And God said to Abraham, “Take 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.”
God here asks Isaac to kill his one and only son to test him. It is interesting to note that God decided to test him AFTER he had received the promise of the covenant from God. While God’s promise was given unconditionally, and by grace, He required Abraham to be proven worthy of the calling. Not worthy in the sense that he had to earn the promises of the covenant, but a worthy response to what God had already given him.
And God would use that response to gauge whether Abraham had really received it.
Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” vv 9-11
Abraham pasts the test! But by what measure does God use to give him the passing grade?
By the fact that Abraham did not withhold anything from God! You see, when God expected Abraham to live by faith in his promises, he required a full faith. A faith that does withhold anything from the Lord- everything he owned, everything that he was, even if it means his most treasured possession. In Abraham’s case, it was his one and only son, Isaac.
And God knew that if Abraham was willing to give Him his most treasured possession, Abraham would hold nothing else from the Lord. Abraham is now proven to have a full faith in God.
“Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” vv 16-17
God again confirms his covenant that he had with Abraham. Again, this is not the first time He says this, as He says this in Genesis 13 and 17. But he clarifies that He is giving it now because Abraham was proven worthy to receive it after his faith had been tested. Abraham’s actions proved him to be a man who lived by faith in God.
Think about It
What does this mean for us?
I drew attention to this passage because of the particular way that God expects His people to respond when he gives them His blessings. Whenever God gives a promise, he tests the individual to see if they have truly believed Him with their hearts. To see if they are willing to withhold nothing from Him and whether they have a full faith.
Regarding salvation in the New Testament sense, the way God works is not much different. He will test and try all who profess to be believers in Christ. And if they past the tests and go through the storms of life without wavering, then they have been proven that have a true faith! The blessings will assuredly come!
But what if they do not pass God’s tests? The Bible makes it very clear what their portion at the end of life is if they continually show that they do not have truth faith in God- they will share it with the wicked.