We all go through testing time, also in the Bible we see that God is testing us to see whether we are really giving our heart to him. One of the young men from the church came and he was sharing about his life. He was a young boy of 25 years, liked a girl and he was not able to get married. Today we are going to see from the scriptures how to face those tests in life and how the men in the Bible face those tests and came out successfully. This young man was feeling that all his dreams are shattered. He is living a good Christian life but his face told me why God is allowing these things to happen in my life. If we love God and be righteous, Bible tells that God allow every thing to happen in our life for our own good. When we face those tests and come out through the fire, God has many things to accomplish through our life. I told him that so that he can understand what God wants him to do.
Sometimes what we go through in our life seems to be big. Let us see what this man in the Bible went through. This is about Abraham. God chose him. He was ordinary man like you and me. He had his own weaknesses. He didn't have any children. He was getting aged and his wife was getting older. After many prayers God promised him a son and then Isaac was born. And God promised Abraham through this Isaac I am going to increase your generation. God said that He is going to bless his generation like the stars of the earth. But God wanted Abraham to totally surrender his heart to God. Not Abraham's plan but Gods plan should be accomplished in Abraham's life and also God wanted him to surrender to Gods plan. God tested Abraham to accomplish his plan.
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.
2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,
7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.
12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."
As we read we are filled with emotions about, what a father can go through during the testing time. There are many examples in the Bible tested by God. God allowed Satan to test Job, Satan took everything from Job including his wealth and health, and still Job came out of the test successfully. We see Daniel being tested in the Bible, King Nebucadnezar stopped Daniel worshiping the Lord since Daniel was a sincere worshiper of God. King tells Daniel if he worships the lord he will put him in the lions den. God is allowing the king to put Daniel in the den of lions. And we see that Daniel comes out the lions den with out any harm even the lions do not harm him. Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego were Daniel's friend's, ordinary people they had great faith. They were asked not to worship the lord. Still they worshiped the true living God so they were asked to be thrown into the burning furnace. But we read that not even a single piece of cloth was burnt and they came out of the furnace victoriously. We read that how Jesus was born as a human, tested in many ways and he went in to different trails to go to cross and finally he was dead and got resurrected victoriously.
Are we ready to go through the test that God is allowing in our Christian life? As a Christian we know that we should love our God with all our heart mind soul and strength. We cannot call ourselves as a Christian with out all this. We need to love our God at all circumstances, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. If we have to put this command in our daily Christian life, how do we go through different test in our life? If want to live a true Christian life, then God has all the right to test our heart and to see how we come out in following his commandment. Abraham facing his test in the mountain is one of the known passages in the Bible; no other man was called to face this kind of test. Abraham had to sacrifice his own possession, God given blessing son Isaac. God said, "I am going to multiply your generation through your son Isaac". What God promised and what was happening to Isaac was totally different. In spite of all this Abraham was ready to obey God's word. He was able to love God even at that most difficult situation. He never questioned God. He faithfully submitted and surrendered what ever he had to God. He never had any bitterness or question against God. We can see him as a worshipper of God.
We have to go through many tests in our life because God has great expectation towards us. As human being we never want to go through such trails in our life, we try to avoid those tests. We all want to be comfortable in our lives. We go through the temptation of running away from difficult situations and hide somewhere when we cannot face situations we need to face in our life. But when we study the characters of all men in the Bible, who went through the tests successfully and came out glorifying God, we see that running away is not the solution but facing the test through the help of God on our side is the solution. Abraham could face the test successfully, when we read the Bible we see that Abraham went through lot of emotions. It was not easy to overcome the test. But when we read, it looks very easy. What made so easy for him? Lets talk about few steps he took in his life which helped him to face this test.
1. Absolute belief in God
Hebrews chapter 11 talks about faith, believing in God. God rewards those who believe in him. We see in the book of Genesis that Abraham totally believes in God's promise. We need to believe that God will do what ever he has promised. To believe in this we need to have great relationship with God. We can see that Abraham and God were good friends. We see that God speaks to Abraham frequently about the plans he had for him. It doesn't mean that he was perfect and holy that is why God spoke to him, he did many mistakes in his life. Abraham had his own weakness in being deceitful, still his strength is totally believing in God.
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
He totally believed in Gods power. To have this complete belief we need to have great relationship with God. God is always looking for worshippers whom he can build relationship.
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
True worshippers will worship him in truth and in spirit, these are the kind of worshippers God seeks. True worshippers will worship God in spirit and in truth. These are the kind of worshippers God is looking for to have relationship. This morning how is your relationship with God? Are we connecting with God every single day in our life? Do we worship God in spirit? Every thing is possible only when we have great relationship with God. When we have great relationship with God our belief in God will be increasing. With this belief in God Abraham was willing to do anything in his life. His faith was growing and he was ready to do anything for God.
