Summary: Why did God find it necessary to test Abraham’s faith? What purpose did it serve?
OPEN: Three military recruiters were on hand to address a gathering of high school seniors. The recruiters represented different branches of the military: Army, Navy, and Marines and each of was given fifteen minutes to speak.
The Army and Navy recruiters got a little carried away with their presentations, so when it came time for the Marine to speak, he had just two minutes.
He walked up and stood utterly silent for a full sixty seconds, half of his time, staring out at the students. Then he said this:
"I doubt whether there are two or three of you in this room who could even cut it in the Marine Corps. But I want to see those two or three immediately in the dining hall when we are dismissed."
He turned smartly around and sat down.
When the students were dismissed, they literally mobbed the Marine requesting applications.
APPLY: The recruiting motto of the US Marine Corp’s is: “We’re looking for a few good men”
And the Bible tells us that God is looking for a few good men… and a few good women.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." (NKJV)
God is looking for a few good people.
He’s looking for people he can depend upon.
By the days of Abraham the Bible tells us there were only a few individuals that had impressed God. There may have been more, but only two stand out.
One was Enoch, who the Bible says “walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:24). Enoch walked with God. This wasn’t just a casual walk in the park, but rather an intimate continual relationship with God that ultimately led to his being one of only two people mentioned in Scripture who never died (Elijah was the other one), but instead went immediately into God’s presence.
And of course there was Noah. The Bible tells us Noah “found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8). Noah lived in a wicked time and because of that wickedness God eventually sent a flood to destroy all mankind… all except Noah and his family because Noah was a righteous man – and he impressed God.
So, there were the few good men the Bible tells us preceded Abraham who impressed God.
But now, along comes Abraham… and Abraham stands out almost head and shoulders above everyone else in the Old Testament who lived before or after him. Aside from Jesus and Moses, Abraham is perhaps the most important man in all of Scripture.
He was so significant, that in Genesis 12:2-3 we find that God sought Abraham out and gave him some very impressive promises. God said to Abraham:
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
God promised he was going to make Abraham the father of a great nation and make his name would become great. Abraham would receive a special protection of God and not only was he to be blessed by God, but everybody on earth who would ever be blessed by God, was to blessed because of Abraham.
How did Abraham rate such an honor?
Because the eyes of the Lord had run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those who were loyal to Him.
God set Abraham up to be one of the major heroes in Scripture. And God made him a hero because God saw in him a special trait – Faith.
Romans 4:9 tells us that “… Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.”
So much so that Romans 4:12 tells us “he is the father of (those) who walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”
Faith is a highly valued commodity to God.
Heb 11:6 “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.”
And Hebrews 10:38 says “… my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
God calls His people to LIVE by faith. That implies that not just any old faith is going to do. God wants a faith that changes how we live.
ILLUS: But that doesn’t always happen. According to a poll taken by George Barna back in 2002:
44% of adults make their moral choices based on "the desire to do whatever will bring them the most pleasing or satisfying results."