Summary: In Genesis, chapter 22, and in Hebrews 11:17, we find the top three tests of faith in the life of Abraham. Satan tempts to bring out the bad, but God tests to bring out the good. Although I would rather be exempt from tests, a faith that cannot be tested
James O. Davis is the founder and president of Second Billion (TM). You are invited to learn more about Second Billion by visiting www.billion.tv.
The Top Three Tests of Faith
By James O. Davis
In Genesis, chapter 22, and in Hebrews 11:17, we find the top three tests of faith in the life of Abraham. Satan tempts to bring out the bad, but God tests to bring out the good. Although I would rather be exempt from tests, a faith that cannot be tested is
a faith that cannot be trusted.
The story is told about a man on the operating table who was very uncomfortable about his imminent surgery. Although anesthesia was to be applied, the doctor said, “It seems you are very uncomfortable about this surgery.” “Yes,” the man replied,” it is my first surgery.” “I understand,” the doctor said, “this is my first surgeon too.” We want to go to a surgeon who has passed the test and partake of medicines that have been approved.
In Genesis 21, we read that Abraham was asked to send away his son Ishmael. Galatians 4 tells us that Ishmael represented the world and the works of the flesh. “Just as the flesh was mocking the Spirit then, so it is today.” We will never give God our Isaacs until we have sent away our Ishmaels.
We agree that God has the right to ask us to give up the bad, but we never expect him to require of us the good. It is a test between two loves. Abraham loved Isaac and God. Please note there are three big tests of our faith.
I. Can You Trust God with the Possessions
He Has Given You?
Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born. Can you trust God with your possessions? Sometimes we say we are willing to give up everything for the Lord, but are we willing to give it up to the Lord? There’s a big difference between giving up something for the Lord and giving it to the Lord.
God had given Abraham a priceless possession and then asked for it back. It was the test of Abraham’s faith because he loved both Isaac and God. It is not enough to give God a place in our life, or prominence, or priority. God wants to have preeminence. Is there anyone, anything, or any blessing that we love more than God? Is it possible that Abraham was beginning to love the blessing more than the Blesser, the gift more than the Giver? Was his world now getting more wrapped up in Isaac than the One who gave Isaac in the first place?
We love the blessings God has given our country more than we love God Himself. He has blessed us with liberty, prosperity and technology. Yet, we seem to be more in love with the gifts of this world than we are of the One who created the world in the first place. That same attitude flourishes among Christians today; it is called apathy. In Malachi 2:3 God says, “If you don’t listen, I will turn your blessings into curses.” Thus we suffer from immorality, ungodliness, perversion, murder of the unborn, the effects of pornography, and a lackadaisical attitude.
Recently, in Abuja, Nigeria, I witnessed 93,000 people who arrived by foot to attend a crusade because of their hunger for God. Yet, 12,000 miles back home we struggle to get a few people to travel by car to attend a prayer meeting. We have allowed our blessings to become curses.
The test is somewhere along life’s journey when God will ask us to give some blessings back to Him. Can we trust Him with our possessions?
II. Can You Trust God with His Purposes for You?
Not only did God give Abraham a possession, but He gave him a purpose. “With Isaac there is a purpose, and through him the nations will be blessed.” Understanding and doing the will of God requires three simple steps—finding, following and finishing the will of God.
The opposite of obedience is disobedience. Faith is not simply obeying in spite of the evidence; it is obeying in spite of the consequences. It is obeying whether or not we understand the purpose. This was the first time God had ever asked for human sacrifice. It was no doubt perplexing to Abraham, because only the heathens and pagans made human sacrifices.
Sometimes we offer sacrifices for which God is not asking. We need to have an informed and intentional obedience. A lot of people who plan to obey only procrastinate. As soon as we move into procrastination, however, we are automatically in disobedience. Abraham was beginning to walk in the direction that God had planned for him. His was informed, intentional, immediate obedience. You don’t see Abraham whining all the way to the top of the mountain. In fact, when Isaac said, “We have the wood, the fire and the knife, but where is the sacrifice,” Abraham said, “God will provide for the sacrifice.” He was speaking faith into the heart of his son.