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 NASB).
It would seem that the propensity of God to test His children is unloving. But in reality, it is one of the greatest demonstrations of His love for us.
God is not out to always give us the most comfortable life. If He was, we would grow soft, unusable, and inherently self-absorbed.
God made us in His image, and He is bound by His nature and purpose to return us there—to conform us (back) to the image of His Son.
There is much to be done in this work. He calls us, blesses us, loves us, saves us, comforts us.
But He also stretches us to try His glory out. The greatest attribute that must be developed in us is faith. It is the way in which we relate to God and the solitary way to be used to do the impossible.
In ever-increasing ways, God asks of us one thing after another. It often involves the surrender of things we hold most dear—things we depend on for life, things we feel we cannot live without.
Comfort, reputation, relationships, health, possessions—nothing is off limits, because any of these things can become gods to us. God knows that these things can become substitutes for Him and the ultimate objects of our faith.
He also knows the very best timing of these tests of faith. He understands precisely what we can bear, and He will never test us beyond our ability.
We resist these tests as intrusions, when we should welcome them as friends. Like a wise but strong coach, He is pushing us to greater heights of dependency and belief.
Along with calling us to faith, God is also our great Provider. He knew all along that He would not let Abraham carry this through. A lamb was in the thicket waiting.
At the exact moment when all of the good of this test was accomplished, God stayed Abraham’s hand, telling him that this was merely a test; He then turned the old warrior’s eyes to the provision that was already there—a provision that foreshadowed of the coming Lamb of God, our ultimate provision.
Here we are, thousands of years later, and Abraham’s faith is still teaching us. He has been used to train millions of believers.
And here we are, stunned at the faithfulness of Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Who Provides.
Father, thank You for being a testing God. Thank You for Your love that will not let me go … that will not let me settle for an independent, useless life … that constantly pushes me more and more into Your likeness and challenges me to greater and greater faith. Help me, Lord, to embrace this sovereign process. Help me to see Your test not as a punishment, but as an act of incredible love and essential training. And, Lord, give me grace today to pass the test and see Your provision.