Under The Tutelage of Testing
September 24, 2018
Verse for the Week: Genesis 22:14; “So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Testing… testing… 1, 2, 3!
Ugh! Who likes testing?
If I am honest, I love the pleasant rhythm of the status quo. I find comfort, peace, and predictability in it. In this place of passivity, I’m engaged in the pleasantries of my life, but everything else is on auto-pilot. And I quite like it this way.
Even so, life is not linear or predictable. And because of that, I experience consistent interruptions to my beloved status quo. Veritably, just this week, I was sidelined with a back injury. There’s nothing like an injury to stop me in my tracks, interrupt the pleasant rhythm of life, and test my resolve.
The story begins with a covenant. A brilliant promise full of hope and dreams and purpose. To sum it up, God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations through a son yet to be born (Isaac). And although it was quite a ridiculous notion at the time, given his age and his lack of children up to this point, still Abraham believed God.
The story quickly turns on a dime when Abraham is faced with the ultimate challenge—to sacrifice the very child God promised. Wait. What? Why would God ask this?
Spoiler alert: God intervened, albeit at the last minute, and Isaac lived to fulfill his part of the promise. This provision is where our verse of the week comes into play—The LORD Will Provide.
Okay, the Lord stepped in, so what’s the purpose you may ask? Well, given the outcome, God never intended Abraham to carry out this request. The purpose of this test was to reveal his level of faith. To prove, through obedience, his trust in, and alliance to, God.
By definition, testing indicates the quality, performance, or reliability of (something), especially before putting it into widespread use or practice. It also reveals the strengths or capabilities of (someone or something) by putting them under strain (dictonary.com).
Before the covenant was made, God reckoned Abraham on the basis of his belief (Genesis 15:6). However, this particular time of testing required proof of his faith. He had to transition from thought to action. It was about performance, reliability, and the capacity to prove the quality of what he believed.
Besides Jesus’ obedience and dying on the cross for us, this act of obedience by Abraham is by all human standards, remarkable.
Have you ever experienced this type of testing? One you know will reveal what you believe to be true about God? One that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck because you know destiny and legacy are at stake?
Yes, these are the moments that stop us in our tracks. And that is precisely what God wants us to do. Stop. Stop the momentum of the mundane. Shift into faith mode because we are about to take the ultimate test—we will either prove or disprove what we say we believe.
Please hear me on this; God isn’t punishing us—He’s positioning us. He isn’t disciplining us—He’s preparing us. It is only in this place of heightened perception will we allow testing to temper us, to assuage our confusion and create a space for intimacy.
In the end, choosing God is the final answer to any faith test. Take your own life for a moment—what is God asking you to sacrifice to prove you believe Him in a matter? Don’t run by this question too quickly. Take a moment to zero in on the very specific test you are being called to take at this point in your life.
What is it? Why are you challenged by it? Do you believe God will provide? Or do you fear you will be left broken and defeated in the end?
These are tough questions, and this is a tough lesson. Hang in there because it is in these moments when the questions run deep that God is inviting us into the sacred space of intimacy.
Abraham isn’t an isolated example of this pattern of testing. We see it in the journey’s of Jacob, and Paul, and so many others.
You see, each one of these men experienced times of testing. And it was in the fight where they truly became what was promised. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Saul became Paul. This change in name is a direct reflection of their new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Don’t get caught between two worlds. We are called to a new nature. We are called to the kind of obedience that tests and proves our faith. Be open when testing is on the horizon; it’s an invitation to intimacy with the God who wants to bless you, change you, transform you into something more.
Dig deep and know, testing is about positioning and preparing, not punishing. In fact, it is a great honor to sit under the tutelage of testing. God will meet you there, and make you even more than you ever dreamt you’d be.
Lord God, in these moments of testing, prepare and position me for intimacy with you. Especially when I don’t understand what or why you are asking me to do something. Help me to trust you, to choose you, because, in the end, you are my reward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Identify a faith test you are being called to take. Define it by what God is asking you to do. If you feel as though you won’t survive the ask, remember it’s about intimacy, preparation, and positioning.
Go ahead, trust Him in the testing, and let it reveal your new nature (James 1:2-4).
Click this link to listen: It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco and Bethel Music
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed under the tutelage of testing. It is here, The LORD Will Provide.