Bible Reading: Genesis 25:1-11; Galatians 3:6-9

The last days of Abraham are recorded in our reading today. He remarried after the death of Sarah and lived to be 175 years of age. Death has a remarkable way of bringing people together and it seems significant that both Isaac and Ishmael together buried their father. It was his death that brought them together. Just as the death of Abraham united Isaac and Ishmael, so the death of Jesus on the cross makes a way for both the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac to become one. It is only at the cross and in Christ that reconciliation can take place.

The blessing of God that Abraham experienced was passed down to Isaac on the death of his father [verse 11]. I recently met a family who were asked to speak on generational Christianity. The grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law, and her four grandchildren, all lovers and followers of Jesus, spoke at the meeting. There is a Chinese proverb, speaking about business, that says, “First generation good, second-generation not so good, third generation finished!” In Christ, that does not have to be the case and in God’s Word, we read that God shows love to “a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” [Exodus 20:6 NIVUK].

We can see the evidence of this verse in the influence of Abraham that has extended for thousands of years beyond his death. He is mentioned in 15 verses or passages in the New Testament, including James 2:23 where he is given the lovely title, “The Friend of God”. All those people who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord are called the children of Abraham [Galatians 3:6-9]. The promise that God gave Abraham has been remarkably fulfilled in the millions of people who like Abraham have put their faith in the one true God through the death of Jesus on the cross. A life lived to the glory of God will have an impact that will last way beyond its length of days on earth.


In what way do you think that your life will continue to impact people even after your death? Is there anything that God wants to change in your life in order that others might be impacted for good?

As we draw to the end of this series on the life of Abraham, is there anything in particular that God has challenged you about through these daily devotional studies? If God has challenged you in a particular way, what have you done about it?

Please feel free to contact me and share your thoughts with me. This will not only strengthen you but also be an encouragement to me as I write each day. God bless you.


Bible Reading: Genesis 24:1-67

Genesis 24 portrays a very Eastern way of arranging a marriage that although may be very foreign in the West, is also a marvellous cameo of how God guides us and how He makes “all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes” [Romans 8:28].

Abraham wanted a bride for his son Isaac, but was very clear that she should come from his own people and not be a Canaanite. Guidance and faith go together, and Abraham knew that the angel of the Lord would guide his servant and lead him to the right woman as a wife for his son.

It is exciting to see the five stages, each summarised by one word, as the Lord led Abraham’s servant to find the right wife for Isaac. Firstly, move in the right direction. The woman had to come from Abraham’s family, so the servant had to go to the area where the family lived.

Secondly, pray into the situation. Abraham had taught his servant well and he prays a prayer of faith. His prayer is very specific. “Give me success… show kindness to my master,” and then he asks for a specific sign. The sign he looks for is a young woman who will draw water from the well and offer it to both him and his camels [verses 12-14].

Thirdly, wait until God moves. In this case it was almost immediate, as Rebekah came and did exactly what the servant had asked the Lord for. Nevertheless, the servant of Abraham still remained silent, seeking to know from the Lord if this was the woman that the Lord was preparing for Isaac. As soon as he knew that this was Abraham’s niece, he knew that God had answered his prayer.

Fourthly, worship, as he recognises that the Lord has led him to exactly the right place and person [verse 26-27].

Finally, see God work out all the details. Rebecca’s family also recognised that this was the Lord’s leading. It seems very wonderful that Abraham’s brother, Nahor, and his family, also knew the Lord and recognised what He was doing. Before Rebecca left them, her family spoke over her a word that would prove to be prophetic [verse 60]. So the servant and Rebecca reached the place where Isaac was, and he loved her [verse 67]. What a beautiful picture of God’s guidance.


If you are seeking God’s direction for something in your life, then would you walk in this same way – moving in the right direction, praying a prayer of faith, waiting for God to make it happen, worshipping and thanking Him when it does happen, and letting Him work out all the details?

Why do you think people are impatient and do not wait for God’s time? What are the consequences of not allowing the Lord to direct?



