James 1 tells us that the testing of our faith should be considered as joyful… not simply looking at our circumstances and being happy about them but knowing that:
- God tests the righteous (Psalm 11:5)
- God delivers the righteous (Psalm 34)
- when perseverance has its perfect result we will be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:3)
- our faith is going to be stronger (Rom 4:20)
- we will be honored for our perseverance (Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial for once he has been approved he will receive the crown of life James 1:12)
Old Testament example… Gen 22 – God tests Abraham
God proved Abraham’s faith through the Offering of Isaac
Abraham had faith & believed the Lord to provide (Gen 22:8), He called the place “The Lord Will Provide (vs14). Abraham was blessed because he, with great faith, was not going to withhold his sacrifice.
Even though it may have looked bad—Abraham was about to slay his son and at that very moment God intervened. God’s timing is perfect. It may not seem to make sense to us sometimes, or it may seem like He is not coming or He is too late… but His timing IS perfect. He is testing our faith. So we must WAIT ON THE LORD.
13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD. In the land of the living. 14Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:13-14 NASB
I have gotten through MANY of life’s circumstances standing on my favorite piece of scripture: Psalm 27, but these verses in particular are powerful if you get this…When it says “Wait for the Lord”, the word “wait” is qavah, which means – wait, expecting with confidence, patience. The Psalmist is saying “I confidently expect to see God’s goodness in this land here, now.”
“[Abraham] did not waiver in unbelief but grew strong in faith giving glory to God and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”
Abraham had faith and stood on the Lord’s covenant to him.
“…And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”
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Abraham remembered God’s covenant with him and knew the Lord had a good plan, even if it was to raise Isaac from the dead (Heb 11:9) The Lord DID have a plan! Gen 18:19 “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Abraham had great faith because he did not withhold his sacrifice, he did not disobey the Lord and at the same time did not give reluctantly. He had faith that the Lord would do something, that he had a plan , and he did not waiver in the Word of the Lord. During our testing we should not withhold from him.
For example, our finances…(we’ve been there many times)…
In the midst of financial and economic turmoil, we are to still obey His word and not withhold what He has asked for.
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
God tests our faith as we sacrificially give what is His back to him and we can also test Him in this and stand on His promise that He will bless us for it.
Abraham’s Blessing of Obedience:
“’I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.’”
God said Isaac’s offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies. The Word says we are descendants of Abraham and Isaac. That promise is for us too! You possess the gate of your enemies!
Psalm 34 :
He is the provider and deliverer. He will deliver his people as we seek Him.
Those who seek Him shall not be in want of any good thing.
He hears the cries of the righteous & you deliver them out of their troubles.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all!
First Testament (Old Testament) righteousness was obedience to the Law. New Covenant (New Testament) righteousness says with Christ in us, we are the righteousness of God.
Rom 3:10, none are righteous
Acts 7:52, Jesus is the righteous one
Rom 5:19 We are made righteous in Jesus
Abraham not only gave us a great example of living obediently and faithfully but he did give us an example of what happens when we try to take matters into our own hands. The story of Ishmael demonstrates our impatience to wait on the Lord. (Remember Psalm 27:14 NASB Wait for the Lord: qavah – Wait, expecting with confidence) The Lord’s promises are something we can stand on and wait expectantly. Although there are consequences to our sins and disobedience, God’s grace is enough to cover them. God, still faithful, keeps his promise with Abraham that Sarah will give birth to Isaac and His covenant will be established with him and in Genesis 17:20 God also blesses Ishmael. One thing about God is that He is so merciful and gracious!
1. Seek His Kingdom & His Righteousness.
God called Abraham and told him to walk before Him blamelessly so He may make covenant and multiply him. (Gen 17:1-2) He sought the Lord and His righteousness.
2. Hear His Voice.
James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
James 5:16 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much
James 1:6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Abraham heard the Word of the Lord and his faith counted him righteous!
What did the Lord speak to you? Are you obeying? Abraham unwaveringly, sacrificially obeyed.
4. Believe His Word. Do Not Doubt.
Abraham did not doubt ; He believed the Word of the Lord and waited for His goodness. Wait confidently – expecting – to see His goodness.