Summary: Abraham was tested by God but it becomes a part of his testimony
Testing to Testimony
January 26, 2014
One of the challenges of college and seminary was the continual taking of tests. The worst tests of all came from my Greek course work. The Greek tests were often composed of parsing of words to determine the tense, case and all of the other wonderful parts of words. There was the translation of sentences from Greek to English and from English to Greek. In the more advanced courses, we had to translate entire passages from the Greek New Testament to English. Those tests were a major challenge for me and honestly I hated them.
I’m not sure that anyone really likes to experience tests. There are tests in school, there are tests for work, tests from the medical arena and a host of other avenues in life. I have experienced a variety of health related tests and few of them were much fun. Everything from blood tests, which were fairly simple, and CAT scans on my head and stress tests on my heart.
Tests are a part of life and there is no way to avoid them. Tests come through different events, different situations and different times in life. There is no mistake; you will experience tests in every area of life.
Tests happen throughout the pages of the Bible. Some tests were small and others were large. Some people passed their tests and some failed them. Never forget that the Bible is often a story of the tests people face in life.
Here are a few examples of tests:
Job was tested through times of tragedy
Joseph was tested with the need to forgive
Jeremiah was tested by a people who refused to listen or obey
Noah was tested to remain faithful in an unfaithful world
Daniel was tested to continue to follow God even if the cost was high
When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life p. 43)
There are times in life when God sends tests to help prove our faith, our hope and our commitment as genuine. There is never a true testimony without first living through a test.
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 2 Then God said, "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." 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" 8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:1-14
This is one of the stories from the Old Testament that seems to give people the most trouble. On first glance, many would say that God was willing to accept a human sacrifice. While others would look at this and fail to understand the purpose behind what God was trying to do.