look to a God who didn’t stop the knife. 


  • God looked at Abraham who almost sacrificed his son and said, “Now I know how much you love me”. 


  • We look at God who DID Sacrifice His Son and say, “Now I know, how much you Love me”.