Today’s reading: Genesis 22-24.
Most people don’t like to be tested. Think of school when you didn’t know the material and were likely to get a bad grade. How about work situations where you were being evaluated constantly on your results? Then there are life tests when tragedy strikes, perhaps the loss of a spouse or loss of a job, and you wonder how you will make it from day to day.
And then there are the times when God tests you.
Now, I’m not talking about temptation. The Bible states directly that God tempts no man, but that our temptations arise out of our own desires. The tests that I’m referring to are more like the road test you give a car, or the assays you put minerals through to determine their value, or the trial someone goes through to determine the truth of their actions or words.
Have you been tested by God? What was it like?
Abraham’s test comes when God tells him to take his beloved son, Isaac, the child of the promise, and offer him as a sacrifice. What strikes me most about Abraham is his immediate obedience (but God stops him when Abraham proves that he is willing to go all the way with the command). His obedience flows out of his faith that God will redeem the situation, even if it means bringing his son back from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).
What strikes me about God is that he planned this very test for himself. He offered up his only son. He carried it all the way through, he brought his son back from the dead, and by this sacrifice God the father and God the son provided escape from our captivity to sin.
What tests are you going through now? Are you trusting God, doubting him, or experiencing another emotion?
Now this obedience of Abraham in offering up Isaac is a lively representation, (1.) Of the love of God to us, in delivering up his only-begotten Son to suffer and die for us, as a sacrifice. It pleased the Lord himself to bruise him. See Isaiah 53:10; Zechariah 13:7. Abraham was obliged, both in duty and gratitude, to part with Isaac, and parted with him to a friend but God was under no obligations to us, for we were enemies. (2.) Of our duty to God, in return for that love. We must tread in the steps of this faith of Abraham. God, by his word, calls us to part with all for Christ,–all our sins, though they have been as a right hand, or a right eye, or an Isaac–all those things that are competitors and rivals with Christ for the sovereignty of the heart (Luke 14:26) and we must cheerfully let them all go. God, by his providence, which is truly the voice of God, calls us to part with an Isaac sometimes, and we must do it with a cheerful resignation and submission to his holy will, 1 Samuel 3:18. – Matthew Henry