Bible Reading: Genesis 23:1-20; Hebrews 13:8-16

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” [Matt. 6:19-20]

“This world is not my home I’m just a-passin’ through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”

In the 1960s, Jim Reeves popularised a song that contains this verse, and it exactly describes Abraham who was a pilgrim. A pilgrim is someone on a journey to a sacred place. Abraham has journeyed across the known world to a place that God prepared for him, and yet when his wife Sarah died, he had no land in which to bury her. He  spent most of his time in Mamre, in the area of Hebron [see Genesis 13:18; 18:1; 23:2], but he also travelled to find pasture for his cattle. As Abraham sought to buy a piece of land as a burial site from the people of Hebron, he called himself a foreigner and a stranger among them. The writer of Hebrews describes Abraham as by faith dwelling in tents in the land of promise, as in a foreign country, but waiting for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God [Hebrews 13:9-10].

Speaking of Abraham and his descendants who believed God, the writer of Hebrews explains that they were looking for a country and a city that is heavenly, and that God has prepared a city for them [Hebrews 13:13-16].

Back in Genesis chapter 14 we saw something of Abram’s integrity as he refused to accept money from the king of Sodom. We see that same integrity again as he buys this piece of land as a burial site for his wife, and for himself at a later date [Genesis 25:7-11]. The people of Mamre recognised Abraham as a man of God. They called him “a mighty prince” [Genesis 23:6]. The margin of my Bible says, “Literally, prince of God.” They would gladly have given the land to Abraham as a gift, but he insisted on paying for it.

Abraham could have become a wealthy landowner but he chose not to make that his focus. Here is a man of God, understated in this world, with integrity, without presumption, and living and looking forward to his eternal home.


What do you think Jesus meant when He said that we should lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven? How is Abraham an example of this?

Why do you think that it was so important that Abraham paid for the land as a burial site and did not receive it as a gift?

In what way does the testimony of Abraham among the people of Canaan, challenge you to be a testimony among the people where you live?


Bible Reading: Genesis 22:12,15-19

The Angel of the Lord praised Abraham for passing the test. Abraham can be assured that God has honoured him because he fears God. It is not a cringing fear that is destructive but a glorious reverence for God. The Bible says that this reverence for God and a desire to honour Him is the beginning of knowledge [Proverbs 1:7] and is to hate evil [Proverbs 8:13]. This healthy attitude of reverence for God is a choice that we make [Proverbs 1:29] and protects us from evil [Proverbs 16:6]. It not only brings peace and contentment [Proverbs 19:23], but also wealth, honour and life [Proverbs 22:4]. Abraham has proven his reverence for God in his total obedience to Him.

What exactly was the test? Perhaps the heart of it was whether Abraham loved God even more than the gifts God gives. Isaac was a special gift from God to Abraham and Sarah, and they loved their son. The danger is that the gifts that God gives us become more important to us than our love for God Himself. The hymn writer penned the words, “My goal is God Himself, Not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God”. Much as Abraham deeply loved his son, his love for God was even greater, and the proof of this was his obedience to God.

Jesus said, “ Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” [Matthew 10:37], and to love father or mother, wife or children, and brother or sister more than Him disqualifies them from being His disciple [Luke 14:26]. The last verse of John’s first epistle, written to Christians, says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” [1 John 5:21]

Jesus challenged Simon Peter on this very issue. Three times Jesus asked him, “Do you love me more than these?” [John 21:15,16,17]. Is love for Jesus more important to Peter than other people’s opinions of him, or even his love of fishing?

In His hymn, “O for closer walk with God” William Cowper wrote the words:

“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.


Hudson-Taylor of China once said, “If Jesus is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all”. Why do people find it so hard to allow Jesus to be Lord of all?

What are some of the idols that people hold on to that hinder Jesus being Lord of their life?

If God were to test you in the way that He tested Abraham, would you pass the test?


