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The Ultimate Stress Test

posted Sep 23, 2018, 1:43 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Sep 23, 2018, 1:45 PM ]
September 16, 2018
Key Passage: Genesis 22:1-19

"The Ultimate Stress Test”

Listen, I’m dumb as dirt when it comes to really understanding Scripture, and I’m not far behind on misunderstanding God’s character at times – but this I’ve learned: God is the ultimate realist.   He’s not at all impressed with our temper tantrums or freak outs.  Let’s be honest….most of us spend more time studying God’s commands looking for loopholes than striving to obey those commands immediately and fully.  That’s why God often tests us – and here’s the bitter pill – when God does test us, he doesn’t grade on a curve.   Understand, God isn’t satisfied to have our gratitude…He wants our love.  So, times of testing often come to get us back on track.  Even His gifts to us are of no value until we’re willing, if necessary, to lose them so that God might reign without rival in our hearts.  In our study today it’s important to remember, even when Abraham didn’t understand the “why”, he trusted the “who.”  It’s not a matter of CAN I trust God, but WILL I trust him?  Who CAN I trust involves the head.  Who WILL I trust involves the heart – and God wants all of it….all the time.

Genesis 22:1-19  While the 22nd chapter of Genesis is certainly one of the best known stories in the Bible, note the remarkable foreshadowing in the Old Testament of the work of Christ in the New.  As we read about Abraham binding the son he loved to the altar don’t miss the parallel of another Son who was stretched out on a Roman cross … by his Father, also.

*Why Does God Test Us?

1. To combat half-heartedness God wanted to see if Abraham loved him with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. God sends tests our way to force us to “get off the fence.”  (See Revelation 3:15-16)
2. To keep us from getting distracted See if this sounds familiar: we experience the blessing of the Lord and become satisfied in the blessing instead of in the one who provides it.  (See Philippians 3:12-14)
3. To make us deeper and more productive   “Consider it pure joy…”  (See James 1:2-4)

*How Can We Have Abraham’s Faith?

1. Obey immediately Consider: delayed obedience is immediate disobedience; partial obedience is complete disobedience.  When the Lord says “jump,” jump!  We can talk about why later.  
(See John 14:15; 21; 23; 24)
2. Trust in God’s Faithfulness Again, even when he didn’t understand the “why” he trusted the “who.”  You may not understand the “whys” – chances are you never will.  But faith is not about understanding, it’s about trust.  Not who CAN you trust, but who WILL you trust. (See Genesis 12:4)

*What Will God’s Promises Do for Your Faith?

1. Faith calms our fears (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
2. Faith cushions our falls (1 John 1:9)
3. Faith confirms our future (John 10:22-30)

Q: Where do you get the strength to say “yes” to God when everything else inside of you says “no?”
Q: If (actually, when) the Lord should ask you to give up something or someone precious, do you honestly believe he will provide?

Bottom Line: Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it’s impossible to please God.”  Listen, our circumstances never test the ability or the faithfulness of God – they simply serve only to test our understanding of the character and purpose of God in our life.  I’m assuming most, if not all, in this class are Christians….which begs the question: If you can trust God to provide for your eternity, why is it such a challenge to trust Him with your tomorrow?  Is he truly Jehovah Jireh – “The Lord who provides?”