Testing Faith

Faith is an easy thing to claim to possess. Most people say they “believe in God.” Many would say they “believe in Jesus.” The words are easy to say, what is difficult is to have them be true.

God tests people’s faith. One of the reasons life drags on is so God can tell just who we are. Words prove nothing; how we live proves everything.

When Abraham did get his son, after 25 years of waiting, God tells him to sacrifice his only son, the son he waited 25 years to get. The son who would carry on his line to produce a great nation.

So, and this still amazes me, Abraham went ahead to sacrifice his son! We’ve heard the story so much it has lost its remarkableness. Imagine that morning.

What did Abraham tell his wife? Did he tell her anything? Did he just leave the house with the boy? What did they talk about on the way? What sorts of “daddy issues” did Isaac carry with him after all this?

Another amazing aspect of this story, besides the story itself, is when Abraham is about to sacrifice his boy, God says:

“Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

Notice God doesn’t say “Now you know you fear me.” God says “Now I know you fear me.” What a statement!

Explanations of this tend to throw it back on “Well, God just said that so Abraham knew he feared God” but that’s not at all what it says. God wasn’t sure before this whether Abraham really feared him or not.

I don’t think this puts a shot to God’s omniscience, I think this shows that God uses what we do to determine what we believe.

It’s why every single future judgment in the Bible is based on works, it’s not based on words you said.

Yes, God knows the heart. Yes, God hears your words. And out of the heart springs everything. What in your life right now is a test to see if you truly believe? I bet there’s something!


10 thoughts on “Testing Faith”

  1. God does not know what we will do? Tell me you didn’t mean that before I start writing many scripture verses that will show otherwise. This is a slap in the face of Gods omniscience! There is no other way to say it, if God does not know who does? He knew exactly what Abraham was going to do and every thought going through his mind. The whole story points to how Abrahams son was spared with a sacrifice, just as we were spared with the sacrifice of the lamb. Sorry brother but I think you need to retract this one.

  2. I’m not disputing any verses that say God knows everything. I merely mention a verse where God says, “Now I know” and instead of dismissing it, am trying to deal with it.

  3. I understand but it would be better to say “Lets look at how this ties in with other scripture because nothing in the Bible contracts” We are not to leave these thing up in the air we are to dig into them. I think it could have been worded better.

  4. Just been having a quick look at a couple of commentaries on this verse and Barnes says the following: “This was known to God antecedent to the event that demonstrated it. But the original “I have known” denotes an eventual knowing , a discovery by actual experience ; and this observable probation of Abraham was necessary for the judicial eye of God, who is to govern the world, and for the conscience of man, who is to be instructed by practice as well as principle.”

    Strong-Lite lists a number of meanings of the Hebrew word translated as know which might also help with understanding this verse.

  5. Do you think that there might be some theological link between this verse and Luke 7:9 when Jesus either ‘marveled’ or was ‘amazed’ (depending what version you use) at the centurions faith. The inference in both verses being that the outlook was not known before the event?

  6. Possibly, although there is a difference with it being in Christ’s humanity.

    I think one of the problems that has crept into theology is the timelessness of God. God is timeless, He knows what will happen before it happens. At the same time, He enters into time with His creation. If He didn’t, then you could never call God patient or long-suffering. God can only be long-suffering if He is in time in His relations with people.

    I have a hard time nailing down the idea, but I think this is part of dealing with God who is spirit and we who are created beings. He is above us. Rather than dogmatically pigeonhole Him, I think we need to leave a little “wow” in our understanding of Him. The Bible speaks of God as changing His mind, repenting, “now I know” and various other ways as well as describing Him as eternal, all-knowing, etc. I think we need to keep both alive in our understanding of who He is.

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