Abraham, Mount Moriah and You


By Dr. Ken Matto


And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2)


Probably the greatest test that Abraham faced was the command given to him by God to take Isaac, which was the child of promise, and bring him to Mount Moriah and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.  It was actually a defining moment in the life of Abraham.  Would he offer Isaac or would he try to bargain with God as he did when God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?


And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. (Genesis 18:32)


We get the answer to that question in the next verse when Abraham showed his unwavering obedience to God.


And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. (Genesis 22:3)


Abraham did not question God nor did he delay his obedience.  The next day, Abraham rose up early in the morning and without hesitation packed his donkey and took two of his young men, which were probably servants in his household, and he also brought along the wood needed for the sacrifice.  Here is the total obedience of Abraham who brought his own wood not knowing if there would be sufficient wood available at the site for the sacrifice.  He was insuring his obedience by bringing his own wood.  He then proceeded to the place where God had told him to go.  It was a three day journey to the place of sacrifice.


There is a great parallel between the resurrection of Christ and the deliverance of Isaac from the sacrifice which I will refer to later in the article.


4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. (Genesis 22:4-5)


Then they had arrived at the place of sacrifice and notice the instructions that Abraham gives the two servants.  He tells them that they are to wait there and after he and Isaac go to worship the LORD, then they will return unto him.  Abraham is now showing dual obedience and understanding.  He knows that Isaac is the child of promise.


But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. (Genesis 17:21)


Isaac was the one whom God would establish his covenant with.


So Abraham, being spiritually astute, had considered possibly that if God allowed him to go through with it, that he would raise Isaac up from the dead and would return him to Abraham.  Since Ishmael was rejected as the child of the everlasting covenant, it was Isaac that God would establish it with and Isaac would have to be alive to perpetuate the covenant of grace to future generations of believers.


7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8)


Then Isaac begins to ask questions.  He asks Abraham where the lamb was that would be the burnt offering?  They had the wood piled and the fire was ready to ignite the burnt offering.  Then in verse 8, Abraham tells Isaac that “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”  God provided himself as the lamb to be sacrificed for the sins of the Elect on Calvary.


Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (Revelation



And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. (Genesis 22:9)


Then Abraham had completed the manner of a burnt offering by building an altar, placing the wood, readying the fire and then binding Isaac as the burnt offering and laid him on the altar on the wood.  Then came the moment of greatest faith.


And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. (Genesis 22:10)


Abraham was ready to slay Isaac in obedience to God and was already positioned over him to make the sacrifice.


11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. (Genesis 22:11-12)


Then right before Abraham struck Isaac, the LORD called to him out of Heaven and told him not to lay his hand upon the lad and not do anything to him.  Abraham showed his greatest moment of faith because he feared God and would not withhold his only son from him.  Here is the great parallel I mentioned before.  Both Christ and Isaac saw life on the third day.  Isaac was resurrected as a picture of the resurrection of Christ even though Isaac did not see death as a burnt offering.


Now I went through this entire scenario to ask you a simple yet life-changing question as a Christian!  What is or what was your defining Mount Moriah Moment?  After we have become saved, the Bible teaches plainly that God has prepared works for us which are commensurate with the talents and spiritual gift or gifts he has placed within us. 


For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)


I would like to give some examples of a Mount Moriah Moment which happens in every Christian’s life.


As parents, your saved child wants to go to the mission field but you discourage them and tell them they should go to school, get a good job and they could always donate to missions.  You failed your Mount Moriah Moment because they are seeking the highest calling any Christian can have on earth and you discouraged them.


You have been given the spiritual gift of teaching and you are asked to lead a Bible study in your home but you claim you don’t have any time to prepare or to fit it in your schedule.  You failed your Mount Moriah Moment.


Someone asks you at church to help with the youth ministry and you like working with young people, so you agree wholeheartedly.  You passed your Mount Moriah Moment.


You have become saved from the streets of your town and the Lord impresses upon you to return to those streets with the gospel message and tracts.  You immediately agree and start a street ministry.  You have passed your Mount Moriah Moment.