Bible Reading: Genesis 22:7-14; Philippians 4:19

Abraham was determined to obey God whatever it cost. He built the altar, placed the wood in order, and then bound his son Isaac, and placed him on the altar. God had not provided a lamb as a substitute for Isaac and so Abram took the knife to slay his son. This raises a question – how far are we prepared to go in obedience to God? At the last moment God stepped in and provided a substitute [verse 13]. So often, when it is a matter of obedience and faith, it is at the last moment that God provides. One of the hardest things for us is to wait for God and still believe even though it is the last minute.

Abraham called the name of the place where God provided “Jehovah Jireh” which directly translated means “The Lord will provide”. It is an interesting parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac and Christ offered on the cross as a substitute for us. Whereas God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, God did not spare His Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross. God provided both a substitute for Isaac and a substitute for us.

There is a tremendous significance for us today in God’s provision for Abraham at Mount Moriah. The text reads, “And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided’” [verse14]. “To this day” means that beyond the time of Abraham God still provides on the mountain. We know that Jerusalem was built on Mount Moriah – “Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah” [2 Chronicles 3:1]. Mount Moriah rises to a plateau on which the temple was built, but then continues to rise to its peak, north of Jerusalem, outside the city wall. The peak of Mount Moriah is shaped like a skull and known as Golgotha – it was where Jesus was crucified.

There has been a tendency to think that Jehovah Jireh relates primarily to God’s provision of finance, but that is only a small part of it’s meaning. God provided everything that we need today at Mount Moriah, known to us as Calvary where Jesus was crucified. At the cross where Jesus died there is forgiveness, cleansing, redemption, healing, peace, and every other form of God’s provision for us. The God who provided for Abraham still provides for us today and at the very same place. No wonder Paul said to the Corinthians, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:2].


If you have been praying about a specific need, hang in there and don’t give up. Why do you think it is that God so often seems to provide for us at the very last moment?

What is you need today? Read Philippians 4:19 and note the word “all”. Will you acknowledge today that every need you have has been paid for at the cross, and then come in humility and ask God to meet your need?


Bible Reading: Genesis 22:5; Acts 12:1-11

The words, “and come again to you,” [verse 5] are among the most remarkable words in the Bible. They speak of tremendous faith and trust in a faithful God. God has told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering, and yet Abraham tells his two servants that he and Isaac will return to them.

How is it that Abraham can be so sure? It is because he understands the character of God. It is impossible that the death of Isaac would bring glory to God. God had promised Abraham that in his seed, that is, through Isaac, all nations of the earth would be blessed. Isaac is still a young man and not yet married. If he were to die at this time, then the promises of God are not trustworthy and cannot be relied upon. With the assurance that God fulfils His promises, Abraham can say with certainty that he and Isaac would return.

Abraham has faith in the promises of God, but how God would work out those promises must still have been unclear. Perhaps God would, in some way, intervene and provide a substitute for Isaac. If Isaac did die on Mount Moriah, then in order to fulfil His promises God would have to raise Isaac from the dead. How God would fulfil His promises should not be the most important issue for Abraham. The most important issue is that he is obedient to God and leaves the consequences with Him.

There is a similar situation in the life of Peter, recorded in Acts chapter 12. Herod had killed James [verse 1-2], and then held Peter in prison with the intention of killing him. Although chained between two soldiers, Peter slept so deeply that night that an angel had to strike him on the side to wake him up [verse 6-7]. As with Abraham, so Peter had a promise from God that was not yet fulfilled. Jesus had told Peter that he would live to be an old man [see John 21:18-19] but he was still a young man. Because he had a promise from God Peter knew that it was not time to die and he could trust the Lord to deliver him from this situation. That was the reason for his peaceful sleep!

Faith is the substance of things hoped, the evidence of things not seen [Hebrew 11:1]. If you can see the answer to your situation with natural eyes then you do not need faith. Faith sees the invisible. It doesn’t need to work out how God’s promise will come to pass – it just rests in God’s promise. God said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand” [Joshua 6:1]. With his natural eyes Joshua saw an impossible situation, but by faith he saw what was yet unseen and trusted God to do what He said. The examples of these three men, Abraham, Peter and Joshua remind us of the meaning of faith.


