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Summary: All of us are familiar with the ’where’ test. “Where should I live, work, worship, invest? Where should I send the kids to school?" (Part 1 "Passing Life’s Tests")

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Passing Life’s Tests

Hebrews 11:8-19

PART 1 “Traveling Without a Map”

The ‘Where’ Test (Hebrews 11:8)

Central thought: A real believer follows God’s leading without knowing where.

Co-ordinated reading: James 1:2-3 and 12

INTRODUCTION

When airlines train their pilots they first test them in a simulator. The simulator is designed to present the pilot with a variety of potential problems so that they will be able to handle any emergency in the future. First the pilot is tested with simple challenges, which eventually build up to catastrophic situations. The pilots are given more difficult problems only when they have mastered the previous ones. The result is that when the pilots have completed their courses, they are prepared to handle any problem that comes their way.

This is similar to God’s method of working with us. God teaches us how to handle the problems of life, but never gives us more than we can handle. He teaches us through each situation, so that we can be fully prepared and mature people, ready to handle any challenge in life that might come our way.

One of the tests God puts our way from time to time is the “Where” test. All of us here are familiar with this test. “Where should I live, work, worship, invest? Where should I take my business? Where should our church be heading? Where should I send the kids to school? Where should I go today?”

It’s a test that is designed to deepen our faith and trust and show us new and wonderful things about our God.

In Hebrews 11 we read about the time that Abraham went through the where test. His respoinses teach us many things about how God operates in our world. There’s a lot of help here for us so let’s take a look at it.

I. A Relationship

I recently had a real life experience of this “where” test when our family was away on holidays.

Going down the caves and even through the crawl tunnel in the Yallingup caves with Sarah (6) and Caitlyn (2).

Those girls courageously moved into the crawl tunnel, into blind darkness and yet they were ok with it because they trusted me when I said they would be ok. They moved, even though they didn’t know where it would lead, because of the strength of trust in our relationship.

That kind of faith can only come through a deep and trusting relationship built up over time spent with each other and proving to be reliable. That’s the kind of relationship Abraham had with God.

Abraham had a relationship of trust and faith in God

11:8 By faith Abraham, when called … obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

It was a relationship characterized by faith. Listen to the extent of God’s command to Abraham:

GE 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”

That was it! God simply said ‘get up and go.’ Abraham had no specific details, yet as simple as it was Abraham still obeyed God and stepped out as he was commanded.

However, in stepping out he moved to a whole new place in his relationship with God. In stepping out Abraham drew nearer to God. His relationship grew deeper.

It was the same with Sarah and Caitlyn down the Yallingup caves. Their trust in me as a reliable father was only deepened because of that experience. I had promised they would be ok and I kept my word. In fact, once they had followed me through the first time and experienced the truth of my promise for themselves, they wanted to go back and do it again without me! Not once, but twice!

If he had relied purely upon his own human reasoning to discern his direction, Abraham would have severed his ties with God. In effect he would have been saying to God, “I don’t need you I can do this on my own.” Or he may have said, “There’s no way I’m going there - I’ll stay here and I’ll never experience all the wonders you have for me.”

But he didn’t do that. When Abraham went, he went by faith, and in doing so he said to God, “I want a real, vital, living relationship with you; I want to rely on you.” From his past experience of God’s activity in his life Abraham reasoned that God was trustworthy. So when God said “Move” Abraham said. “I’m on my way.”

Some parents have discovered the benefits of developing a relationship of trust with their children. Jodie and I are working at it with our daughters. That’s one reason I took the risk of going down a cave with them and taking them through the crawl tunnel even though they were fearful. You see, I figure that with a relationship of trust our children are more likely to heed our advice later in life – when things really get tough – especially through the teen years. And this kind of relationship takes time and patience – and we’re just beginning. But we want them to grow into their fullest potential, safely and for their own benefit. The point is all this happens within relationship.

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