January 31, 2015
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” (Genesis 22:1-2)
Walking with the God of the universe is a real, vibrant relationship. It is not robotic and never mundane. God is always in the process of building and refining His children. His plan is eternal and, therefore, His process is too. And testing is an integral part of His operating principles with man.
Here, God tests His beloved servant and son, Abraham. In the latter years of his life, God asked for the one thing that he knew Abraham would have the hardest time surrendering. Would Abraham respond in faith now, as God called him to release His son to God? All of human history stands on tiptoe to see, for much of human history depends upon the old warrior’s response.
Earlier, God might have found resistance or questioning in Abraham. But at this juncture of Father Abraham's journey, he was convinced of God’s faithfulness. Regardless of how He would do it, Abraham knew God had promised that through Isaac a nation would be developed. So, the scripture records his instant obedience and overwhelming faith.
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” (Genesis 22:3-5)
We marvel at this level of faith, and well we should, for there are few who would pass this test.
I talked to my oldest brother, Tom, this week as he was sharing about the third occurrence of cancer that his wife, Jeannie, is battling—a cancer that has now spread throughout her body. Tom and Jeannine have been around the world (literally) in their walk with God. But in honesty he said, ""We've never, ever faced anything like this."" Almost daily God reaches into the deepest recesses of their hearts asking, ""Can I have this? What if I asked for this? Will you surrender this?""
Why would God not simply let them coast on in through the next chapter of their lives?
It is because He loves them so. He has promised never to test us beyond our ability to bear by His grace. He knows that they will experience the deepest recesses of God’s love and the greatest heights of witness to a watching world through the greatest tests. And then, beyond this “momentary light affliction” there is an “eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison” that only faith-filled suffering and surrender secures. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Not only are Tom and Jeannie illustrating honest, stunning faith in the process, but God is showing His faith in His seasoned servant. God knows what He is about and God has faith in their ability to handle this test. He is answering the thousands of prayers they have prayed throughout their lives to be used by Him in this life and prepared for the next.
And that involves a gracious, bittersweet testing of our faith to show the world the heights of God’s grace and provision. The Lord will Provide and there are no limits to His resources. God always rewards and uses fully those who trust and obey Him fully.
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