Genesis 15-24 Abraham And Lot

One day God took Abraham outside his tent and told him, “Look up to heaven and number the stars, if thou canst. And he said to him: So shall thy seed be.” [Genesis 15:5]. At that time Abraham didn't even have one child. There are millions of stars in the sky. And it says that Abraham believed the Lord [verse 6]. The word “believed” there in the original Hebrew is 'aman' from which we get the English word 'Amen'. Which means 'I believe it will be so' So when God told Abraham that his seed would be like the stars of heaven, Abraham just said, “Amen, I believe it will be so.” That's it. And it was fulfilled. Today, the children if Abraham (physically and spiritually number in millions.


Faith means saying “Amen” when God has said something to you. Faith is always based on the word of God. “Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.” [Romans 10:17]


You can't have faith, if you don't listen to God.

Abraham heard God first. Then he said “Amen”.


Nowadays, many believers are found to say that they have faith for things about which God has said nothing. They say: “I have faith that God will give me a Mercedes-Benz car. And I believe it's going to be black in color”. That's not faith That is presumption. It is tempting God. Faith can be born only after hearing God speaking to us first. Only then can we say, “Amen. It shall be so.” If you remember this, you will be saved from presumption and from counterfeit faith”. Faith begins with God's promise and not with our desires. That which begins with our own desires will only lead to Babylon. What begins with God will lead to Jerusalem. Once God has spoken, we must keep on saying, “Amen” to it, all through our life, no matter how long God takes to fulfill His Word.


But in chapter 16, we read that Sarah was impatient. She suggested to Abraham to have children through Hagar, her handmaid [16:2] What did Abraham do then? Unfortunately he said, “Amen” to Sarah too. That caused a problem for Abraham's descendants that has now lasted for 4000 years.


What are we to learn from this incident? Just this that we must never say “Amen”, to man's word, when God has told us something else. God can solve any problem we have, without our having to adopt carnal methods. We don't need Sarah's advice. God is well able to do what He has promised.


Thus Ishmael was born [16:15]. Notice something here. When Ishmael was born, Abraham was 86 years old. The next verse carries on from when Abraham was 99 years old. [16:16 & 17:1]. What happened during those 13 years? The Lord was silent. The Lord appeared to Abraham again only when he was 99, after a silence of 13 years. It is as if the Lord was saying to him, “Did you say 'Amen' to Sarah's suggestions? Then you will have to learn a painful lesson. I won't speak to you for 13 years, until you learn to value My voice more than anyone else's” Yes, God is very strict. He teaches us some lessons in a very hard way at times-for otherwise the lesson won't sink in. 13 years is a long time to live without hearing God. But Abraham learnt his lesson by then and never and we do not see him ever consulting Sarah again-not even when he was told to sacrifice Isaac much later.


God did not give up on Abraham. He now told him, “Your name will no longer be called Abram (exalted father) but your name will be Abraham (father of the multitude). You won't just have that name; you will actually be the father of a multitude.” Abraham said, “Amen” once again-and within a year, he got a son-when things appeared hopeless. God gave him a son because he finally learned to say, “amen” to God alone. Abraham had learned his lesson.


God also told him at this time to circumcise every male member of his household. Circumcision under the old covenant was a a cutting off of the flesh. Under the new covenant, it symbolized “no confidence in the flesh. “ “For we are the circumcision, who in spirit serve God; and glory in Christ Jesus, not having confidence in the flesh.” [Philippians 3:3]. God was telling Abraham, “You must not depend on yourself. Trust in Me.”


We read a little it about Abraham's hospitality in Chapter 18. We're told in Hebrews 13:2 to be hospitable to strangers, “for by this some, being not aware of it, have entertained angels”. That is referring to Chapter 18. A godly man is always hospitable, warm and good-even to strangers.


Then in Chapter 18 and 19, we read of Lot getting into trouble again. The Lord told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for its sins. Again Abraham was concerned about Lot. Lot still hadn't learned a lesson. After being captured as an enemy, he went back to Sodom to make more money. But Abraham didn't judge Lot. As a godly man, he prayed for Lot to try and save his life. This is the first recorded intercession in the Bible and it is for the salvation of souls. Lot was saved as a result of Abraham's prayers. But his wife was left behind as a pillar of salt.


Lot's is a sad story. He lost his wife and both his sons-in-law, and all his property, in his pursuit for wealth. Finally he had to go as a pauper to the very place where God had told him to go in the first place! His daughters then committed incest with him and bore two sons-Ammon and Moab [19:37-28]. From them came the Ammonites and the Moabites who fought with Israel constantly.


In contrast to the way Lot brought up his children, we read the Lord Himself testifying concerning Abraham that Abraham would “command his children and his household after him ” [18:19]. God also said there that this was why He could fulfill all His promises for Abraham. God cannot do much for many people today, because they cannot control their children in their own home!


