Despite hurricane Nate’s attempts to stop us, we went ahead with Cornerstone Youth this week! Sunday night we had the privilege of learning about Abraham’s son, Isaac. Isaac’s life is very similar to that of his father. However, in Isaac’s story we don’t see any major crises of faith or tests like Abraham did. Therefore, when we think of Isaac, we usually think of him in relation to Abraham, or his sons Esau and Jacob.
As I prepared to teach about Isaac I quickly realized there aren’t many notable stories from Isaac’s life. His wife Rebekah struggles with being barren much like his mother, but Isaac prays to the Lord and she gives birth to twins. He deals with famine and moving and all the things his father dealt with, but the Word of God never tells us Isaac ever questions God’s promise in all these things. As I sifted through these stories I came back to the first story we read about Isaac. We all know the story I’m speaking of – the one where Abraham is told to sacrifice his only son. Instead of looking at this story simply from Abraham’s perspective, we took some time to think about what Isaac learned from this experience.
The Bible does not tell us the exact age of Isaac when Abraham was told to sacrifice him. However, we know Isaac is old enough to have experienced sacrifices before since he asks his father where the lamb for the burnt offering was. Most Biblical scholars believe that Isaac was actually older than we usually assume when this took place. Why is his age important? At some point in this story the realization that his father was sacrificing HIM would have set in for Isaac. In verse 9 we read “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.” So it doesn’t say Isaac knew what Abraham was doing, but it’s safe to assume he probably had an idea. We can also assume that he had the ability to disobey his father if he wished. He could have said no to being bound and placed on the altar. However, Isaac was obedient to his father, just as Abraham was being obedient to THE Father. Isaac’s faith was influenced by the faith of his father, and that showed throughout his life.
Abraham’s faith wasn’t always perfect. He had doubts and struggles. But, in this story Abraham is a man exemplifying perfect faith. He is doing exactly what the Lord is telling him to do. We don’t get to know how much Isaac learned from this experience but it’s safe to assume it had an effect on his life. He followed the Lord faithfully like his father before him. In the end, God provided for both Isaac and Abraham throughout their lives. It didn’t always look the way they thought it would, but they both stood on the promises of God and their faith was counted to them as righteousness.
Here are the some talking points for your students from this story.
- How have you seen God provide in your life recently?
- How do you think Abraham’s faith influenced his son, Isaac?
- Why didn’t Isaac run away when he realized what his father was asking of him? (assuming he realized)
- Compare Abraham and Isaac to God and Jesus. What does the story of Abraham and Isaac tell us about them?
This isn’t our normal rhythm, but here is a question for parents to think about.
Am I living out my faith with the understanding that my faithfulness will influence my student’s faithfulness?
Abraham and Isaac’s story is a heavy one. There are so many ways we can all be challenged by this story and encouraged by this story. Take a moment to both encourage your student and challenge them, and let us know if you have any questions!