April 9th, 2022 – VERY Early Morning
“Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.'” ~Genesis 22:1-2
There are many different thoughts that could come to our minds when we read this passage, but we must temper those thoughts with all of the realities of the nature of God that can be seen throughout Genesis 1-21, let alone throughout the entire Bible. As we do, it becomes clear that the LORD is most interested in Abraham’s relationship with Himself.
Why do I say such a thing? Look at the passage again… We are told that God tested Abraham. The Hebrew word that is translated “tested” has the idea behind it of proving something (for instance, “to smell” or “to try by the smell”). God wasn’t tempting Abraham or leading him into sin; rather, He was simply proving Abraham’s obedience and loyalty to the LORD. Notice how the LORD goes to great lengths in His instructions regarding Abraham’s son: He describes him as “your only son, whom you love”. Abraham loved Isaac and, since Ishmael had been sent away, had him as not only his promised son, but also as his only son. Now, the LORD was commanding Abraham to give up that son of promise – that only son, that loved son – as an offering to Him.
God isn’t cruel and He certainly didn’t want a human burnt offering; He is always good and He is always righteous, so what was He driving at?
“He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.'” This verse, found later in the same chapter as the one above, reveals the answer to our question: The LORD wanted nothing to be in the way of His relationship with Abraham; He wanted to test (prove) Abraham’s faith, trust, obedience, and loyalty to Himself. Abraham passed with flying colors and his understanding of who God is and his trust in Him was strengthened as an end result (Lord willing, we will discuss that more in the next devotional). Yet, if the LORD hadn’t commanded him down that road in the first place (or if he refused to obey), he wouldn’t have experienced the growth and blessing that followed.
It’s possible that you feel as though the LORD has led you down a down a road that seems pointless, painful, and cruelly confusing. My friend, the truly best thing you can do is to trust Him and to walk in obedience to what He has already commanded you. He is at work, removing the road blocks and barriers that separate us from Him; He loves us and cares more deeply for us than we can ever imagine. Just as He intervened in the nick of time in Abraham’s situation, we can rest in the fact that He WILL do what is perfect in our own circumstances as we faithfully submit to Him. He loves us and He desires a pure, holy, sweet, and satisfying relationship with His children. The question is: Do you trust Him enough to prove you?