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Summary: Abraham's great test of faith reveals three things about faith.

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“The Ultimate Test of Faith.”

Genesis 22:1-19

“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." (2) Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

One of the greatest blessings in life is children. And surely one of the most devastating tragedies in life has to be having to bury one of your children. We expect to lose our parents at some point in life. And about half us who are married will lose our spouse in death. But we assume that our children will be around to mourn us when we die. Any mother or father would rather suffer themselves than watch their children suffer? Which of us would not quickly give our own life if it meant we could save the life of our child? And this is why Genesis 22 is one of the most moving stories in the Bible. The supreme test of faith posed to Abraham, is something most of us would find nearly impossible to even consider. We struggle with the very idea of it. Our hearts are torn as we try to conceive how we would respond in such a situation. When the text says that “God tested Abraham,” it is one of the world’s great understatements.

Our text tells us that "after these things” or “some time later" God tested Abraham. We really don't know how time has passed, but perhaps as much as twenty years passed between the end of chapter 21 and the beginning of chapter 22. At the end of chapter 21 Isaac was two or three years old. Some are troubled in verse five by the use of the word “boy” NIV or “lad” NKJV. The Hebrew word here could be used for any age from a teen to young soldier.

We are not talking about a preschooler here; Isaac was a young man probably in his late teens to early twenties. Suggestions in the commentaries for Isaac’s age in this story range from him being in his mid to late teens, to some that suggests that he was 33 years old (the age Jesus was when he died). From the text all we really know is this: Isaac was strong enough to carry the wood for the sacrifice and that he was old enough to understand that having a sacrifice without a lamb didn't work.

The test itself is devastating because it involves his beloved son, Isaac, the promised and long awaited son. It is also devastating because it is only three days away - there is little preparation time. Yet on the other hand there is plenty of time to worry oneself sick over the implications. It is even more devastating to realize that it was to be a sacrifice from his own hand. It is awful to think of losing a child. But it is almost unbearable to consider that the child died as a result of your own hand.

Notice with me three things the text reveals about faith.

First, The Testing of Faith (22:1-2)

“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." (2) Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

When the King James Version says that God “tempted” Abraham it is better understood as it is rendered in the New King James, that God “tested” Abraham. James assures us that God does not “tempt” anyone to do evil (James 1:13) but does “test” our faith to prove it (James 1: 3, 12).

•The Purpose of Testing

One thing we can be certain of is that God does not test our commitment to discover how committed we are. He is God He already knows that! But we will never know the level of our commitment unless it is tested.

Isn’t true that when we face difficulties in life that test us we often think that it is unreasonable and we ask, “Why Lord?” or that it is untimely and ask “Why Now Lord?” or that it is unfair and we ask, “Why Me Lord?” or that it is unbearable and we ask, “How can I stand it Lord?”

But there is purpose in this testing in our life; perhaps it is to reveal His faithfulness, or to teach us new truth, or to cause us to grow. But of this we can be sure, there is a purpose.

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