What Key Ingredient Is Missing?

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were preparing a meal for our extended family at his mother’s home.

The menu included a vegetable tray with hummus, butternut squash lasagna, steamed broccoli, and a dessert munchies platter.

This was the first time we attempted the butternut squash lasagna.

We used the vegetable tray with hummus as an appetizer as we started steaming the broccoli.

Everything was going as planned.

Delightful conversation and enjoyable food for all.

When we opened the oven, we realized we had neglected a key ingredient.

What key ingredient was missing?


And you thought I was going to say butternut squash!

No, it was not the oven’s fault.

It was our error. 

We had misunderstood the controls on the oven.

After we recovered from laughing, we served the steamed broccoli, followed by a dessert tray and then butternut lasagna as the last course.

  • What does this missing key ingredient story have to do with Bible Study?

Read the following Scripture:

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, 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. (Gen 22:7-8 ESV)

This is the first time Isaac speaks.

His first words are “My father!”

  • Put yourself in Abraham’s heart after hearing his son Isaac speak these words of endearment and acknowledgment.
  • What emotions would Abraham experience, knowing that God had instructed him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering?

Abraham responds to Isaac as he had to God back in Gen 22:1.

Adding, “my son.”

Both Isaac and Abraham are acknowledging their parent-child connection.

Abraham is also communicating his willing availability to Isaac, just as he had responded to God’s call.

Having confirmed the bond between them, Isaac asks about the missing key ingredient for their time of worship together.

  • What do we learn about Isaac from his question?

First, Isaac waited to speak to Abraham until they were alone.

  • Why do you think he waited?
  • Did he wait to avoid embarrassing his father in front of the servants for forgetting the key ingredient for a burnt offering?

What other reasons might Isaac have waited to inquire about the missing ingredient?

Second, Isaac knew that a lamb was the usual subject for a burnt offering.

This means Isaac had taken part in burnt offerings with his father Abraham prior to this one.

We also know that Isaac is carrying the wood from Gen 22:6 and that it is enough for a burnt offering from Gen 22:3. 

  • How much wood is needed for a burnt offering?
  • Whatever the amount is, Isaac is strong enough to carry it at whatever age he is at this point.
  • How does Abraham respond to Isaac?

Abraham states God will provide the missing key ingredient for the burnt offering.

  • What tone of voice do you think Abraham had when he responded to Isaac?
  • Do you think his tone of voice revealed anything troubling to Isaac?
  • How hard must it be for Abraham?
  • How is Abraham preparing Isaac for what God has instructed?
  • Why didn’t Abraham share that Isaac was the lamb?

Scripture reports no further discussion between Abraham and Isaac at this point.

They continue toward the designated place that God had directed Abraham.

This implies that Isaac accepted Abraham’s response to his question.

  • What does this show about Isaac’s trust in Abraham?
  • What does it show about Isaac’s faith in God?

Personal Reflection Questions

  • When did God ask you to do something that wasn’t normal?
  • Why does God test us?
  • Are you living by what God is saying to you?
  • How do you let the Spirit set the direction for your life?
  • Do you have someone who helps you recognize God’s voice in your life?
  • Do you have someone you are helping to recognize God’s voice in their life?
  • Why is it important to have fellow believers help each other recognize God’s voice in our lives?
  • What questions do you have?

Consider the words of Paul:

For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. (1Co 4:15-16 ESV)

Consider the words in Hebrews:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. (Heb 11:17-19 ESV)

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Heb 13:7 ESV)

  • Who in your life is an example of imitating Abraham in their faith?
  • What can you do today to thank them for their powerful witness of faith?

A prayer for you today:

I encourage you to listen to the Lord’s voice to foster a deep union with His Spirit above all others, imitating Abraham. With Isaac’s trust, may you accept the Lord’s responses to you when you recognize a key ingredient is missing in your life. As you continue to study scripture and apply it to your daily journey, may you also encourage those around you in the love of our Lord and Christ through the power of the Spirit. 


Barbara Lynn


One Reply to “What Key Ingredient Is Missing?”

  1. Good one I enjoy your thoughts ! No never did that one though have left out other ingredients when baking.

    Yes often wondered how Abraham and Issiac might have been feeling and what they might have been thinking in this strange and awkward life event. Sometimes in our lives we are clueless as to what God’s plan in in our lives Too.. and we too must learn to trust God.

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