Having Your Faith Tested

Have you ever had someone promise you something then not follow through?

Painful isn’t it.  

There is something about someone promising something that makes us want it even more.  Maybe it’s the guarantee of it or the anticipation of its arrival that sets us ablaze with excitement.

In Genesis 12 God makes a promise to Abraham.  God was true to His promise but there was a challenging test involved.  God promises the 75-year-old, childless Abraham that He would make a great nation from him.  We read again in Genesis 17 that God reaffirms this promise to Abraham who at this time is now 99.  Eventually, at 100 years old, Abraham welcomes Isaac into the world.

We can learn so much about God from this story. Through this story, we learn that God is not bound by time, especially our timing! We also learn that God is faithful to His promises. The building of a great nation began through the birth of Isaac.

But then the unthinkable happens.  God instructs Abraham to sacrifice his son.  Brutal!  

All that time of waiting and now God asks Abraham to give up the one thing God promised him.  It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why would God fulfil His promise only to take it away?

There have been two significant things in my life that God has asked me to lay down that I really struggled with.  The first was having children.  God asked me to give that desire, longing and dream to Him.  It was incredibly painful to do, and I have to admit I fought not to do it.  But in the end I knew it was right to hand it over to God.  The second thing God has asked me to lay down was ministry.  On both occasions, I remember not wanting to do it and I remember the vulnerability of giving them to God.  I remember the time, the place and how I felt as though it was yesterday.

Has God asked you to lay something down?

I wonder how Abraham felt as he packed his bags for that trip to the mountains of Moriah.  I wonder how his heart ached as he traveled for three days then saw the mountains in the distance. I wonder how he felt as Isaac asked where the sheep was for the sacrifice? 

What incredible obedience Abraham showed to lay his son on top of the wood, tie his hands and feet and then slowly pick up the knife.  I can’t imagine what that felt like for Abraham.

At the last fleeting moment, the angel of the Lord calls to Abraham and tells him not to go through with it and instead provides Abraham a sheep to sacrifice.  Talk about down to the wire!

Abraham is then praised for not withholding his son because of his fear of the Lord.

Sometimes things, even good things can become a priority in our lives. I know that my journey to fall pregnant was all-consuming for me. The trouble is that these things can become more important than God in our lives. Essentially, they become idols.

God provides opportunities in our lives to test us just like He did with Abraham whether or not we are willing to let go of them for Him.

Is God asking you to lay something down in your life right now and you are struggling to do so?  You may like to think about how important this thing or person has become in your life and if in fact they have become an idol for you? 

God didn’t test Abraham for his own entertainment or out of a sense of cruelty; God tested Abraham because He wanted to see where his heart was.  If God was going to make Abraham into a great nation, He needed someone who feared the Lord and was totally obedient to Him. 

If you are being prompted by God to lay something down right now it may be because God is looking for your obedience in order to do incredible things in your future.

 

Lord,

Search my heart and if there is anything I need to surrender to You would You please bring that to mind for me now.

Amen



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