Has God given you a promise that has not yet been answered and seems to be an impossible? What should your response be in that situation?

Why is faith described as “seeing the invisible”?

Are you prepared to speak out in faith what God has promised and trust Him to do what He has said in His way?


Bible Reading: Genesis 22:5; Romans 12:1-2

“And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” [Genesis 22:5]

This must be one of the most remarkable verses in the Bible. God has told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering, and Abraham calls it worship and says that he and the lad will return.

In the late 1990s, the pastor of the church attended by Matt Redman sensed that worship in his church was no longer vibrant and that people were not singing from the heart. The pastor bravely decided to get rid of the sound system and the band for a season, and as a result of this Matt Redman wrote these words:

When the music fades
All is stripped away, and I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I doubt that Abraham was singing when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice, but he called it worship [verse 5]. It was more than a song. It was the sacrifice of an obedient heart. Many years later, David said that he would not offer to the Lord that which cost him nothing [2 Samuel 24:24].

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul also links sacrifice and worship. Writing to the Roman Church he says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” [Romans 12:1 ESV].

James also writes about true worship and says, “Religion that is pure and genuine in the sight of God the Father will show itself by such things as visiting orphans and widows in their distress and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world” [James 1:27]. The word “religion” in this verse is translated from a Greek word used only four times in the New Testament and on one of those occasions it is translated as “worship.”


Why do you think that the Bible links sacrifice and worship together?

What do you think is the real heart of worship? In the light of our reading today, how would you evaluate your own worship to God?


Bible Readings: Genesis 22:2-3; John 14:15-24

“Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” [Genesis 22:2]

This verse reminds me of a well-known verse in the New Testament that says, “God so loved… that He gave His only begotten Son” [John 3:16]. Now God is asking Abraham to sacrifice his son and He seems to strongly emphasise that it is Abraham’s only son, whom he loves. God does not ask Abraham and will never ask us to give something that he Himself is not prepared to give.

It must have been a very tough thing to offer his own son as a sacrifice to the Lord, but Abraham did so without complaining or pleading for more time to spend with Isaac. Early the next morning, Abraham set out for the place that God had told him to go to. His obedience was instant and total.

Oswald Chambers once said that maturity does not depend upon a person’s age but upon their obedience. Obedience is important because it is the language of love. Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments” [John 14:15]. Because we love Him we cannot help but obey Him. It is love for God that makes us obey Him. We don’t obey Him in order to love Him, but we obey Him because we love him. Love is the motive behind obedience. John more than any other Gospel writer emphasized love, and yet more than any other spoke about obedience! The two go together [See John 14:15, 21, 23-24; 15:10].

Obedience is important because it is the twin of faith. Faith and obedience always go together. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down but obedience to what God had commanded Joshua was the evidence of faith. By faith Abraham offered up Isaac [Hebrews 11:17], but it was an act of obedience. Faith increases when we obey God. In response to the disciple’s request to increase their faith, Jesus told a parable about an obedient servant [Luke 17:5-9].

Obedience is important because it is the key to blessing. Deuteronomy 28:1-68 is an exposition of the blessings that come through obedience [verses 1-14], and the curses that come through disobedience [verses 15-68].


Why do you think it is that in our modern culture obedience has been more equated with authority and submission to authority and less with love?

Are you prepared to obey God and, like Abraham, give to Him whatever He asks of you?

Would you apply the quote from Oswald Chambers, that maturity is not dependant upon age but obedience to your own life? What difference would obedience to God make in your own life?


Bible Reading: Genesis 22:1,7 and 11

In Genesis chapter 22 Abraham says, “Here I am” three times. The first time it is when God called him by name [verse 1]. The second time is when Isaac speaks to him and says, “My father” [verse 7], and the third time when the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven [verse 11].

