Sabbath School Lesson for May 14-20, 2022

Overview of Lesson 8

Abraham’s final years are described in this week’s lesson by looking at…

  • what he was called to do on Mount Moriah–the sacrifice it demanded (Sunday)
  • the meaning of the test–what God would provide (Monday)
  • Sarah’s death and the legacy she left (Tuesday)
  • finding a wife for Isaac (Wednesday)
  • a second wife to console Abraham (Thursday)

Just as we all age and mature, Abraham experienced this sometimes challenging season of life with spiritual strength born from years of following God’s voice. His commitment to God was especially put to the test, however, when God called on him to sacrifice his own son Isaac.

This test of Abraham’s faith comes in the center of the book of Genesis, alerting us to its extreme value in understanding God’s grace and our salvation. Through Abraham’s test, we can imagine what it must be like for God to send His son to our world to die for our sins. Abraham’s test seemed too cruel to be true, but it exactly mirrored the anguish our heavenly Father felt over the loss of His Son on Mount Calvary.

Memory Text: “Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” Genesis 24:1 NKJV

Even after losing Sarah, Abraham had much to be thankful for. Finding a wife for Isaac was something to be concerned about; but at least Abraham had the capacity to go about the task in a way that produced the results they were looking for. Sending his servant out to accomplish their goal was the perfect way to find Isaac the wife he needed to continue Abraham’s bloodline.

Sunday: Mount Moriah

It’s very difficult to understand God’s unusual directive for Abraham to offer his beloved son Isaac as a human sacrifice, something God had always frowned on when done by pagan worshipers. But were it not for this test of character, Abraham would never have understood the sacrifice God would later make through His Seed.

Abraham too must have entertained doubts when he first heard God’s voice instructing him to do this harsh task. Not fully understanding the rationale behind the request, he nevertheless set about to do what was asked of him, as hard as it was.

Paul understood the kind of sacrifice God requires. It does call for human sacrifice. We humans must give ourselves to God as wholeheartedly as Abraham gave up his son. We are a “living sacrifice” to God, as we live out our lives of holiness and service to Him (Romans 12:1).

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 22:2 and Romans 12:1

  • How do we become a “living sacrifice” to God?

Genesis 22:12 and Deuteronomy 8:2

  • What are the purposes of “tests” of God? What do they accomplish?
  • Who else in the Bible had their faith tested?

Monday: God Will Provide

If there was one thing Abraham was sure of, it was that God would provide. The outcome of the unusual request was in the Lord’s hands. It was with this assurance that Abraham was able to carry out the unpleasant task of sacrificing his beloved son.

When Isaac questioned what animal was to be sacrificed that day, the words of assurance came easily from the heavy heart of the father. He had already determined that God was able to do anything to fulfill His promise–even to the point of resurrecting Isaac, if needed (Hebrews 11:17-19).

The response of Abraham that God would provide a lamb for the offering was more true than either of them imagined. God would later provide His Son, called the Lamb of God  (John 1:29), to be the offering that would set all His people free from the bondage of sin. Just as Isaac was set free from death on the altar, we all are set free to carry out the will of God in whatever way He chooses.

God chose a ram in the thicket to take Isaac’s place that day. A ram was the animal used in the burnt offerings of Moses’ time and was used on the Day of Atonement. Called “burnt offerings”, because they were the only ones that required the whole animal to be burned, represented the totality of God’s sacrifice.

Abraham, in a very tangible way, felt the burden of losing oneself, in order to find oneself. His faith, and ours, is the only way to partake of the blessing of God’s salvation, so freely given.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 22:8, 14, 18 and John 1:29

  • How does our understanding of “offerings” change when we consider Jesus as an offering?
  • Why was Jesus’ sacrifice needed to redeem us from Satan’s control?

Tuesday: The Death of Sarah

Genesis 23:1 doesn’t seem significant, except for the fact that it is the only time in the Old Testament that the number of years a woman lived is mentioned. Sarah’s faithfulness is even remembered in Hebrews 11, the “hall of fame” for the faithful (Hebrews 11:11).

