And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.…
I. THE TRIAL ITSELF. Every syllable of the text is significant. If George Herbert were speaking of it, he would say the words are all a case of knives cutting at Abraham's soul. There is scarce a single syllable of God's address to him, in the opening of this trial, but seems intended to pierce the patriarch to the quick. Look. "Take now thy son." What! a father slay his son! Was there nothing in Abraham's tent that God would have but his son?
II. THE PATRIARCH UNDER THE TRIAL. In Abraham's bearing during this test everything is delightful. His obedience is a picture of all the virtues in one, blended in marvellous harmony. It is not so much in one point that the great patriarch excels as in the whole of his sacred deed.
1. First notice the submission of Abraham under this temptation.
2. Abraham's prudence. Prudence may be a great virtue, but often becomes one of the meanest and most beggarly of vices. Prudence rightly considered is a notable handmaid to faith; and the prudence of Abraham was seen in this, that he did not consult Sarah as to what he was about to do.
3. Abraham's alacrity. He rose up early in the morning.
4. Abraham's forethought. He did not desire to break down in his deeds. Having cleft the wood, he took with him the fire, and everything else necessary to consummate the work. Some people take no forethought about serving God, and then, if a little hitch occurs, they cry out that it is a providential circumstance, and make an excuse of it for escaping the unpleasant task. Oh, how easy it is when you do not want to involve yourselves in trouble, to think that you see some reason for not doing so!
5. Abraham's perseverance. He continues three days in his journey, journeying towards the place where he was as much to sacrifice himself as to sacrifice his child.
III. THE BLESSING WHICH CAME TO ABRAHAM THROUGH THE TRIAL OF HIS FAITH. The blessing was sevenfold.
1. The trial was withdrawn; Isaac was unharmed.
2. Abraham had the expressed approval of God. "Now I know that thou fearest God."
3. Abraham next had a clearer view of Christ than ever he had before — no small reward. "Abraham saw My day," said Christ. "He saw it and was glad."
4. More than that, to Abraham God's name was more fully revealed that day. He called Him Jehovah-jireh, a step in advance of anything that he had known before. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine."
5. To Abraham that day the covenant was confirmed by oath. The Lord swore by Himself.
6. Then it was that Abraham had also a fuller promise with regard to the seed.
7. God pronounced over Abraham's head a blessing, the like of which had never been given to man before; and what if I say that to no single individual in the whole lapse of time has there ever been given, distinctly and personally, such a blessing as was given to Abraham that day! First in trial, he is also first in blessing; first in faithfulness to his God, he becomes first in the sweet rewards which faithfulness is sure to obtain.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.