Summary: “All of life is a test.” Life indeed is full of tests, from the Cradle to the Grave, but Life iteslf is the most important test.
Dr. Wayne A. Lawson
Antioch Institutional Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Preached Sunday October 4, 2009
TITLE: IT’S ONLY A TEST
I am not sure that anyone this morning enjoyed taking Tests or Exams during our School Years. Even those that continuously score well on Test, don’t necessarily enjoy the experience. I remember the anxiety that I often felt while matriculating. No matter how much I prepared for a test, I was always somewhat nervous before testing time. Most of us, although we have taken many tests in school, tested out of necessity, not because we desired to do so or enjoyed the experience. I watch our young people today around their Junior and Senior year of High School experience various types of anxiety as they prepare to take the SAT or ACT in an effort to begin their Collegiate Careers. Many Colleges now understand that test results are not always a solid indicator as to how well the student will make the academic transition from High School to College. Some colleges, matter of fact, no longer require standardized test scores as a tool for Entrance.
Our passage for examination this morning begins with very interesting words: “After these things God tested Abraham.” The first question is, after what things? I believe the text is referencing all that had happened to Abraham up until this point in his life. So perhaps we should briefly summarize Abraham’s story. God instructs Abraham to leave all that he knew and all that was comfortable with and relocate to a foreign land. We find this account in Genesis 12. At the time Abraham is 75 years old. It seems a little late in life to make a family move and relocation.
• But God, of course, doesn’t just tell him to pack up and go for no reason
• The Lord has a plan and a promise for Abraham
• He promises Abraham offspring and he plans to make Abraham a great nation
• One that will be a blessing to all other nations
• Genesis 11: 30 records Sarah, his wife, is barren; both she and Abraham are well advanced in years have never had children and it is humanly impossible for them to have children during this season in their lives
• Yet what does the Lord promise? Offspring
• The Lord promises that a great nation will come from Abraham.
• We know that this nation that will be Birthed will be the nation of Israel - the People -- the Chosen – the Elect of God.
Let’s travel and visit GENESIS 17. Some years have passed since the Lord called Abraham and made him this promise. In fact 24 years have passed. Abraham is now 99 years old. Can you imagine having to wait that long for someone to fulfill their promise made directly to you? Would you wait that long or would you tend to think, I have waited long enough - I guess they must have forgotten? In our instant have it right now culture - I can’t imagine anyone having patience enough to wait anywhere close to this long.
• We don’t like waiting in Traffic
• We don’t like waiting in Line
• We don’t like waiting on Hold
• We don’t like waiting for the Water to Boil
• We don’t like waiting in the Doctor’s Office
• We don’t like waiting too long for our food at the Restaurant
• We don’t like waiting for that Ride to Pick Us Up
• We don’t like Waiting
Abraham was just like us. Run with me to GENESIS 17 Abraham and Sarah take it upon themselves to fulfill God’s promise. Sarah gives Abraham Hagar, her maid servant – and through her has ISHMAEL, his first-born son. Ishmael is the result of not trusting that God will fulfill His promises.
• We have Ishmael’s in our lives we are still dealing with – because we would not wait
• We have Ishmael’s in our lives that cause us Frustration – because of our hurriedness
• We have Ishmael’s in our lives that cause us a Whole Lot of Stress – because we would not wait on God
• We have Ishmael’s in our lives that cause us Many Restless and Sleepless Nights – because we took matters into our own Hands instead of Waiting on God
In this same chapter the Lord renews his promise of children to Abraham, and, more specifically, tells Abraham that he will have a son and he is to name him ISAAC. But Abraham doesn’t believe. He laughs in disbelief, for he is nearly 100 years old and Sarah is 90. How could they possibly have children now? Abraham then begs the Lord to bless Ishmael and asks the Lord to make him the child of the promise. The Lord agrees to bless Ishmael, but tells Abraham that he will establish his covenant with Isaac. Ishmael may receive a blessing, but ISAAC will be the child of the promise.