The Test of Faith

Genesis 22 has always been one of the most intriguing chapters in the Bible for me. In the text leading up to this story, God has been working in the life of Abraham, affirming His covenant, miraculously giving Abraham a son in his old age, and interacting with him in a marvelous way.

Then, quite unexpectedly, God gives him the command to take his only son, Isaac to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering unto the Lord. This account gives us many lessons that we may learn concerning our walk with God.

First, God may test our faith. Faith could be compared to a muscle. If it is never exercised, it will never grow. Were God to remove all of the obstacles from our way, we would never have the opportunity to grow and learn. While these trials are not pleasant, it is important to remember that they are very beneficial. Peter describes them as a “fiery trial”, but the result is faith that is purified as fine gold. In the middle of these testings, priorities and values can become distinctly clear.

Second, our love for God motivates our faith. God commanded Abraham to take his only son “whom thou lovest”. This is the first time the word “love” is used in the Bible, and it is used to describe the feelings a father has toward his son. We could compare this to Matthew 3:17 where God spoke from heaven, calling Jesus His “beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. The trial of our faith will reveal to us how much we love God and therefore how far we are willing to trust Him. God, in essence, was saying to Abraham, “I know you love Isaac, but I want you to love me more”. Is not this the same love that God demonstrated toward us in giving His only Son for our redemption?

We love Him because He first loved us.

Finally, the magnitude of our test reveals God’s evaluation of our faith. We know from I Corinthians 10:13, that God will not allow us to be tempted above that we are able to withstand. The thing we must always remember is that God does not test us so that HE can learn about our faith. God’s testings, though, reveal much to us about our faith. If God will not tempt us beyond our faith, then the size of the test can reveal to us what God knows we can overcome. This should never cause us to become proud about our testings, but it does give us hope when we are facing them.

Each of us will face multiple tests of our faith during our life. Few, if any of us, will ever be given one as drastic as Abraham’s. Yet even if we are, we can know that the God of Abraham is still sovereign in our lives today. The same God who guided a ram into a thicket on Mt. Moriah is going before you on the mountain you will climb.

Accept the test of faith. Climb that mountain. Build that altar. You will find that God is already there.

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9 responses to “The Test of Faith

  1. How I love what you have to say. I guess I have to say that I felt God’s testing when I lost my husband in a tragic accident. My life as I knew it changed in a moment. Even though I have in my heart questioned why, I know that God makes NO mistakes.

    The story of Abraham and Isaac is truly amazing to me. Abraham obeyed completely and did not question…neither did Isaac until he wondered where the lamb was for sacrifice.

    I should be so obedient.

  2. You kind of slipped there my friend. You said,

    ‘If God will not tempt us beyond our faith, then the size of the test can reveal to us what God knows we can overcome.’

    Are you of the opinion that God ‘tempts’?

    GASP!

    I am. Or rather, I am of the opinion that the tempting/testing that we receive is for the most part ordained at least from God. I think sometimes it is entirely too difficult to distinguish whether we are being tempted by Satan (with his intent to make us fall) or tested by God (with His intent to strengthen us).

    I don’t think trials are always from Satan. I would daresay that they are normally from God…

  3. Hi Gordon

    Testing is the test of a life in Jesus

    Make me more like you Jesus

    Great post

    Doug

  4. Thanks Beverly, Matthew, and Doug for your thoughts.

    Adam, I agree with you. I think we give Satan far too much credit when things go wrong in our life. Many times, it is God working in us. At other times, it is simply the consequences of our poor choices.

    Of course we know that God would never “tempt” us to sin.

  5. The best thing is that God will never tempt your faith if He knows that you couldn’t handle it. God new Abraham’s faith was strong. Even though Abraham didn’t. God now how strong your faith is. I will let you know that your faith is a lot stronger than you think. That’s why He lets you have trials. To let you know how strong you believe in His words, and how strong your faith actually is.

  6. this is very encouraging. thank you for sharing this. it’s just exactly what i need.

  7. Another fine post, Gordon.
    (Challenging, yes. But a fine post)

    It’s kinda funny. This posts makes me go in two different directions.

    On the one hand, I want a weaker faith so that I won’t be tested in anything “big”.

    On the other hand, I know that it is only through testing that I will know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering. SO BRING IT ON!!

    wait…no don’t…
    Actually, yeah. Bring it on!
    hang on. not just yet…
    Forget that! TEST ME AND PURIFY ME!!!
    um, just a sec…

    AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!

    I guess I’ll just trust God on it.

  8. You made me think Gordon…that’s a good thing!

    God does not tempt us beyond what we can endure…so therefore if we slip…may times it’s our flesh giving in, because God knew we were better than the circumstance.

    That really made me think. god knows our heart, but sometime we choose the easy way out!

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