Introduction: If you were God, what would you do when humans rejected
you? Two weeks ago we studied how it was that Adam and Eve sinned and
plunged us all into a terrible situation. Last week we looked at what
God planned to do to throw a life-line to humans. This week we
progress to God’s announcement to humans of His great plan for
disaster relief. How difficult a decision was this for God? Why
would God announce in advance what He had in mind? Why not leave His
options open? What does this show us (again) about the character of
God? Let’s dive into our study and learn more!

  1. The Promise

    1. We pick up the story just after Adam and Eve sinned. Let’s
      read Genesis 3:8. Why did Adam and Eve hide? (It shows a
      guilty conscience. They now understood evil.)

    2. Read Genesis 3:9-10. Is this an honest answer? (No. First,
      Genesis 3:7 tells us that they were not actually naked.
      Second, they hid because of their guilt.)

    3. Read Genesis 3:11-12. What do you think about this
      confession? What would you think if you were God? (Adam
      blames both God and Eve for his sin!)

    4. Read Genesis 3:13. What do you think about Eve’s
      confession? (It is better than Adam’s. She is also
      blaming something else (the serpent) and thus may be
      indirectly blaming God. But, she says she was deceived
      and admits the deed.)

    5. Step back a minute and put yourself in God’s place. Eve
      had previously decided that Satan was right – that God had
      lied to her and that God was not trustworthy. With that
      background, how should God react to the conversation we
      just studied? (If I were God I would be livid. My creation
      believed Me to be a liar. When I confront them, they
      continue to lie (at least Adam) and even blame Me for
      their sin!)

      1. Would you feel like dying a painful death for them?
        Giving up your Son for them? Or, would a quick zap –
        so that they evaporated – seem to be the right thing
        to do? You had, after all, warned them.

    6. Read Genesis 3:14-15. What promise does God make about the
      “offspring” of the woman? (This is a promise of the
      incarnation: Jesus coming from heaven to be born of a
      woman (Mary). Jesus would defeat Satan (“crush your
      head”)and Satan would inflict pain on Jesus (“strike His

  2. Feeling God’s Pain

    1. Read Genesis 22:1-2. Put yourself in Abraham’s place. God
      just told you to kill and then burn your son. What reasons
      would you have to disobey this command from God?

      1. Notice how God describes Isaac in these verses. Is
        this supposed to increase the odds that Abraham will
        obey? (God emphasizes that this is (now) Abraham’s
        “only son” whom he “loves.” Talk about making things

      2. Read Leviticus 20:1-2 and Jeremiah 32:35. What is
        God’s view of sacrificing children?

        1. Why would God instruct Abraham to do just the
          opposite of His character? Something He said
          would “never enter [His] mind?”

      3. Read Genesis 21:12. What had God said would be the
        future of Isaac?

        1. What would this text trigger in your mind if you
          were Abraham? (That God had sent off my first-born son (Ishmael) when he was a teen. I didn’t
          want that. I didn’t expect that. It broke my
          heart. And, God sending Ishmael away seemed
          contrary to the promise God made to me in
          Genesis 17:20. Is God now breaking His promise
          to me again? Depriving me of my only remaining
          son when he is very young?)

      4. Abraham is 120 years old, he is rich and he is
        honored. His son is about to take charge of his
        fortune. Everything was going as planned. Could God
        really mean this now?

    2. Read Genesis 22:3-5. Do you think Abraham told Sarah
      before he left?

      1. What would he say when he returned and had killed her
        only son?

      2. Why does Abraham do this right away?

      3. How would you like a three day journey just to think
        about sacrificing your only, beloved, son?

      4. Why does Abraham tell his servants that “we will come
        back to you?”

    3. Read Genesis 22:6-8. Do you think that Abraham believes
      what he told Isaac? Or, is Abraham lying to give comfort
      to his son? (Read Genesis 18:14. I feel confident that a
      terrible struggle took place in Abraham’s mind. Bottom
      line, I think Abraham just decided that God would work
      things out – nothing was too hard for God.)

    4. Read Genesis 22:9-10. At some point Abraham has to tell
      Isaac about God’s instructions. What can we believe was
      Isaac’s reaction? (He obviously agreed to this. He could
      have overpowered dad. He believed that his father knew the
      voice of God and he shared the faith of his father.)

      1. Had Abraham committed to do the terrible deed that
        violated all logic except the logic of obedience to
        God? (Yes. Unbelievable!)

      2. Was there any shred of logic to this? Was it pure
        trust in God? (Read Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham had
        worked out the logic of reconciling the promises of
        God with this current command.)

    5. Read Genesis 22:11-12. Abraham passes the most intense
      test of faith. Where Adam and Eve failed, Abraham proved
      to be faithful (with a much more terrible test). Why would
      God give Abraham such a terrible test? Why would God have
      this test recorded in the Bible? This is a test that could
      give some people the wrong idea. (I think God wanted
      humans to understand what (at that point in time) God had
      promised to do for us. He wanted us to understand the
      extraordinary nature of His promise of giving up His Son
      for us.)

    6. Read Genesis 22:13-14. Remember when I asked you whether
      Abraham was telling the truth to Isaac in Genesis 22:8
      when he said “the Lord will provide?” Did God provide?

      1. How does the ram compare to Jesus? (Just as this ram
        took the place of Isaac, and spared his life, so
        Jesus takes the place of our children, our parents
        and ourselves, and spares us from eternal death.)

    7. We don’t have any record about the details of how God the
      Father and God the Son (Jesus) agreed upon the plan that
      Jesus would die for our sins. How many of those details do
      you think the Abraham and Isaac story supply?

      1. What does Abraham’s story teach us about our heavenly
        Father who had no one(but Himself or Jesus)to stay
        His hand when His Son, Jesus, died in our place?

      2. Read Isaiah 52:14-15. This is a prophecy that points
        to the torture Jesus suffered. Imagine that Abraham
        had to watch Isaac being tortured before he was
        killed? Do you think Abraham would have passed that

  3. Walking in God’s Path

    1. What does this story of Abraham and Isaac teach us about
      the importance of works in our salvation by faith? What if
      Abraham had refused to do this? Failed this test? (Compare
      James 2:20-22 with Romans 4:1-3.)

    2. Read Exodus 32:31-32. This is a conversation between God
      and Moses after the people had created a golden calf and
      started worshiping it. What kind of attitude does Moses
      reflect? (He reflects the attitude of Jesus. He offers
      his life for theirs.)

    3. Read Exodus 32:33-34. Is it possible for one human to
      atone for another? (No. Not even a great man like Moses.
      Jesus is fully God and fully human. Only He could die for
      our sins.)

      1. How do we walk in the path of Jesus and Moses if we
        cannot atone for the sins of others? (We can show
        them self-sacrificing love. Our faith in what God has
        done for us should be reflected in our self-sacrificing love for others.)

    4. Friend, our salvation was planned before the Creation of
      the world. God announced His plan immediately after humans
      sinned. God plainly set out for us the emotions of His
      plan in the account of Abraham and Isaac. Can you have any
      doubt that Jesus is the Messiah? Can you have any doubt
      about God’s amazing love for you? How He loves you! Why
      not pledge your life to Him today?

  4. Next week: Atonement in Symbols: Part 1.