Abraham is now an old man but he is still able to hear and respond to the voice of God. Over the years he had such communion with God, that God’s voice was very familiar to him. He is able to hear God’s voice even in a moment of great emotion, as he is in obedience about to slay his precious Isaac.

It seems often to be the case that when a person gets older they become less sensitive to the voice of God, but not so with Abraham. I have often wondered why this should be. Perhaps as we get older and gain more experience we rely upon that more than dependence upon God. Maybe it is the sound of so many other voices that crowd out God’s voice. Our bodies become tired. We ache in places where we didn’t seem to have places in our younger days and we listen to the voice of our body rather than the voice of God. Could it even be that we now lack the spiritual discipline of our earlier years that is still needed to be alert to God’s voice? Whatever the hindrance to hearing God’s voice may be, we see in Abraham a man in excess of 120 years of age who is still sensitive and alert to God’s voice.

Not only is Abraham able to hear God’s voice, he is also sensitive to the voice of his son. Isaac is puzzled because there is fire and wood but no lamb for the burnt offering. Some father’s might brush off their son’s question with a “Don’t bother me now, boy,” but not Abraham. Research has shown how little time the average father spends with his children in meaningful relationship each day. How destructive might that little phrase, “I am too busy,” be? There is no such thing as a close relationship without quality time and a listening ear. Don’t put off a close relationship with your children until a more convenient time. It will never happen. If you are not willing to listen when your children ask you a question, then they may stop asking, or worse still try and get their answers from an unhealthy or negative source. How many children have been sacrificed on the altar of their parent’s busyness? Decide today, that like Abraham, you will give time to your children and listen to their questions.


What are the main reasons people find it hard to hear God’s voice?

Why is it important that any relationship requires time and a listening ear?

A Prayer:

Lord, help me to be constantly alert and sensitive to your voice. Help me also to be sensitive to my children’s questions and needs. In Jesus Name I ask this. Amen.


Bible Reading: Genesis 22:1-19

“After all these things God tested Abraham” [Genesis 22:1]

Isaac was now a young man, and Abraham would probably have been at least 115 to 120 years old. The word ‘lad’ [verse 5] can be translated from Hebrew as a ‘young man’. The words “After all these things” summarises everything that has happened in Abraham’s life until this moment. It has been a life with some amazing highs including God’s covenant with him, his financial integrity, defeating kings to rescue Lot, intercession for Lot, and the birth of Isaac. There have also been some low times, such as the move to Egypt, using Hagar to produce a child, and lying to Abimelech. After all these things – this amazing life, God tests the elderly Abraham.

God’s testing is not limited to young people, but can come at any time in a person’s life. Because a person has become spiritually mature does not mean that there will be no tests. It might even be that the more spiritually mature a person is, the more likely it is that there will be tests of faith and obedience.

God knows everything so this test could not possibly have been for His own sake, because He knew in advance how Abraham would respond. It was also not to trip Abraham and watch him fall because that would be contrary to God’s nature. This test was primarily for Abraham’s sake.

There perhaps are two reasons why God tested Abraham. Firstly, to keep him focused. It is possible that Abraham was so satisfied knowing that God had fulfilled His promise and he enjoyed Isaac so much that he forgot that the real goal was not Isaac but the Lord Himself. I have discovered that when God has blessed us, it is possible to so enjoy His blessing that we lose our focus on His purpose. Sometimes the blessing becomes more important to us than God Himself.

Secondly, God tested Abraham in order to deepen his capacity to obey God and to develop his faith so that it became even stronger. Tests and trials strengthen our faith. Job testified to this when he said, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” [Job 23:10]. James confirms this when writing about the various trials that test our faith by saying that these produce patience that leads to maturity so that we will lack nothing [James 1:2-4]. At whatever stage we are at in our walk with God, there is still room for growth.


James makes it clear that our faith will be tested. He says, “when” and not “if” [see James 1:2]. What should our response be when our faith is tested?

Why do you think that God tested Abraham and why do you think that the test God required of Abraham was to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering?