Why are we drawn to gather around firepits?

Firepits may be used to cook a meal, keep one warm, and to generate light at night.

Fellowship with others often occurs around firepits.

My husband and I find time spent around a firepit to be enjoyable whether it is just the two of us, a few friends, or even a larger group at a camping event.

But sometimes a firepit is used to burn up something.

  • What does this talk of firepits have to do with Bible study?

Today’s verse:

ESV  Genesis 22:2 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.”

  • Say what?

We need to back up for a moment to set the context of this verse:

ESV  Genesis 22:1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.”

 The “He” in Genesis 22:2 is God instructing Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering.

We learn the purpose for this bizarre instruction is that God is testing Abraham.

  • What things had happened prior to God deciding Abraham (and by inclusion, Isaac) needed testing?

Review the following highlights:

The Call of Abram:

ESV  Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD saidto Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Consider the same three-fold statement from generic to intimate: your country, your kindred, your father’s house in Gen 12:1 compared with your son, your only son, Isaac in Gen 22:2.

  • Why do you think God used the same pattern in both situations?
  • How has God called you from a generic relationship with Him to a more specifically intimate one over time?

God’s Covenant with Abram:

ESV  Genesis 15:2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continuechildless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”

ESV  Genesis 15:4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own sonshall be your heir.”

God had promised that Abraham would have his own son from his own body.

The Birth of Ishmael:

ESV  Genesis 16:15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant of Abram’s wife Sarai.

Sarai had suggested Abram take Hagar as a wife to bear a child since Sarai had remained barren up to this point.

This was considered a normal cultural practice of their day.

Yet God had other plans:

ESV  Genesis 17:15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarahshall be her name.

ESV  Genesis 17:16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will giveyou a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

Abraham expressed concern for Ishmael:

ESV  Genesis 17:18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”

God remained firm regarding Isaac:

ESV  Genesis 17:19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.

God also provided a future for Ismael:

ESV  Genesis 17:20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

Sarah demands Ishmael and his mother Hagar be cast out:

ESV  Genesis 21:9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.

ESV  Genesis 21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”

Abraham is upset by this demand:

ESV  Genesis 21:11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.

Yet, God agrees with Sarah’s demand:

ESV  Genesis 21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.

Abraham complies with God and Sarah:

ESV  Genesis 21:14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Abraham regularly seeks God:

ESV  Genesis 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.

After all these things, God determines to test Abraham by asking for Isaac to be offered up as a burnt offering.

God had made it clear to Abraham that Isaac was the promised heir.

  • What does God want from Abraham by asking for Isaac to be offered as a burnt offering?
    • A sacrifice
    • Absolute obedience
    • Complete trust
    • To be loved above all else
    • Faithfulness
    • other
  • How does the phrase, “your only son…whom you love” remind you of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

ESV  1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

  • When have you been tested by God?
  • Or are you currently being tested by God?
  • Why is testing important in our lives, especially in our faith?
  • What are you willing to share in response to today’s study?

Come back next week as we continue in this passage.

I encourage you to spend some time in the week ahead around a firepit or lit candle watching the flickering flames while contemplating God’s request of Abraham in Genesis 22:2.


Barbara Lynn


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