On the very day God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, he had all males in his camp circumcised, including himself. That would seem the end of testing. But no...and now...121 years later, with Isaac perhaps 20 years old, God ordered a catastrophic condition: offer Isaac as a burnt sacrifice!
And how did Abraham respond? The next morning...ASAP...without delay, or seeking an alternative, or arguing with God...he loaded wood on the donkey, called to action the two servants he ordered to be ready...and SET OUT for the place!
Lessons we can learn. First—and this a summary: from Abraham’s 4000 year old obedience to God came the identity of the specific mountain, in the specific place, that now holds the attention of billions of people world-wide.
Second, and of absolute importance, when God calls us to any service, comply as directed. Indeed...God gave us ears. If he has something to tell us, LISTEN! He gave us eyes. If he has someone he wants us to see, LOOK! He gave us a tongue. If he wants us to say something to someone, SPEAK! He gave us a mind. If he wants to use our intellect as his servant, THINK! He gave us a heart. If he wants to care for someone, LOVE! He gave us a WILL. If he wants it exercised in service, OBEY! And if he wants all the above done now, HASTEN!
Offer no excuses why we can’t...or can’t right now. It didn’t work for Moses; it won’t for us.
In conclusion, if we’re afraid, God gives courage. If we don’t know much, God fills our minds with knowledge. If we say we can’t, God already knows that. He also knows He CAN through us. If we say, “we won’t”, God will find someone who WILL.
And we’ll lose the greatest privilege mortals ever have—being God’s servant to someone he wants reached and knows we can reach them. As mentioned previously, many preachers settle for proclaiming a comforting faith; overlooking hard truths of Scripture to stress God’s compassion, patience and love. That underestimates the most comforting of all Gospel truth—we experience in discipleship the empowering faith that overcomes the world.
When we rise to the challenges of living a faith that conquers, serving a Lord who overcomes, in a Cause that no obstacle, foe or, even death itself, can resist, we become more spiritually formidable than we ever thought possible! Fini
Genesis 21 records Isaac’s birth. Genesis 22 records God’s TEST of Abraham by demanding Isaac’s sacrifice. A point of emphasis, however. A vast difference exists between satan’s temptations and God’s tests. James 1:13-15 makes it clear that temptation comes from satan, appeals to our fallen nature leads us from God. Testing comes from God, appeals to our converted nature and intends to PROVE, in order to FORTIFY to INVINCIBILITY, our commitment to God. In a sentence, then, temptation seeks to lead us from God while testing aims to increase our dependence on God.
On my walk before daylight a few mornings ago, two bright stars—Venus, the Bright Morning Star the brightest—appeared in the southern sky. They seemed no farther apart than a jet plane couldn’t cover in a few hours. In reality they were millions of miles apart. Our mental measure and celestial distances account for the difference. Just so does God’s perspectives and ours differ, with his eternal and ours only historical. And, as Isaiah 55:8-9 says, never shall the twain meet; and never, ever will ours be equal to or superior to God’s.
Thus, God tested Abraham’s faith in order to build and increase it. His specific instructions left no doubt. Abraham would TAKE his son, his only son, Isaac, whom he loved. He would GO to the region of Moriah. THERE, on a mountain God would identify, Abraham would offer Isaac as a sacrifice.
Remember, God loathed human sacrifice as satanic. He never had, and never would, order it. He used the figure only to test the depth of Abraham’s faith: how far would the 121 year-old prophet go without questioning or disobeying God?
In addition, 121 years before, and Isaac not yet conceived, God had established circumcision as the basis of his covenant with Abraham and his descendants Genesis 17. On the very day God established the covenant, Abraham at 99, Ishmael at 13 and all males in Abraham’s camp, were circumcised. That would seem the end of God’s conditions since Abraham fulfilled every one. End Part II
The criminal element always tests society’s patience. It seizes every opportunity to expand and proliferate. Law enforcement has historically limited and punished lawbreakers—to preserve values that hold society together. Beginning in the 1960’s, to this day, Americans decided to become tolerant of moral misbehaviors, not guardians and defenders of Biblical values. Thus we have made it harder for policemen to enforce laws and easier for judges to release felons.
That’s a colossal sin for which we have yet to pay the ultimate penalty. For thinking to pacify the forces of wickedness only increases their lust for expression. Whose demands only increase with every effort of pacification!
Children also test any limits parents place on their behavior. Only foolish parents allow that freedom. For parents alone can determine when and where to draw the line on their offspring. And, usually, the sooner the better. And, with good results, sooner drawing tight limits and loosening them as children show maturity. All of this to establish values that hold families together.
Like children with their parents, human beings, many of them Christian, often test God: by tolerating false teaching or living a false example. By seeing how far from grace they can fall without falling into irretrievable sin. By seeing how much of the world we can welcome into the church without losing its spiritual integrity. All in an effort to be independent of God while claiming his favor. All to be at peace with a culture God has ordered us to combat, correct, convert and destroy. End Part I