Summary: At age 75 years, Abraham enrolled in the "School of Faith." Now he was over 100 years old and was still learning experiences in faith. We are never too old to face new life challenges, fight new battles, and learn new truths. The moment we stop learning w
Intro: At age 75 years, Abraham enrolled in the "School of Faith." Now he was over 100 years old and was still learning experiences in faith. We are never too old to face new life challenges, fight new battles, and learn new truths. The moment we stop learning we begin to decline and fade. We then lose a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Genesis 22 records the greatest test that Abraham, the man of faith, had ever faced. True, it also presents a beautiful picture of our Lord's sacrifice at Calvary; but the main theme here is: obedience and faith overcomes the many trials of life. Abraham exemplified how to face and handle the tests of life to the glory of God. Consider four simple lessons.
I. EXPECT TRIALS & TEMPTATIONS (Gen. 22:1-2; Heb. 11:17).
A. Without occasional tests, we will never know where we are spiritually. Abraham’s life is recorded in Genesis 11-25. Abraham had his share of tests right from the very beginning of his journey: (1) Family Test (11:27-12:5); (2) Famine Test (12:10-13:4); (3) Fellowship Test (13:5-18); (4) Fight Test (14:1-16); (5) Fortune Test (14:17-24); (6) Fatherhood Test (Gen. 16:1-16); (7) Farewell Test (21:14-21).
B. Not every difficult experience in life is necessarily a personal test from God. Often your own disobedience causes the suffering and pain.
C. God allows both trials and temptations. Trials come from God who has a special purpose for it, but temptations come from our lusts (Jas. 1:13-16). Trials are used by God to bring out the best in us (Jas. 1:2-6), but temptations are used by Satan to bring out the worst in us. Trials seem so unreasonable while temptations are quite reasonable. Why would God give Abraham a son and then ask Abraham to kill him?
D. All believers face similar temptations to sin (1 Cor. 10:13), but not all believers experience the same trials of faith. God's trials are custom-made for each child of God, and our experiences are unique. God never asked Lot to face the tests that Abraham faced or vice versa.
E. True Christian life is not easy, but once we have truly understood and accepted it, it becomes less difficult. That is the first lesson we must learn: Expect trials from God for the Christian life is never easy!
II. FOCUS ON PROMISES, NOT EXPLANATIONS (Gen. 22:3-5).
A. Joseph in prison, Moses and Israel in wilderness, David in the cave, Daniel in the lions’ den, Daniel’s friends in furnace, or Jesus at Calvary, the lesson is the same: We live by God’s promises, not by explanations.
B. Our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems to be humanly unbearable, do what seems humanly unreasonable, and expect what seems humanly impossible! (Luke 18:27; Jer. 32:17, 27)
C. When God sends a trial, our first response is usually, "Why, Lord?" and "Why me?" We want God to give us quick explanations! Of course, the Lord has reasons for sending tests, perhaps to: (1) purify our faith (1 Pet. 1:6-9); (2) perfect our character (Jas. 1:2-4); (3) protect us from sin (2 Cor. 12:7-10)—but we often fail to understand God’s ways!