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Genesis  ◦   Chapter 22

1Some time later, when Isaac was a young man, God determined that Abraham was ready to pass the test – to have his heart and mind sealed into loyalty and trust in a way that no temptation could ever again shake him from it. He presented Abraham with the ultimate test, in which he would need to decide between love and trust in God versus fear and selfishness. God called to him, “Abraham!” And Abraham replied, “Yes, here I am.”

2Then God said, “Take your son – your only heir to the promises – your son Isaac, whom you dearly love, and go to the land of Moriah. Take him there and offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will direct you to.”

3Early the next morning, Abraham got up, cut enough wood for the burnt offering, and loaded his donkey. Then he took two servants and his son Isaac and set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw in the distance the place where God wanted him to go. 5He instructed his servants, “Stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go over there to worship; then we will return back here.”

6Abraham had Isaac carry the wood for the burnt offering, and he carried the burning coals and the knife. As the two of them walked together, 7Isaac said to his father, Abraham, “Father?”

“What is it, my son?” Abraham replied.

“We have wood and fire,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8Abraham, exercising his trust in God, answered, “God will provide himself the lamb for the sacrificial offering, my son.” And the two of them continued on together.

9When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood upon it. Then he shared with Isaac what God had told him. Together they remembered the promises of God regarding Isaac, and despite their fears, Abraham bound the willing hands of Isaac and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11But the angel of the Lord called out from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes, here I am,” he replied.

12“Do not harm the boy,” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way. Now it is known to all that your love for God and trust in him is supreme in your heart, and you can no longer be swayed by fear and selfishness, because you have trusted me with the life of your son – your only heir.”

13Overjoyed with relief, Abraham looked over and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place “The Lord sees and provides.” And to this day it is said, “In the mount of the Lord, he sees and provides.”

15Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I promise you this upon my own character and integrity, and this is the Lord’s decree: Because you have trusted me with the life of your son, your only heir, 17my plan to save humanity through your family will go forward. Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. And your descendant (the promised ‘Seed’) will demolish the strongholds of his enemies, 18and through your descendant (the promised ‘Seed’) the human race – all the peoples of the earth – will be blessed; all because you have trusted me.”

19Then Abraham returned to where his servants were waiting, and they went home to Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

20Some time later, Abraham learned that Milcah had borne his brother Nahor eight sons: 21Uz the firstborn, Buzz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel. 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah was mother to these sons of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24Nahor’s concubine, Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maacah.