We discover the huge gap her passing made for the family of Abraham in Genesis 23. The fact that the recording of her death immediately follows the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac might indicate the tremendous physical and mental burden she shared with Abraham over this trying ordeal. It must have pierced her heart as much as his. He was her beloved son as well, and the thought of possibly losing him must have been heartbreakingly painful.

There seems to be an unusual focus on acquiring the land for her burial plot, taking up most of the chapter. But Sarah was the first of Abraham’s clan to have died and been buried in Canaan, the Promised Land. This emphasis makes more sense when we see the connection it establishes between Abraham and the Promised Land his people would someday possess.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 23:1 and Hebrews 11:11

  • What was it about Sarah’s character that led to her recognized status among women?
  • What kind of legacy would you like to leave your family? For what would you like to be remembered?

Wednesday: A Wife for Isaac

Abraham’s eldest servant was given the task of finding a wife for Isaac. We assume this was Eliezer, although his name is not mentioned in chapter 24. But Genesis 15:2 named Eliezer of Damascus as the one who would be heir, if Abraham had continued to be childless.

Abraham was concerned that there was no suitable wife available for Isaac in Canaan. It seemed much too risky to even begin a search there among so many pagan worshipers. So, the trusted servant was sent back to the land where Abraham was born and many of his family still lived. Surely, one of Abraham’s relatives would make a good wife for his beloved Isaac.

Abraham wasn’t the only one to have a “test” of faith. The requirements and signs that Eliezer proposed for God to guide him to a potential wife might also be considered a “test” to prove God’s faithfulness to Abraham. God passed the test quite successfully, and Isaac and the family were comforted with Rebecca, the new addition to the family.

Perhaps most noteworthy in this story is the fact that Rebecca was not forced into a marriage with Isaac. Her destiny was determined by her choice to accompany Eliezer back to Abraham’s camp to meet her proposed match. God always respects our freedom of choice, in every aspect of our lives.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 24:55-58

  • How was Rebecca’s needs and desires taken into consideration?
  • Why was it important to have Rebecca’s permission for the plan to go forward?

Thursday: A Wife for Abraham

Following Sarah’s death, Isaac was comforted by his wife Rebecca (Genesis 24:67). And Abraham was no doubt comforted in his old age by the presence of a second wife, Keturah. Many have thought this may have been Hagar. Her six sons are associated with Hagar’s in the list of descendants found in Genesis 25.

Like Ishmael, these sons were sent away by Abraham, probably due to their unholy influence, but also to distinguish between her sons and Sarah’s. Isaac was always recognized as the true heir, even though Abraham was generous with gifts to his other sons.

The family of Abraham grew, along with his righteous reputation in the region. Ishmael’s descendants consisted of 12 tribes (Genesis 17:20). Abraham was indeed the “father of many nations”. God also kept his promise of a long, peaceful life (Genesis 15:15). Abraham was 175 years old, when he died peacefully and was buried with his wife Sarah (Genesis 25:7, 8).

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 25:15:15 and 25:7, 8

  • How could Abraham have been at peace with God, when he never saw the fulfillment of the promise in his lifetime?
  • Why is trust in God so important, no matter what stage of life we are in?

Friday: Final Thoughts

The stages of Abraham’s journey remind us of the progression of our own faith. Although we may encounter detours and bumps in the road, we, too, can find a greater measure of faith if we determine to think less of ourselves, and more of God, as time goes on.

The words of this old hymn help us see what it takes to have a heart of love and faith like Abraham.

“None of Self and All of Thee”
Words by Theodore Monod (1874)

O the bitter pain and sorrow
That a time could ever be
When I proudly said to Jesus
“All of self, and none of Thee”

Yet he found me, I beheld him,
Bleeding on the accursed tree
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self and some of thee.”

Day by day his tender mercies
Healing, helping, full and free
Brought me lower while I whispered
“Less of self and more of Thee.”

Higher than the highest heavens
Deeper than the deepest sea
Lord, Thy love, at last, has conquered:
None of self, and all of Thee.

Surrendering all to Him will get us to our final destination, an eternity with our heavenly Father.


Next Week: Jacob the Supplanter

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