One of the greatest illustrations of faith can be found in the story of when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This story of great faith involves a contradiction. The God who said not to kill was the same God who asked Abraham to make a monumental sacrifice—after having miraculously provided a promised son for Abraham and Sarah in their old age.
Genesis 22 tells us that Abraham loved Isaac. So, he had to act against his own emotional ties. What God was asking was surely a test of his faith.
When God wants to do something big in your life or mine, He will often put a test in front of us: circumstances that don’t make sense or seem like a contradiction. But our obedience has to come despite the tears streaming from our eyes and the confusion we are feeling.
Abraham walked by faith.
Abraham walked by faith. He got up early and began the long journey toward the mountain in order to sacrifice his son. He kept his eyes on the heavens even though he was walking with the pain of earth. He kept going, step by step, toward the place of sacrifice.
We should notice that God did not intervene until Abraham was ready to complete the act of obedience. He didn’t intervene when Abraham got up in the morning, or as he was walking toward the mountain, or as he was tying Isaac up to prepare him for sacrifice. He didn’t intervene until the moment when the knife was raised. You see, God wants to see us complete our faith, not just promise it, talk about it, or follow it halfway. He wants to see us go to the final step of faith, trusting Him all the way.
But even as Abraham was climbing up one side of the mountain, God was preparing deliverance on the other side—a ram caught in a thicket. Now, when a ram gets caught in a thicket, it will make a lot of noise as it tries to escape. But this was the quietest thicket-caught ram in the history of rams. That’s because God was not yet ready to reveal His solution—not until the obedience had been completed.
When God came through, He demonstrated that He was ready to bless Abraham on a whole new level.
When God came through, He demonstrated that He was ready to bless Abraham on a whole new level. This should be a reminder that the deeper the trial God puts you in, the greater His purpose for that trial and the greater the blessing that will follow your obedience as you pass the test of faith.
For Abraham, this was not a pop quiz. This was the final exam. Sometimes God gives us small tests and medium-sized tests. Sometimes, though, we might face a mega test like Abraham did, where we are called to sacrifice the dearest thing in our lives. When that happens, it means that God has a bigger, higher purpose for you. God says, “Because you have done this, I will now unveil things I promised many years ago, but which, until now, you were not ready to receive.” When that happens, get ready for the big blessing, because you have passed a major exam.