Summary: On the mount of God’s testing, He will provide. Learn to trust God’s purposes without knowing why. Learn to trust God’s provision, that He will make a way, without knowing how. Learn to trust God’s timing, without knowing when.
Have you ever had one of those days. If we’re honest we have to admit that not only have we had one of those days, we have had one of those weeks or one of those months or one of those years. One of those times when everything seems to happen. After a while, when we have been bombarded with the trials and tribulations of life and when it seems as if the bad news just keeps coming, we reach the point where we ask: "Lord, why? Lord, how long are we going to have to withstand all of this? Lord, when will You lighten our load? What’s the meaning of all this?"
Isn’t it true that it’s the storms, the trials, the testings of life that tend to blow open the doors of our hearts to show what’s truly there? Do you remember the story of Jesus and His disciples as they headed out into the Sea of Galilee one afternoon? A sudden storm came up. Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat, and His disciples were going crazy, frantic with fear. They looked at Him, asleep in the back of the boat, and they said, "Jesus, what are You doing?
Aren’t You concerned? Don’t You care that we’re about to drown?" Jesus woke up and stilled the storm. And having seen that this storm had blown open the door of the disciples’ hearts, having seen that fear was there, He turned to them and said, "Where is your faith?"
As we look at this amazing chapter in the book of Genesis, a chapter that occurs near the end of the life of the man Abraham, we see him experience the fiercest storm, the greatest test of his life. As it opens the door of his heart, we can walk in and there find much to learn about our times of testing. Let’s look at the beginning in Genesis 22:1. "Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ’Abraham!’ ’Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ’Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burn offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Can’t you almost hear Abraham asking God, “You want me to do what?”
When God wants to test someone, His methods don’t always make sense to us. This test came very suddenly and unexpectedly in Abraham’s life. He was nearing retirement. He was planning for those cruises on the Mediterranean. He was planning for those fishing expeditions on the Jordan River. Then suddenly and without warning came this greatest test of his life.
One time, the comic strip Kudzu featured this country-style preacher. He was praying to God, and he said, "Oh Lord, You know I don’t ever ask for much, but, Lord, I pray that You would grant me just this one thing ... dignity. That’s all I ask, Lord." In the next frame, there was a lightening bolt and a huge "Zap!" In the final frame, there he stood with his pants down around his ankles, revealing underwear with heart shapes on it. He said, "This is a test, ain’t it, Lord?" Do you ever feel that way sometimes? Life can be a series of tests, can’t it? We just wish there would be that kind of levity attached to those tests.
If you were to look back in Abraham’s life, beginning in Genesis 12 and up to this time, you see test after test. Abraham passed some of the tests and at other times he failed. But the significant thing, probably even unaware to Abraham at this time, is that God was using each of those tests to build faith into the superstructure of Abraham’s soul.
This was the greatest test of Abraham’s life. Why? The most obvious reason is that this was his son. It’s painful as you read the description in the verse there, as God calls him out. "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him..." That’s the most obvious.
The second is that what God is asking Abraham to do in this sacrifice is to literally lay aside, to throw away everything Abraham had lived for, for the previous thirty-five or forty years of his life. You have to go back and recall those events in Abraham’s life in chapter 12.
As we see the chapter open upon Abraham’s life, God calls him to leave his home place, the city of Ur, and go to a land God is going to show him. He doesn’t even tell him where it is. Also, God promises him there that He would not only bring him to a promised land, but He promises an heir, that God will make of Abraham a great nation that will be a blessing to all nations of the world. There was only one problem with that. Abraham and Sarah had no children.