(Vs. 17-19) Of all the trials of Abraham's faith, this was the most difficult. He had left his homeland, divided the land in Lot's favor, resisted the riches of pagan kings, waited for the birth of Isaac, turned Ishmael out of his house, and now God commanded him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham proceeded to do as he was commanded (offer his only son unto God) because HE BELIEVED that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead.
1. He knew that God had said, "In Isaac shalt thy seed be called." This promise of a great nation through Isaac must be fulfilled (Gen. 15:4-6; Gen. 21:12).
2. God had already done what was equivalent to raising Isaac from the dead, for he had come from the dead womb of Sarah.
3. Abraham actually did offer Isaac! It was done when he determined IN HIS HEART TO DO IT! All of the rest was done for example, picture, and teaching. In the sacrifice of the ram in Isaac's place, we have a picture of our Lord's taking our place and dying for our sins (Gen. 22:8, 14). But in the mind and heart of Abraham, ISAAC WAS AS GOOD AS DEAD; and when God spared Isaac, it was like receiving him from the dead. The issues of faith and life are settled in the heart (Rom. 4:20-22).
(Vs. 20) Read Gen. 27:26-33. Isaac said, "I have blessed him and he shall be blessed." You might ask, "How could Isaac, by faith, bless Jacob when he was deceived?" He thought that he was blessing Esau, but it was the will of God that he bless Jacob (Rom. 9:11-13). Therefore, he knew (though he was not aware that he blessed Jacob) that the person he blessed in the name of the Lord WOULD BE BLESSED! Man supposes, but God disposes. The man who believes God believes that the sovereign purpose of God will be accomplished, even though he does not understand it (Eph. 1:11; Gen. 50:20).
(Vs. 21) Gen. 48:13-19. The patriarchs blessed their sons and grandsons in the name of the Lord, usually during their last days. Jacob crossed his hands and gave the greater blessing to the younger son of Joseph. This he did because he believed that the blessing he delivered would be fulfilled. He worshipped God and gave praise and glory to God that he was permitted to see Joseph again and his grandsons.
(Vs. 22) Joseph and the people of Israel were well situated in Egypt, but Joseph believed God and knew that someday the children of Israel would be leaving Egypt and going to the land God had promised them. He commanded that his bones be taken to Canaan (Gen. 50:24-26).
(Vs. 23) This verse speaks of the faith of the parents of Moses. Pharaoh had commanded that all male Hebrew babies should be killed, but Moses' parents were not awed by the king's decrees. They believed in the providence and protection of the Lord God and perhaps saw in Moses the deliverer of God's people out of Egypt, so they hid him at the risk of their own lives.
(Vs. 24-26) Moses was 40 years old, educated, wealthy, and apparently designed by his mother to be the Pharaoh's successor. But he knew that he was an Israelite, and by faith and choice he refused the honors of Egypt in order to be IDENTIFIED WITH the Lord God and His oppressed people. He believed THE PROMISES OF GOD to be better than the in-hand possessions of Egypt. He esteemed the reproaches and afflictions of the people of God better than the sinful pleasures of Egypt. God's promises are eternal; all here is temporary.
Christ was made known to Old Testament believers (Isa. 53:1-6; John 5:46; Deut. 18:15). They believed in Him, in His coming, and in His deliverance. He was typified in their sacrifices and spoken of by their prophets. His inheritance was expected by them. Moses chose to be identified with God and His people because by faith HE LOOKED BEYOND that day to the reward of Christ.