You have many transients and homeless on the streets of your town.  The Lord impresses upon you to begin a rescue mission since you also have good management skills but you don’t want to be dealing with dirty, smelly people.  You have failed your Mount Moriah Moment.


The Lord has given you good speaking ability and impresses upon you to start an evangelistic ministry in your hometown.  You realize the high calling and immediately start the ministry.  You have passed your Mount Moriah Moment.


I have given these six examples to further clarify what I mean by a Mount Moriah Moment.  In every believer’s life there is a Mount Moriah Moment which is the defining or watershed moment in a Christian’s life.  Many Christians walk around today as spiritual zombies because they have either missed or neglected their Mount Moriah Moment.  Christianity is not just going to church but it requires full involvement by Christians seven days a week.  Staring at your phones and texting your friends all day is not Christianity but reaching out to the lost and teaching other Christians is.


19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)


One of the greatest examples of a Mount Moriah Moment was the calling of Matthew.  Christ commanded Matthew to follow him and immediately Matthew left his stand and followed Christ.  No excuses!  He became a disciple of Christ and that was his defining moment in his life.


And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. (Matthew 9:9)


It is of the utmost importance that each Christian assess their Christian walk.  Don’t desire to be like somebody else because they are not desiring to be like you.  If you feel that you do not have any purpose in this life, then you no doubt missed your Mount Moriah Moment and you need to go back and begin to seek the Lord about where you are heading in this life.  He may give you a second chance like he gave Jonah.  When Jonah received his orders from the LORD to go to Nineveh, he fled in the opposite direction thinking that would negate the Lord’s command to go to Nineveh.  He missed that Mount Moriah Moment but he didn’t miss the second one after being swallowed by the great fish.  The second one allowed him no escape.  Willful obedience is better than forced obedience!  So take some time today and assess your life.  If you are saved but have no ministry, then somewhere along the line you missed your divine calling and you need to do just as Jacob did.


And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. (Genesis 35:1)


Go back to Beth-el for three main reasons:


1) To be refreshed

And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters. (Exodus 15:27) 


What is a greater sight when you are in the desert than a place of refreshing water and trees to guard you from the sun? Elim was such a place. The palm trees are used in Scripture to describe the believer. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. (Psalm 92:12) When the believer is well-watered with the gospel in a place where they are resting, the spiritual strength increases. Forget the world, the church situation alone should cause every true believer to seek refuge and be re-strengthened in the Lord. A car cannot be refueled at 60 mph, it must stop at the pump. The believer is like that car and cannot be filled while they are in high gear. For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. (Isaiah 30:15) 


2) To regain your spiritual perspective

Many times as we are bombarded with different gospels and philosophies, we will be surprised what we may begin to believe. It is this time that a nice sabbatical will do a Christian good to evaluate and compare their spiritual position to the Bible.  This time will help reinforce true beliefs in the Christian’s mind.


3) You were called to give all, not do all

Too many times Christians follow the false notion that they must do everything which comes across their path. Remember how bad off Moses was when he was trying to adjudicate all the legal complaints the people had against each other? It wasn’t until Jethro made him realize that he would burn himself out if he kept going the way he was. So Jethro made him delegate the work to others so he would be free to do other things. I have personally learned over the years of being in churches that whenever something had to be done and I over-extended myself, I was just supporting laziness in the church. Why should 5% of the people do all the work and the rest just come to church and do nothing. I once asked a preacher friend of mine about what good is it to preach week after week and the people still do nothing. In a church I was thrown out of I was told that there were 4 pillars in the church and these pillars were do nothings: One was a communist who wore a big crucifix, one can’t wait for the service to be over so she could run to McDonalds to worship her hamburger god, another was a flaming Pentecostal, and the other was an old man who knew as much about the Bible as your average unbeliever on the street. I always thought pillars in the church were those who built up the church and the believers, not those who were self-absorbed. Never feel guilty if you cannot do something. Let others around you in the church take some responsibility. Learn to work within the spiritual parameters of the gifts God has given you. We get into trouble when we try to work in an area in which we are not gifted.


Now rest, evaluate, return and get involved!