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Tests are Unavoidable

Matt Hagee

All followers of Christ Jesus are tested. All are "tempted" from time to time. It is very important for a Believer to recognize that the "Tester" and "tempter" are two different entities!

God tests. The devil tempts.

In many people's lives, there is a "big test" that comes, with the final outcome being that life AFTER the test is not the same as life before the test. The test definitively changes things, and in a way that is ultimately positive and with eternal benefit. Genesis 22 gives us the greatest understanding a person can get in the Old Testament of what it meant to God the Father to ask His only begotten Son, Jesus, to go to the Cross. It tells us that God knows about sorrow and human suffering. It tells us how much God trusted Jesus to fulfill God’s plan for Him.

Genesis 22 also presents to us Abraham’s “big test.” At this point, Abraham has been in close relationship with God for fifty years! He has heard from God on a number of occasions – God’s voice is not strange to him. He has come to know that God is always faithful to His promises, and always exacting when it comes to obedience. All of the tests prior to this one were for the strengthening of Abraham's faith and relationship with God. They all led up to this event in the life of Abraham and Isaac.

It is also important to recognize that, as a general principle throughout God's Word, God does not test a person who is growing in their faith before GOD knows that the person is ready to complete the test in a victorious manner! That should give greater comfort to every person who feels as if he or she is being tested today. We must never lose sight of the truth that God is never surprised. He has a plan and purpose that is unfolding at all times – in your life, and in the course of history.

Genesis 22:1-5

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" and he said, "Here I am." Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

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 the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

The ultimate purpose of God’s tests is to train us to trust God – and to do so quickly and absolutely. Why? So we can receive fullness that God has for us.

THERE ARE FOUR MAJOR THINGS TO SEE IN THIS CHAPTER:

  • Moriah means “foreseen of Jehovah.” God has already seen what will happen at Moriah. He not only has seen the physical mountain that He created. He has seen the meaning of the place. God has already seen every place of testing you will every experience. He knows what we will need when we get there, and what we will learn, and how we will live after the outcome of our Moriah experience.
  • This is a personal test that only Abraham knows. He has not revealed to Isaac what is going to happen. He did not tell Sarah why he was going on a trip with Isaac. God may be leading you into a testing time. You are the only person who needs to know what is coming, for you ultimately are the only person God is testing.
  • Faith is a combination of TRUST and OBEDIENCE. If a person wants to demonstrate his faith, he must trust in the Lord and obey what God tells him to do. God told Abraham what he was to do – make a burnt offering. Abraham responded by splitting the wood for the altar.
  • Tests are related to the promises of God to your life. Abraham knew that God had promised him heirs through Isaac. If that was going to happen- and Abraham had no doubt that it would happen – then Isaac was going to have to survive this “burnt offering” test in order to bear children. Abraham certainly didn’t know how this might happen, but he believed with a rock-solid belief that it would happen.

CONSIDER AND DISCUSS

  • How does knowing these four things relate to your current time of testing?
  • In looking back over your life, do you see how God brought you through a “big test?” What happened?
  • If you have not yet experienced something you consider to be a “big test,” do you feel more ready to face the challenge of such a test? How so?

VERSES TO CONSIDER

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

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