Read Genesis 22:1-24. Out of nowhere and without explanation, God suddenly calls Abraham to offer his own child as a burnt offering. Can you imagine how Abraham must have felt? It was a totally revolting idea that a holy God should request that you sacrifice your own son. Even if Abraham thought that this was acceptable, what about God’s promises of an inheritance? Without his son, the promise would be gone.
Why did God ask Abraham to offer this sacrifice? If God knows everything, what was the point?
God’s request and its timing were not random. Indeed, it was calculated to exact the deepest possible anguish, for “God had reserved His last, most trying test for Abraham until the burden of years was heavy upon him, and he longed for rest.” — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 147. Was this the test of a mad God? Not at all, for “the agony which he endured during the dark days of that fearful trial was permitted that he might understand from his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made by the infinite God for man’s redemption.” — Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 154.
This was just a test — God never intended for Abraham to kill his son. This highlights something very important about the way God sometimes works. God may ask us to do something that He never intends for us to complete. He may ask us to go somewhere He never intends for us to arrive at. What is important to God is not necessarily the end, but what we learn as we are reshaped by the process.
Jesus may have been thinking about Abraham’s experience when He said to the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56, NIV). Abraham could have missed out on this insight, dismissing the instructions as from Satan. The key to Abraham’s surviving and learning through the whole process was his knowing God’s voice.
|How do you know the voice of God? How do you know when God is talking to you? What are the ways He communicates His will to you?|