I admit, like many, I have not been a huge fan of tests throughout my academic career. However, I will admit that tests often do help to provide insight into my knowledge and understanding of the curriculum. A test of something determines if it is real, genuine, authentic. When we score well on a test over a certain subject we prove that we really do grasp the concept on which we were tested.
In Hebrews 11 we read of a different kind of test. Abraham has already proven His willingness to obediently follow God’s call back in Genesis 12. And the author of Hebrews 11 references this faith that was willing to go into the unknown to follow God’s leading. Beginning in Genesis 12 and in the following chapters God reveals to Abraham that He will make Abraham into a great nation. This promise will come through a miracle child born to Abraham and Sarah. Isaac would be the first installment by God to Abraham of the promise.
But now the real test comes. Leaving his home town and old life to follow God was one thing. But would Abraham be willing to give up his beloved son? Was Abraham more in love with God or the promised blessings God would provide.
And so, in Genesis 22 God once again commands Abraham to get up and go to a land He will show him. But this time when he arrives he must sacrifice Isaac. Abraham’s response? Immediate obedience. As we read through the rest of the story we find Abraham following God’s command with no hesitation. Only the appearance of an angel commanding Abraham to stop will prevent him from carrying out his mission.
How was Abraham able to do this? Hebrews 11:19 gives us some insight. Abraham trusted God’s power and character. He knew that God would not go back on His promise. And Abraham knew that even if he went through with the sacrifice that God would somehow bring Isaac back to him. All of this was proof that Abraham desired God more than anything else in this life. And he trusted God’s power and ability to overcome any obstacle.
As we come to the New Testament we find that Jesus offers us a similar test. In Luke 14:26,27 Jesus says,
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
These words are designed to hit us with a force similar to that of God’s words to Abraham. Obviously this is in light of the command to love and honor our parents. But what Jesus is doing here is reminding us of our ultimate allegiance to Him. We are to live our lives in such a way that we value Him more than anything or anyone this world has to offer. This all rests on the understanding and belief that God will satisfy us more than anything or anyone this world can offer.
And so, the question now comes to us. Do we desire God more than anything else? Is our joy and happiness based in Him or the potential earthly blessings we may obtain? Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him wherever He calls us to go?
Know that nothing in this world can satisfy more than God. He is worth any sacrifice we may give in following Him (Mark 10:28 – 30). And He will always work everything for our good and His glory. So, allow God to search your heart and reveal areas in which you need to grow in your love and devotion for God. Then ask the Lord to increase your desire, love, and commitment to Him.