18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
18 of whom it was said,
God made a promise to Abraham that his progeny would be as the sands of the sea and the stars of heaven.
The following quotation references Genesis 21:12.
“In Isaac [emphatic] your [Abraham’s] seed shall be called,”
It was in Isaac alone whereby God would fulfill His promise. Isaac was Abraham’s seed, which would fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant. This had the appearance of bad logic. It was a request from God that Abraham kill the only means of maintaining his family tree. Abraham’s only conclusion was that God would raise Isaac from the dead.
19 concluding [reasoning] that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead,
The word “concluding” is a term of logic; it is also an accounting term. The idea is to add the facts to come to a right conclusion. It is the formulation of a conclusion drawn from reason. In this case, Abraham drew a conclusion from God’s promise. He knew that “God was able.” He knew somehow God would deliver Isaac from death. Abraham was confident that God could raise Isaac from the dead if it came to that (Ro 4:17). The Greek indicates that Abraham made this decision decisively (aorist).
from which he also received him in a figurative [a parable, symbolical] sense.
Abraham relinquished Isaac to death, but the receiving him again symbolized resurrection. God kept Isaac to fulfill His promise to Abraham. This event foreshadowed resurrection from the dead.
God tests the obedience of our faith.
The credibility of our faith is our willingness to return to God what He has given us. All tests from God are either stumbling blocks or steppingstones. It is one thing to believe God, but it is another to act on that faith. After Abraham finally received the son for which he longed, God asked him to make him a blood sacrifice.
God made it clear that the Abrahamic Covenant could be fulfilled only through Isaac (Ge 17:19). It must have been strange for God to ask him to make Isaac a sacrifice (Ge 22:2). This was a test of the obedience of his faith, his opportunity to act on his faith. Abraham unswervingly and immediately moved on his faith. He believed that God would keep His promise of giving him a family of innumerable posterity.
Abraham was an illustration of the Father offering His Son, Jesus, on the cross. This man willingly offered his son to God. He believed God to the point that He would raise Isaac from the dead. The attempt to kill his only son must have grieved him deeply, but he did it anyway.
Satan tempts but God tests. God tempts no one. It is the evil desire within us that yields to temptation (Jas 1:13–14). Testing has to do with our character and how strong it is.
God calls upon believers today to execute belief in the face of human affections (Mt 16:24). Christians can expect to be put to the test by God (1 Pe 4:12). As God tried Job and Abraham, He will determine what kind of faith we possess as well. Tribulation works tenacity of soul (Ro 5:3,4; Jas 1:2–4; 1 Pe 1:6–8).
God never intended that Abraham kill Isaac; it was a test of his faith.
Abraham remembered two things God had told him: (1) he remembered that Isaac would be a father of the promised Messiah, and (2) he remembered that God was able to raise the dead.
Trial of our faith often touches what is nearest to us. God does not delight in depriving us of what is closest to us; He wants to see our development in trusting Him. The trial of our faith gives us still greater blessing.