When God Tests
Some time later God tested Abraham … “Take your son, your only son, Isaac,
whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a
burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Go Deep: I’m guessing this story in Genesis 22 raises a few questions for you. I mean doesn’t this “Divine ask” violate everything we know and trust about the character of God? How could a loving God ask such a cruel thing of Abraham? And if God did that to Abraham, what kind of tests will he put me through?
If you’re feeling a little upset with “the God who tests” about now, here is my advice: Relax, take a deep breath, and step back for a broader view of God. Once you go a little deeper into this story, and look at it through the lens of the entire Bible, here is what you will come to understand about Divine tests:
First of all, God’s tests are never without preparation.
Notice the very first line of this story: “Some time later…” With God, time comes before testing. Typically, the word “test” conjures up negative images. Tests are the enemy; they are set-ups for failure; the harder the test, the more unfair the teacher. But those kinds of tests and that kind of teacher have no place in an accurate theology of God. This test came only after the events of Abraham’s life that we have been reading about since Genesis 12.
God didn’t suddenly spring this test on Abraham—and he’ll never spring one on you. This is no pop quiz; it is not without context. Abraham has now walked with God for about 30 or 40 years, and God has been preparing him through lesser tests all along the way. God didn’t test him like this until he knew Abraham was equipped for it. And God will never give you a test that you cannot pass.
Divine tests only come when you are prepared!
Second, God’s tests are never without purpose.
In Genesis 22:12, the Lord stops Abraham from slaying Isaac, and says, “Now I know that you fear God.” This word “test” is used eight times in the Old Testament when God does the testing and each time it is used in the Old English sense of the word: “to prove.” God’s testing is not to expose, but to prove. When God says, “now I know”, that wasn’t for God’s benefit, it was to give Abraham confidence that his faith in God was no foolish faith. You see, Abraham’s faith was tested, God’s faithfulness was tested, and both were proven trustworthy in Abraham’s mind.
Divine tests will always prove that your faith in God is never misplaced.
And third, God’s tests are never without provision.
Genesis 22:14 says, “So Abraham called the place ‘The LORD will provide.” The emphasis here is not on the provision, but “the Lord who provides.” The most important provision here for Abraham is a prophetic revelation of the person and his plan of God. The physical provision, whatever that might be, is always secondary to a deeper revelation of the One who provided it! Through this test, Abraham learned what God wants you to learn: He is the Lord who provides!
Divine tests always result in a deeper revelation of God to you.
Now that you know about divine test, dare you say, “bring it on!”?
Just Saying… Oswald Chambers wrote, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it knows and loves the One who is leading.”