A Song of Testing

While I am all up for proclaiming the blessings of one of the greatest men that ever lived a life of faith, I will be terribly surprised to hear anyone singing the reverse:  “Abraham’s tests are mine…I will be tested in the morning, noon and evening…”The greatest blessings follow a test of faith. 

Abraham passed through some hard tests. God said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 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.” I do not even wish to imagine how some other person would have reacted to this instruction.  I shudder to even go as far as asking you to sacrifice a child. Would you sacrifice your jacket for a toothless and tobacco stained homeless man huddled in an alleyway on a cold wintry evening? Would you burn the extra petrol to pick up a fellow church goer from their homes and bring them to church every Sunday without expecting anything in return?  Would you give up your food after a long dry fast to a hungry person? Isaac was no ordinary child. He was a child that Abraham and Sarah had fasted, prayed and requested for all their lives. So long was the wait they endured, that they had completely given up on the promise that the child would come.

In fact, when God told them that he would give them a son; they burst into hysterical laughter. Really! It was amusing to their ears that Sarah, at 90 years old grey haired, wrinkly skinned  and post-menopausal – would actually bear a child. But it happened, and what more? God was now requesting for Abraham to sacrifice that child back to him. Unbelievably, Abraham did not even argue. He took that child, his only son, and proceeded to do as God requested.

Thank God that God was fast enough to intervene, for as far as Abraham was concerned, that precious child was already dead in his heart. God was so moved by this singular act of faith that He swore by Himself (for there is none greater) to bless Abraham. After a quick study of Abraham’s character, I was shocked to discover that God tested him at least nine times. Nine! Some of us are on our first little test and we already feel like asking Jesus to return! Abraham learned patience through his testing, and so should we.  Tests should be “bread” for us (Numbers 14:7-9). We should grow stronger in faith as we pass each test. The test does not make us strong, but God’s Word makes us strong as we use it to overcome the test.  And so, the very next time a choir leader raises that same song, think for a minute about the test that preceded the tune before raising your voices to join the happy song.