Summary: When I finished college I rejoiced, thinking that at last I would be free of tests - that I would never have to take another. But I discovered that I was just starting a time of testing. In every stage of life there are tests... (Powerpoints - #154
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis 22:1-2. It says, “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied.
“Then God said, ‘Take your son, you 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.’” Let’s pray.
ILL. A college professor I had told us that he would give a test every week. He warned us that every day we should come to class ready to take a test. He said, "You will never know on which day the test will be given. It might be on Tues., or Wed., or Thurs., or Fri., so therefore, you should always be prepared for the test."
I am convinced that he really delighted in standing up & saying, with a gleam in his eye, "Please take out a clean sheet of paper & a pencil. Today is test day!"
I also remember what usually happened when the graded papers were handed back. Those who got an "A" held their papers rather nonchalantly & let everyone around them see their "A".
But those who got a poor grade would bend over their desks as if they had a headache, & quietly fold their papers & put them away.
A. Personally, I believe that life is full of tests.
When I finished my college years I rejoiced, thinking that at last I would be free of tests - that I would never have to take another one. But I discovered, after I graduated from college, that I was really just starting a time of testing.
1. In every stage of life there are tests. There are tests as children there are tests as adults. You get married & there are a series of tests that you face.
When you have children, a whole new set of tests arise. You face tests on the job tests at work. No matter which way we turn, we find ourselves being tested. And many people are failing these tests.
2. Succeeding, passing the test, almost always brings a sense of satisfaction. But when we fail the test, when we don’t measure up, there almost invariably is a bit of sadness, or despair, & maybe, deep down inside, even some shame.
I have read the first two verses this morning of the 22nd chapter of Genesis to set the stage. I wanted you to see that God said to Abraham, "I am going to give you a test."
B. Now, I don’t know how you feel about that. I know that I would rather see God in a different light than as a "test-giver."
But as I read my Bible I find repeatedly that God tests people & I am thus convinced that He is also testing me practically every day of my life.
1. So, I ask you this question, "If God should come & say to all of us, ’Take out a clean sheet of paper & a pencil today is test day.’ How would you do?"
I am sure that some would pass & some would fail. But please realize that I am not talking about a test of Bible knowledge. Rather, I am talking about a test more like the one that Abraham took - a test of commitment, a test of faith.
2. Most of you are familiar with the story that is presented in Genesis 22. God spoke to Abraham & said, "I am going to give you a test. Take your son, your only son by your wife Sara, the son whom you love take him to Mt. Moriah & there offer him to me as a burnt sacrifice."
Despite the shock of God’s command, vs. 3 tells us that Abraham obeyed. Early that next morning he started loading up the donkey he summoned two servants to go with him he took with him some firewood & a fire & they started their journey across the desert.
Finally, Mt. Moriah was on the horizon. Once Abraham reached it, he told the two 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.” (Genesis 22:5)
So they continued on just Abraham & Isaac. Then in vs. 7 Isaac asks a very difficult question for Abraham to answer.
Isaac asks, "The fire and wood are here…but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answers, "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." (Genesis 22:8)
So they go on to the top of the mountain. Abraham builds the altar places the wood on top of it ties the hands & feet of his son & places him on the altar takes his knife & raises it in the air.