Tests prove knowledge and acumen. They indicate whether we are ready to proceed to the next level of learning. Are you glad your dentist had to pass some tests? Are you glad the pilot of your plane had to pass some tests? We all face tests in life. God never instigates evil or tempts us with sin but he does want us to pass the tests.
I wish life’s tests came with a serious of beeps like the emergency broadcast system, but most slip into our world without warning. We pass or fail and realize down the road that what we had faced was a test. Abraham went through many tests, some he passed and some he failed.
The Test of Change – God spoke to Abraham and asked him to move. Genesis 12:1-4 Abraham went as the Lord had told him. He passed the test! Interestingly, his father Terah, had made a dramatic move sometime before. He gathered the family, left their home and set out for Canaan, the land of promise. But along the way they settled in Harran which literally means the place of the dead. When God calls you to change, don’t settle for half-way-there.
The Test of Separation – When God called Abraham, he told him to separate himself from his father’s household, but Abraham did not pass the test. He took his nephew Lot with him, which caused all kinds of trouble. One of the biggest reasons we don’t go to the next level is we are hanging out with the wrong people. Moving forward with God may mean pulling away from relationships that hinder our progress.
The Test of Reliance – God told Abraham that he would become the father of many nations. Unfortunately, it took way too long for Abraham to become the father of just one child. Eventually he got tired of waiting and tried to make it happen on his own. The decisions he made created a huge mess that is still causing problems in our world today. Saying yes to God means saying yes to his will, his way, his timing and his power working in and through us. Philippians 1:6 NIV
The Test of Trust & Devotion – Got put Abraham through the ultimate test when he asked him to offer his son Isaac on the altar. What a brutal request. We know, thousands of years later, that God was using Abraham to foretell the sacrifice of his beloved son, Jesus. Abraham had no idea at the time. He set out to do what God had instructed proving that he was fully devoted to following God. God sent an angel to intervene and provided lamb for the offering. (Genesis 22)
So often God speaks in soundbites – go, come, follow me. The details are mystery. We want to know who, what, when, where and why. We want explanation before trust. Passing the test means choosing trust before explanation.