First Sunday in Lent

 Sermon Text: Genesis 22:1-18

 Other Readings: Romans 8:31-39 and Mark 1:12-15


  1. In verse 3, what might it say about Abraham that he is so active here before setting off on the journey?
  2. Examine verses 9-18. What or who is “the angel of the LORD”?
  3. How should we respond to someone who says, “Here, it says that God blesses Abraham because Abraham obeyed. That’s proof that God we earn things from God by our good behavior.”?
  4. Martin Luther noted that this is the only passage in Scripture where God swears. What does that say about this particular situation? Why does God swear by himself (Hebrews 6:13-19).


  1. Perhaps Abraham got up early in the morning because he was having trouble sleeping. Or, perhaps he was just ready to do what the Lord commanded and didn’t want to waste time. As for him chopping wood, perhaps that was Abraham’s way of working out some anxious energy and/or his way of saying, “I myself will do all of this because God commanded me; I won’t have my servants do this menial work for me.”
  2.  Because the angel of the LORD identifies himself as God, it has long been the understanding that this is the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, before he took on human flesh. (“Angel” means messenger, and Jesus certainly is the ultimate messenger of God the Father since Jesus is the word of the Father.)
  3. We can note that it was way earlier in the Abraham story that righteousness was already credited to Abraham simply by his believing (Genesis 15:6). Secondly, we can note that this is the final recorded dialogue between God and Abraham. It is only in this final interaction that performance is connected to a promise. Martin Luther then paraphrases what God means, “You have done this outstanding work and have been obedient. Behold, I, in turn, will adorn you with an outstanding miracle, not in order that you may be justified but to have you know that God loves His saints and not only calls and justifies them but also makes them great and glorious.”
  4. That says that this account and the promise that goes with it is very serious stuff! God swore by himself because there was nothing more powerful or more serious to swear by.