Sometimes the Lord makes incredible requests of us, in order to help us to see where He is on our priority list and to lead us to make Him number one in our lives. That was happening in the story of Abraham and Isaac – God was testing Abraham’s love and prioritization for Him.
Can you imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind? He had waited all those years (until he was 100 years old) for the long-promised son. He had grown to love Isaac with all of his heart, and Isaac was also his sole heir. Then again, this command was contrary to everything Abraham knew about God and the will of God. This was the type of request that a heathen god would make, not the God that Abraham knew and served. What was God doing here? Why was God testing Abraham like this?
Someone said, “A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.” The fact is, God does “test” us from time to time to help us ascertain where we are in our walk with Him. Oftentimes the devil tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but at the same time God sometimes tests us to bring out the best in us. That was what God was doing with Abraham.
Question – “Has the Lord ever tested your faith in Him or your commitment to Him? In what ways has He tested you, and have you passed those tests?” The Lord oftentimes tests us to help us discover whether He is first, middle or last in the priorities of our lives, and those tests are always very challenging for us.
Do you suppose that Abraham was on the verge of making an idol of his son? He had waited so long for him, prayed so hard for him, and hoped so mightily for him. Perhaps all of Abraham’s hopes, ambitions, and dreams now depended upon this son Isaac, rather that the Lord who had blessed him with Isaac.
The Bible teaches that to really walk with the Lord in a powerful and intimate way, He must be #1 in our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all of these other things shall be added unto you.” He also said in Matthew 10:37, “He who loves a son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me.” Then, in Matthew 22:37 Jesus said that we are to “love the Lord God with all our heart, soul and mind.” The Lord expects to be first and foremost in our lives – and when we let anyone or anything assume His place of priority in our lives, He will promptly call that to our attention, and give us the opportunity through some sort of “test” to re-prioritize Him in our lives.
Second Question – “What kind of conversation would you have had with the Lord and others if you had been Abraham – and how would you have responded if you had been Abraham?” When we read Genesis 22:3, Abraham’s obedience is simply amazing. He did exactly what the Lord instructed him to do, hoping all the while that the Lord would rescind His request. Then, on top of that mountain where Abraham was prepared to do the unthinkable, the Lord stopped his hand and provided a fitting replacement sacrifice. With his faith strengthened even more (and with great relief in his heart), Abraham named that place, Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide). Abraham had passed his great test!
As you pray today: 1) Ask the Lord to show you what “test” you are going through, and ask Him to show you the reasons for that “test”; 2) Ask the Lord to help you to pass the “test” and to prioritize Him as the Lord of your life; and 3) Ask the Lord to empower you daily to keep Him number one in your life. And remember, God will always provide what He’s promised to provide in our lives, as long as He is first and foremost in our lives (Genesis 22:9, 14-18)!