Have you ever wondered why God would need to test us? I have. I think back to school, when the teacher would give us tests as a device to measure our progress in the subject matter. Why would God need to measure where I’m at? Doesn’t He know everything already? Isn’t He omniscient?
His word does comment on this:
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2, NKJV).
Still, why? Why would He need to come up with a test to find out what’s in our hearts? Can’t He just use His X-ray vision, look inside of us, and instantly come up with an answer? Tests are grueling! Often even painful! Why do we have to go through this stuff?
Holy Spirit was talking to me about this recently. I was in the middle of an intense workout, and He chose that moment to drop into my spirit something that amazed me. (Yes, He likes to speak to me while I’m exercising to Jillian Michaels videos. He’ll communicate with us Spirit-to-spirit ANY TIME if we are tuned in and looking for it!)
As He so often does, He whispered a verse to me and began to explain it. This time the Scripture I heard clearly on the inside of me was, “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen. 22:12, NKJV).
He was initiating a conversation with me about Abraham’s ultimate test, and what it meant to Him.
The familiar tale unfolds like this: God asks Abraham for his heart’s treasure, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Abraham immediately obeys. The opening line of the story lets you know right off that the narrative that follows is about a test. “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham…” (v. 1a)
But again, why? Did God need “test results” to figure out if Abraham was devout? The Supreme Creator exclaimed when the deed was done, “Now I know that you fear Me!”
Lord, did You not know before that moment, that Abraham feared You? In Your majestic omniscience, had You not already gathered that he loved and reverenced You? Don’t You already know that we love You, without testing us in such extreme ways?
Yes. God knew. And He knows. But foreknowledge is never the same as experiential knowledge. God wanted to experience Abraham’s passion in the deepest way possible. Head knowledge was not enough. He, too, longed for heart knowledge of His covenant partner’s love.
Abraham could have said no. God would have respected his no. He respects our no, each and every time we are not willing to go all the way there with Him. Our free will is completely intact, and He will never, ever violate it. But Abraham said YES, and that stole God’s heart away completely!
To be continued tomorrow!
What are your thoughts on Abraham offering Isaac to God? What implications does this story have for our lives today?