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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYerah 4-7

And he appeared

Genesis 22:1-24

And it happened after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold me.

Gen. 22:1 MKJV

How can we pass the test successfully?

According to Jewish tradition, this was the tenth test our father Avraham had to pass. He came out of all of them in victory and with blessing. In the Scriptures, the number ten not only represents totality but is also a symbol of test and temptation. Yaakov's salary was changed ten times (Gen. 31:7), the lamb for Pesach has to be checked on the tenth day of the first month (Ex. 12:3), on the tenth day of the seventh month is Yom Kippur (Lev 16:29), the children of Israel put the Eternal to test ten times (Num. 14:22), the king of Babylon came against Yerushalayim on the tenth day of the tenth month (Jer. 52:4; Ez. 24:1), Daniel asked to be tested with the food for ten days (Dan. 1:12), Job was insulted ten times (Job 19:3), Haman had ten sons (Est. 9:10), the congregation of Smyrna had to undergo tribulation for ten days (Rev. 2:10).

The Hebrew word that was translated as test also means temptation and provocation. These three meanings have three different purposes:

  • The purpose of the test is to strengthen and lift up.

  • The purpose of temptation is to cause someone to fall and to destroy.

  • The purpose of provocation is to resist and fight.

The Eternal does not tempt or provoke anyone (Jacob (James) 1:3) but He does test all created things. The evil angel, the satán, can provoke and tempt men. Men can provoke the Eternal. The Eternal can use a temptation from the satan to test men. The satan's purpose with his temptation is to cause men to fall; but the Eternal’s purpose when He allows the temptation from the satan is to strengthen and lift men up. The Eternal is way above everyone and everything and the satan cannot do anything without His permission.

This time, the Eternal tested our father Avraham. The purpose of this test was to lift him up. Tests are used by the Eternal to apply pressure on people so that what really lies in their hearts is manifested, in moments of crisis, as it is written in Deuteronomy 8:2: "And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not." (ESV)

Avraham had gone through nine tests successfully and now he would have to go through the tenth and last one. This was his final test. HaShem asked him to sacrifice his only begotten son. This test contradicted everything Avraham had taught until then, that the Eternal wasn’t pleased by human sacrifices, as those who worship false gods thought. Now, he had to do exactly what he had said was wrong before the Eternal: to present a human sacrifice.

As we've said before, the Eternal is not pleased with animal sacrifices, but with a right motivation of the person who brings the sacrifice. The same way, He is not pleased at all with human sacrifices; however, he is pleased by a total devotion to a righteous cause even if this will cost his own death, as it is written in Psalm 116:15: "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." (ESV) We have several examples of people in the Scriptures who have sacrificed themselves till death to sanctify the Name of the Eternal and their sacrifices have been precious to Him. This is the way to understand the Eternal’s petition to our father. He wouldn't be pleased with Yitzchak’s death itself but by a totally surrendered heart that is willing to obey until death.

This text is one of the clearest ones that speaks prophetically of the death of the Messiah as a pleasing sacrifice before the Eternal. The Eternal doesn't want human sacrifices but sin requires payment, and that payment is death. All men have sinned, except Yeshua. That's why all men are destined to die. Yeshua took the sin of all men to deliver them from the ultimate consequence, eternal death, the second death. He died for all men to carry the punishment of our sins and cleanse our evil. The Eternal raised him from among the dead on the third day ­ prophesied in this chapter ­ and through him, all who believe in the Eternal and repent of their sins will take part in resurrection and eternal life.

How could Avraham pass such a difficult test? Because he did what he always did in the previous tests: he feared, he obeyed and he believed:

  • He feared the Eternal more than anyone or anything else.

  • He obeyed the voice of the Eternal with joy.

  • He believed in the promises of the Eternal and spoke and acted accordingly.

Verse 12 says: "He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." (ESV) HaShem tested Avraham to see what lay in his heart, if he feared Him more than anyone.

Verse 18 says: "and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." (ESV) Obedience to the Eternal's voice was our father’s law of life and his standard of behaviour.

In verse 5 it is written: "Then Abraham said to his servants, "You stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go over there. We'll worship. After that we'll come back to you."" (God’s Word)

Avraham knew that he and Yitzchak would come back to the young men. HaShem had promised him that through Yitzchak his offspring would be named, so he thought that the Eternal would raise him from the dead, as it is written in Hebrews 11:17-19: "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, THROUGH ISAAC SHALL YOUR OFFSPRING BE NAMED. He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back." (ESV)

The result of having passed this test was of great importance not only for our father’s life but also for all future generations. The blessings that came after that are unlimited, as it is written in verses 16-18 "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." (ESV)

One of the greatest blessings, maybe the greatest, that our father had, is that he was able to see the day of Yeshua, as it is written in John 8:56: "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." (ESV) That was the greatest joy our father could experience.

May the Eternal grant us grace to pass our tests successfully so that we can also see the day of Yeshua with joy.

Shabbat shalom,


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