The angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of the sky, and said, “I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your seed greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. Abraham lived at Beersheba.
It happened after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, “Behold, Milcah, she also has borne children to your brother Nahor: Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. His cocubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
God had already promised that Abraham and his family would be blessed. Why is it that He says here that “because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, that I will bless you greatly?” Remember, I said before that Abraham didn’t do anything in order to get God’s blessing. Here we read that He did do something.
This is not an inconsistency, but a very important fact about true faith in God.
When God first promised to Abraham that He would bless him, He knew about what Abraham would do on this day. In fact, He made Abraham knowing what He would do. This doesn’t mean that Abraham didn’t have a choice from his perspective. He did have a choice but God made things in such a way that Abraham would choose to do what He wanted. Abraham’s choice was still required, but God had planned it all along.
Another important thing to recognize is that Abraham’s actions were a result of His faith in God. They were not an attempt to gain God’s blessing, but an expression of the fact that he believed in God. Remember that from Abraham’s point of view, God had already promised to bless Him. To prove this interpretation, it is important to read what God wrote in the New Testament.
Hebrews 11:17-19 :
By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; even he to whom it was said, “In Isaac will your seed be called”; concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead.
Notice that the New Testament tells us the thoughts of Abraham; that he believed that God would raise his son from the dead if He needed to, to fulfill His promise. Abraham made the decision to trust God and do what He said, knowing that He was able to do anything.
The type of faith that saves us is the type that believes enough to obey. If we don’t obey, then we don’t really believe. That is why that even though it is faith that saves us, the kind of faith that saves us is the kind that results in a life of obedience to God. Make sure to read James 2:14-26 on this topic as well.
Finally, we read the record of Abraham’s distant relatives here also. Notice that there is no moral, just a record. Genesis is a record not a poem or a story.