Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:1-23:20 / Matthew 8:23-9:13 / Psalm 7:10-17
The words, “This is a test,” followed by an alarming buzzing sound is a familiar noise heard by television viewers when their telecasts are interrupted by the Emergency Broadcast System. The system is used to alert viewers of national security threats or emergencies. The announcement makes it very clear that, “This is only a test…”
Tests are designed to determine our knowledge and understanding of things taught to us. They determine what we know and what we do not know. Not everyone is a good “test taker” and tests vary from written or oral, true or false, multiple choice or essay. I often appreciated a “grading curve” and “extra credit”!
A test doesn’t last a lifetime but our lifetime is filled with a variety of tests. Just ask Abraham… God tested him many times but the greatest test he ever faced, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:2)
Abraham was familiar with the voice of God and the direction of God in His life. He obediently left the Ur of the Chaldeans and ventured to a promised land that did not have a defined location. There, he found God faithful and God gave him a promised son, Isaac. God made a covenant with Abraham and said Isaac would be the first of multiplied thousands of descendants. Even though this request by God to sacrifice Isaac was alarming, Abraham had faith in God’s promises and early the next morning set off with Isaac to the region of Moriah.
Even though human sacrifices were practiced by the Canaanites, this request was completely out of the character of God. This is the only time where man was asked by God to sacrifice a child. What would you do? I don’t believe I would be as obedient as Abraham and respond as quickly as he did. God would have to persuade me a little bit more!
Abraham walked blindly in God’s promises not knowing what He was orchestrating. Hebrews tell us that Abraham didn’t understand God’s purpose behind the test, and had reasoned that God would raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham even encouraged Isaac that God would provide a sacrifice; little did he know the prophetic truth that God would provide His own Son as a lamb sacrifice for the sins of man! God had a greater purpose for Abraham…it was only a test of faith because God would provide.
Every step up the mountain brought Abraham closer to God’s provision. They ascended up one side; God prepared a ram on the other side. As Abraham raised the knife to take Isaac's life, God called him and revealed to Abraham God’s provisional ram. Whatever tests you find yourself in…God knows what He is doing, you don’t. Just trust in His promises, purpose and provisions. He is faithful…It is only a test!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!