In Chapter 20, we see Abraham failing a second time in the same area of telling lies to a heathen king in order to save his life. He was even willing to allow his wife to go to bed with another man to save his own life. How weak a man he was-just like us. But God was good to Abraham and saved Sarah from being touched by Abimelech. It is interesting to see that God praises a heathen king for “the integrity of his heart” [20:6]. God told him that is was the integrity of his heart that made God stop him from committing adultery with Sarah. God will help any one who has integrity of heart today, in the same way as He helped that heathen king 40 centuries ago!


We see something wonderful in 20:17-21:2. We see Abraham praying here for many barren women in Abimelech's household, at a time when his own wife Sarah was barren.


It requires much largeness of heart to pray that others might get what we ourselves have not received from God.


But when Abraham prayed like that, not only did all those women receive children, barren Sarah also conceived and gave birth to Isaac. “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. ” [Proverbs 11:25]. When Job prayed for others, God blessed those others and Job as well [Job 42:10].


But Abraham had waited patiently for 25 years before he got what God had promised him. King Abimelech now heard of Isaac's birth and came to Abraham and told him, “God is with thee in all that thou dost.” [21:22]. When we are faithful to the Lord, the Lord will make even the heathen recognize that he is with us.


In Chapter 22 we read of the first time in the Bible that God testifies about a man saying, “Now I know that you fear Me.” that was when Abraham offered up Isaac. Abraham was about 125 years old at this time, and God tested him again. This time it was whether Abraham still loved God supremely, as at the beginning. God told him, “Sacrifice your son Isaac. I am not asking you to do it tomorrow morning. No. Do it on Mount Moriah-three days journey away.. take those three days to think about it.” god never asks us to do things in a hurry. Abraham walks for three days and counts the cost and lays Isaac on the altar, and says, “Lord here you are. I love You more then my dearest earthly possessions.”


That showed Abraham's dedication and Isaac's dedication too. Isaac, as a 25 year old young man was much stronger than 125 year old Abraham. Abraham would never have been able to tie Isaac on the altar if Isaac had not been willing. That shows how Abraham had taught his son to obey him. Blessed is the man who can bring up his children in such a way that even if he were to say to them. I am going to offer you to God now. Lie down here,” they will lie down and say, “Ok. Dad. Go ahead.”


Abraham called this an act of “worship” to God. [22:5]. This is the first time that the word worship is mentioned in scripture- and this is what true worship is. The father seeks for such worshipers even today.


God saw Abraham's devotion to Him and said, “now I know that thou fearest God ” [22:12]. The first time it is recorded in Scripture that a man feared God is when a man obeyed God totally saying, “God, I love you more than my dearest earthly possessions”. Abraham had left Ur 50 years earlier because he had loved God more than his own family. 50 years later his love for God had not waned even slightly. What an example to follow! Blessed are you if you can go this way all the days of your life.


God was was so delighted with Abraham's attitude here, that he commanded the temple to be built on this very spot 1000 years later. [2 Chronicles 3:1]. Yes, God's house is built even today by those who fear and worship God like Abraham did.



It was here on Mount Moriah that Abraham caught a glimpse of the heart of God Who would one day offer His Son as a sacrifice 200 years later. Jesus referred to this in John 8:56: “Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.”

Bishop Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrus from 393-466 AD said this, when commenting on the book of Hebrews: “Figuratively speaking, he did received him back, that is, by way of a symbol and type of the resurrection. Put to death by his father's zeal, he came back to life at the word of the one who prevented the slaughter. In him the type of the saving passion was also prefigured. Hence the Lord also said to the Jews, 'Your father Abraham rejoiced at the prospect of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.''

Lets see some of the comparisons between the "offering up" of Isaac in sacrifice found in Genesis 22:1-18 and the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ:

  • Both are promised-childs, miraculously conceived

In their respective accounts, both Jesus and Isaac are promised-childs, miraculously conceived gifts from God (neither mother was supposed to be able to give birth). This is relevant because few figures share this property, and it is central to both Jesus and Isaac.

    1. Verses on Jesus's being miraculously conceived:
      Luke 1:30-35

    2. Verses on Isaac's being a miraculously conceived:
      Genesis 18:9-10 , Genesis 21:1-4

    3. Aside from Isaac and Jesus, there are only six other miraculous births in the Bible, the others being Jacob & Esau, Samson, the Shunammite woman‘s son (2 Kings 4), Samuel, and John the Baptist.

  • Both are called their father's special “only son”

In both stories, Jesus and Isaac are explicitly identified as their father's special “one and only son.” This is relevant because few father-son relationships are described this way in the Biblical texts, and yet this unique specialness of the son to their father is central to both the story of Isaac and Jesus.

