MAJOR TESTS USUALLY COME UNEXPECTEDLY! Life is going good and we are blessed. Then something happens that we weren’t expecting. Something major; something that could be life changing occurs. So it was with biblical Abraham. He was a wealthy man. God also had given him the blessing of a son in his old age and life seemed very good. Then God decided to put Abraham to a test, a major test of faith. “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah, Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’” (Genesis 22:1-2 NIV). I don’t know how you and I would respond. After all it is God giving Abraham the directions. And there aren’t multiple choices in the directions. And neither does God invite discussion. And Abraham is aware that for this event to take place Isaac is going to die at his hands and then he is going to burn him up. Could there be a bigger test for Abraham than this? And could this test have been more unexpected considering that this son came as a “miracle” gift from God?
It has been my observation and experience in life that most major tests come into our life unexpectedly and suddenly. An auto accident, a fall, a stroke, heart attack, earthquake, wild fire, financial collapse, death of a loved one, or loss of a job may occur at any moment. No warning. No preparation. Suddenly our normal life is interrupted and we are faced with a major challenge. Such was Abraham’s test. As Christians we know that nothing comes into our life without God allowing it. And we know that God will not only allow us to triumph over the situation but will in fact empower and equip us to do so. The Apostle Paul said, “No temptation (test) has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear, But when you are tempted (tested), he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).
I think Abraham would have liked to have read Paul’s verse in his day but he didn’t. Abraham could only rely on what he knew of God up to this point in his life and how God had been true to His Word, actions and blessings to him. “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac (Genesis 22:3 NIV)” and he went to do what God had instructed him to do. You know the event. Just as Abraham was about to kill his son and offer him as a sacrifice God showed up and said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12). God knew Abraham’s heart before this event since God knows all things. Now Abraham knew also. Sometime in each of our lives the major test will come unexpectedly and then we will have to look at our own hearts and see the reality of our own trust in God and His care and love for us. Like Abraham we need to be building our trust in God so that when that day comes we will pass the test as Abraham did.