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When Faith Is Tested (Genesis 22:1-19)

Dr Daryl Miller, October 23, 2016
Part of the The Need for Tall Heroes series, preached at a Sunday Evening service

Title: When Faith Is Tested
Text: " By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Heb. 11:17?–?18 ).
Scripture Reading: Genesis 22:1 - 19
Tests, trials, worries, disappointments, and frustrations are a part of every human life. We read in the Scriptures that Abraham was tested by God to bring out the good that was in him and to give him a tremendous testimony before his contemporaries. The manner in which Abraham was tested reveals something unique about the God of the Hebrews.
Let us look at some of the ways we are tested.
I. People are tested by Satan.
When Satan puts a person to the test, he does so to bring out evil. His motive is to hurt and destroy. It is interesting to note that our Lord was tempted and was victorious over these temptations that were designed to destroy him and to wreck God’s great redemptive plan. Satan uses the same methods to tempt us today.

A. He promised Christ plenty if Christ would follow his suggestions (Matt. 4:3). People still desire pleasure, material goods, power, and other worldly things, and the devil has suggestions by which he promises us plenty.
B. He promises popularity and acceptance by our contemporaries if we follow his suggestions (Matt. 4:4?–?6). Satan suggested that Christ could accomplish his purpose by putting on an extravaganza. Satan comes to us with subtle suggestions that will lead us astray if we follow his guidance.
C. He comes to us with the promise of painless success if we will but follow his suggestions (Matt. 4:8?–?9). Satan was trying to tell Christ that it was unnecessary for him to suffer the ordeal of the cross in order to cause the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdom of God.
Satan comes to us with all kinds of suggestions for shortcuts and substitutes for the right way. When Satan puts us through a trial or test, it is always to hurt and destroy.
II. People are tested by people.
One of the highest faculties with which we are endowed is the capacity to make judgments.
A. A variety of tests is utilized to eliminate the incompetent and the counterfeit. Some method of testing must be used, or we can be destroyed by people who would deceive us.
B. A variety of tests is given to discover the capable and to reveal the genuine.
C. A variety of tests is used to evaluate progress toward a desired goal in training or in the struggle of life.
D. A variety of tests is applied to develop character and leadership potential. These tests are used in the business world, and they are also used in the spiritual realm.
III. People are tested by God.
God needs people on whom he can depend. God needs people with whom he can trust the rich gifts of the Spirit for the good of others. God may not immediately reveal his purpose for testing people, but we can be assured that he has their best interests at heart.
A. The tests that come from God are designed by his love for us (James 1:2). A test that comes from God is a vote of divine confidence in us and is motivated by his love for us as he seeks to build character in us.
B. The tests that come from God are never beyond our power to conquer with divine help (1 Cor. 10:13). When God leads us into a difficult spot, he always promises his presence with us and his power to assist us if we will but trust him and be faithful to him.
C. The tests that come from God enable us to live more abundantly and to serve more effectively. Abraham became a greater man because he was faithful to God when God put him to the test.
D. The tests that come from God speak powerfully to people who will listen.

1. God is faithful and dependable, and we can trust him to be with us in every test and trial.
2. God is gracious and merciful, and every test is designed to bring out the good in us.
3. The tests reveal that God requires our very best.
4. The tests reveal that God is wise because he gives an appropriate test for each of us.
5. The tests reveal that God has a redemptive purpose for each of us and that he wants to use us to be a blessing to others.
The test to which God put Abraham reveals that God wants our best, deserves our best, and always is near to us with purposes of love as we face these tests. This experience of Abraham reveals that God is the great giver and that we cannot outgive God.
When God comes to test us, let us trust him and obey him no matter what (Heb. 2:18).


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Genesis 22:1-19

1And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you, 6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. 15And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. 19So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba. (KJV)

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