March 27, 2022
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Testing of Your Faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
The devil tempts us to do evil, to cause us to stumble. God tests us to do good, to cause us to stand, to make our faith strong and pure. (See 1 Peter 1:6-7.) God means you no harm; He wants you to understand whether or not you have the real thing.
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:1-2).
Can you imagine what Abraham felt? But they came to the place, and Abraham built an altar. He bound Isaac and picked up the knife, to kill him.
But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son (Genesis 22:11-13).
God is going to test your faith by asking you to do something that may surprise you. God had given Abraham a wonderful son, and had said, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Now God seemed to be asking for all of it back.
Are you able to give your blessings back to God? That is what Abraham was asked to do. See if your faith can pass the test.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son” (Hebrews 11:17). Why the test? Could it have been that Abraham was coming to love Isaac more than God, the gift more than the Giver?
God does not want “a place.” God does not want prominence. God deserves and demands preeminence in your life. He will not be a part-time God with a duplex for a throne. (See Isaiah 42:8.)
“‘If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart’” (Malachi 2:2).
It was not wrong for Abraham to love Isaac. God wanted to know, “Abraham, do you love Me more than you love Isaac?” The test of faith is primarily between two loves: what we love dearly, and what we must love supremely. Do you have any love that is greater than your love for Jesus Christ? If so, God’s message to you is, “Put it on the altar and sacrifice it.”
Is there anything you would not give back to God if He asked you for it? Anything God has given you, you can trust Him with. Anything God has not given to you, you do not need.
God had given Abraham a purpose. Abraham said, “Ok, I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to have a son, and he’s going to have sons, and sons, and I’m going to have many people of faith for my descendants.”
Now God said, “Put it to death.”
Faith is not believing God in spite of the evidence; faith is obeying God in spite of the consequences. Obedience is great proof of our trust and faith. There is only one alternative to obedience: disobedience.
God’s promise to Abraham said, “By Isaac, you will be blessed.” (See Genesis 21:12, Hebrews 11:18).
How did Abraham obey, then? By “concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham had already learned that God is the God of the impossible. God had given him a son when he was one hundred years of age and his wife, Sarah, was ninety. Abraham did not know how God would do it, he simply knew that God would. And God did.
The heart of this message is: if you love it, let it go. If it is yours, you will get it back. If not, you will be saved from a fate worse than death, holding onto something that impairs your spiritual life. (See Mark 8:35.)
After God gave him back his son, “Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided’” (Genesis 22:14). The ram that took Isaac’s place came no sooner, nor later, than it was needed. God is always on time. Remember: we do not live by explanations, but by promises.
You might not like this message. We don’t want this kind of test! But as Dr. Warren Weirsbe said, “Faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.” God wants you to be strong in faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6a).