God said Abraham to take his son and go to this mountain and he was ready to go. Bible says early next morning he got up saddled his donkey, he took with him two of his servant and his son Isaac and he set out for the place where God called him. He believed in God so much that he was ready to obey God at any point of time, because of the great relationship that he had with God it was not very hard or difficult for him to go through the testing time. Early in the morning he was ready, he called Isaac, he called two servants, took the woods for sacrificing Isaac, he took the donkey because he had to travel long way to the mountain.
Due to this belief he had in God, God always revealed his plans to Abraham. He said He is going to bless Abraham with a son and he said I am going to increase your generation. Till his old age God was communicating to Abraham about the blessings He is going to give Abraham, because of the relationship that Abraham had with God. God is telling Abraham, take your son your only son whom you love; God knows how much Abraham loved his son. God wanted to test him through somebody who Abraham loved the most, we see here that God knew who Abraham loved the most.
Think about the testing time we go through, who do you love the most. Bible says love your God with all your heart mind soul and strength, who do we love the most in this world? This question can make everyone to think deeply about their life, what is that I like the most in this world, my house, my possessions, my wife, my children, my family. I want to protect them, they are more precious to me.
What if the test comes, where I have to give up all those things? Will I be ready to face those kind of test? That is what happened to the rich young man, who came to Jesus. He asked what he should do to inherit the kingdom of God. God said, give up all your wealth and follow me. This one thing he lacked, he could not give up. Later Jesus said, 'unless you give up everything you cannot be my disciples'.
Also the Bible says, 'if any one want to be my disciple he needs to hate his family, father, mother, children, even your own life to be my disciple'. All these things really mean, when we say we love God with all our heart. Also we see that God was not specific to him where he has to go. V2. God said, "Take your only son whom you love and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him as a burnt offering in the mountains I will tell you".
Some times God does not reveal the whole thing but he will watch us how we are going. We see here Abraham passed the first test even though he don't know which mountain he should go, but he went ready with everything for the sacrifice. God did not made it clear to Abraham why He is doing all this. Neither God told him nor Abraham asked God, there is no question of why. So many times when we face test we have many questions of why. I have been a good Christian always we are tempted to look at others, I am better than others but why I have to go through this test there are many questions rise in our hearts. God was not very clear to Abraham why he should sacrifice. God wanted obedience.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We have asked many questions of why to God but only time will tell why we go through, what we are going through. One thing is clear through the scripture that in everything God works for the good if you love him.
The other thing we can see in Abraham is, he was willing to face God with proper preparation. It involves preparation to meet the challenges from God. If we have to face different test that God is going to allow us to go through: we have to be spiritually prepared to go through the test it may come in any way. What I went through may not be the last test. My family and myself may go through different test. All of us will go through different testing times in our life. God helps us to mature through the testing times but when you are prepared spiritually we will be able to face those tests in godly way. Even though God is asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Abraham, he was willing to obey by getting up early in the morning with all the preparation of sacrifice to go to the mountain with out any emotions. Abraham was spiritually well prepared to go through the test because of his great relationship with God.
Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Abraham had so much faith on God even if I sacrifice my son God has the power to raise him from the dead. He was spiritually prepared nothing could stop him in vs.2 when God said you should sacrifice, in his heart he already gave Isaac to God. What ever he was asked he would have given. Today we need to check our hearts what kind of faith we have in God. Do we believe in God? Are we spiritually prepared to face those kind of test in our lives? Our hearts need to be prepared for this not just externally spiritual and we have to be very godly all the time.
Sometimes we may tell, 'I love God, I am ready to do anything to God, even if God tests me I am ready to face', but are we ready to participation in the final test. By seeing Abraham's obedience and faith, God could have said, 'I believe you, I know your heart' and He could have stopped Abraham even to go to the mountain. God wanted to see till the last stage, till he raised his hand to sacrifice. Only at that time the angel spoke. God wants our participation practically.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
The above passage says to the Christians, God is pleased with when we offer our body as a living sacrifices nothing in this world will be above than what we want to give it to God. This participation must be willing and complete. It is important for God to test our life other wise our Christian life has no meaning. If every thing is going to be easy our Christian life has no meaning and it is not real. There will be testing time in our Christian life. This morning I want to leave you with few scriptures to think about why we go through testing comes and how it comes?
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
As Christians we need to joyfully invite the testing times in our life because only during testing times our faith is tested, we persevere in our life and this perseverance brings maturity to our Christian life and we will not be lacking in any thing. We may have money or not, we may have comforts or not or we may have earthly things or not we will be complete. Spiritually we will be joyful and we will be ready to face any kinds of trails in our life.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
In conclusion what is the key of success spiritually, it is completely surrendering to God that is what Abraham did. He believed spiritually in Gods power, he did spiritual preparation personally. For this we need each other in the church. It is very difficult to face such tests on our own. With Gods help we can face any kind of test victoriously.