    1. Verses on Jesus being God's “only son”:
      John 3:16
      Romans 8:32
      Romans 5:10
      1 John 4:9-10

    2. Verses on Isaac being Abraham's “only son”:
      Genesis 22:2, 12

  • Both are to be sacrificed by their loving father

In their respective accounts, both Jesus and Isaac were to be sacrificed by their father. This is relevant because few figures in story or history share this property, and yet it is a defining feature of Isaac and Jesus.

    1. Verses on Jesus being sacrificed by his loving Father.
      1 John 4:9-10
      John 3:16
      Romans 8:32

    1. Verses on Isaac being sacrificed by his loving Father.
      Genesis 22:2

  • Both are to be sacrificed in the same place (Moriah)

In their respective accounts, Jesus and Isaac were to be sacrificed in the same location (hills of Moriah). This is relevant because no other Biblical figures share this property, and God commanded Abraham to travel about 50 miles to sacrifice Isaac at just this location, without ever offering an explanation. (It is as if God expected something special to happen there later?)

    1. Verses on Jesus being crucified in the location of Moriah:
      John 19:17 (cf. Mk 15:22, Mt 27:33, Lk 23:33) This is relevant because this hill (Golgotha) was a hill of Moriah. We know this because the hill Golgotha and the Temple (in Jerusalem) were 300 meters apart, with the latter being built on a hill in Moriah (called Mt. Moriah), and the former also being a hill in Moriah (part of the same range).
      2 Chronicles 3:1

    1. Verses on Isaac being Abraham's “only son”:
      Genesis 22:2

  • Both are to be a sacrificial lamb to God (on wood)

In their respective accounts, both Jesus and Isaac were to be sacrificial lambs to God.

    1. We know Jesus was meant to be a sacrificial lamb for two reasons:
      • Jesus was crucified during passover, which is when Jews were to sacrifice their unblemished lamb.
      • Texts report it explicitly:

      John 1:29,36
      1 Peter 1:18
    2. We know Isaac was meant to be a sacrificial lamb because of context:

      ◦ Genesis 22:1,7-8
  • Both carry their own wood up on their back to die on

In their respective accounts, both Jesus and Isaac were ironically expected to carry the very wood up the hill that they were to be sacrificed on. This is relevant because no other Biblical figures share this property, and it is one of the few details given on the story of Isaac's being sacrificed, while also prominently featuring in the account of Jesus's death.

    1. Genesis 22:6

    2. We know this because:
      • Victims of crucifixion in general were expected to carry their cross as far as possible.
      • It is reported explicitly in John 19:16-17

  • Both voluntarily submitted to their being sacrificed

In their respective accounts, both Jesus and Isaac (much stronger than Abraham) submitted to their father's will to be sacrificed, without resisting. This is relevant because it is hardly expected in such a case, and yet is an essential and unique characteristic of how Jesus and Isaac went to die.

    1. We know Jesus did not resist for two reasons.
      • The reports of Jesus' death are numerous and details, and yet there is no indication that he tried resisting.
      • Quite the contrary, the reports consistently identify him as not resisting (not in his arrest [Mt 26:50] or in his trial either).
      Acts 8:32, 35
      Mt 26:50

    1. Isaac was perfectly capable of fighting back (he was the one who carried all the wood up on his back).

  • Both narratives conclude: God will provide

In both the story of Jesus and Isaac, the account ends with the message that “God will provide,” specifically he will provide sacrificial replacement so his loved ones do not. This is relevant because, while the analogue to Jesus shifts from Isaac to the ram, this was necessary to incorporate the final element: the substitionary sacrifice. The text emphasizes the ram was killed “in the place of his son.” The text really seemed to want to highlight this feature, saying they sacrificed the ram "in Isaac's place"; the story needed to say that.

    1. In the case for Jesus, he is sacrificed and dies for our sins. Romans 3:25

    2. Genesis 22:12-14

  • Both fathers anticipated their son's resurrection

In both stories, Jesus and Isaac were expected by their fathers to be resurrected by God.

    1. Jesus's father in this case is God, who being omniscient knew. Several texts also testify to God's awareness.

    2. There are three reasons to think Abraham believed this of Isaac:
      • Abraham did not object, and Isaac did not worry or resist.
      • Abraham expected them both to return.

      Genesis 22:5

      • The whole situation was a test of Abraham's faith in God's promise just before:

      Genesis 21:21 , Genesis 17:9

      In other words, insofar as Abraham believed both…
      • …that he would kill Isaac
      • …that Isaac would live on to have children and continue Abraham's line,
      Abraham obviously had to believe would raise Isaac from death. This was noticed by Jews long before.

      Hebrews 11:17-19