Has the Lord ever tested you? I’m sure He has. Maybe you passed the test and both your spirit and testimony were strengthened. Or, maybe you failed the test and you learned something about yourself that made you stronger for next time. Whatever the result, you can be assured that your Heavenly Father allowed it in your life for your good.
One of the most famous heavenly tests is found in the life of Abraham and recorded in Genesis 22. It is significant that this passage is the first time in the Bible the words, love, worship, and obeyed are used.
In the very first verse we read, “…God did tempt Abraham…” Now we know that the Scriptures teach that God does not tempt anyone, so how can it also say that he tempted Abraham? Is the Bible contradicting itself? Not really. The translators are.The word translated “tempt” actually means test in Hebrew. What the passage is actually saying is that God tested Abraham.
In the very first verse of Genesis 22, God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering on a mount that He would show him. God acknowledged Abraham’s love for his son, saying, “Take now thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest…” Here we have the first use of love in the Bible. It is used to describe a father’s love for his son. How interesting that it was said in the context of asking him to sacrifice his son. The words were spoken by the God who would also sacrifice His son, because of His love for us. (John 3:16). So, believe me, He understood what He was asking of Abraham.
It says a lot about Abraham that he didn’t hesitate to obey. In fact, he rose early in the morning taking the wood for the offering, Isaac, and two young servants. How heavy his heart must have been as they approached Mount Moriah. When they arrived, Abraham asked his servants to wait while he and Isaac went to worship.
For each of us there is something God is asking that is difficult. I don’t know what your tests are, but I do know that for you it is a challenge. It may be a corporate commandment you struggle with, like tithing, or maybe you’ve been asked to sacrifice your time and money in order to help others. It could also besomething bigger, like quitting your job in order to attend services regularly, or to be home to raise your family. Whatever your test is, can you hear the whisper of your Savior’s voice asking you, as He did Simon Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15)
Obedience is a test. Do we love the Savior enough to honor His commandments? Abraham did. Obedience is also worship. Just as Abraham told his servants they were going to worship, every act of obedience on your part is a way of saying to your Father in Heaven, “You are worthy.”
I don’t want you to feel that our Father in Heaven just randomly tests us without any consideration of what it means in our lives. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. When Abraham stretched out his hand to slay his son, an angel of the Lord stopped him and provided a ram to take his place. Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh. Hebrew scholars translate that phrase “The Lord will provide.” If you look at other Bible translations, many of them have that phrase in the text instead of the Hebrew transliteration. Interestingly, the word for “jireh” literally means “to see”. A literal translation of that passage would say “Jehovah sees”.
Remember that phrase. When your heart is aching and torn and you think the Lord is asking more than you can handle, bear in mind He really does see. He knows what is going on in your life. He knows what your needs are. He is not ignorant, nor is He uncaring. He is doing it for your ultimate good, just as He taught Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail.
He’ll be with you through your trial, upholding you and providing for you. How do I know that? I know it first because the Scriptures teach that. Philippians 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your needsaccording to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” I also know it from personal experience. I have seen time and time again how He has stepped in to care for me when I thought all was lost. He’ll do the same for you. If you’re frightened to go forward in faith, remember Jehovah-jireh. Your Savior sees. He is there.
There is one other type I want to point out in this passage. God choose Mount Moriah for a reason. On the same mount God provided a replacement for Isaac, would be the future temple where Mosaic sacrifices would be offered to illustrate the atonement. “Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah.” (2 Chronicles 3:1)
Generation after generation performed sacrifices in the temple on that same mount. Each one of them echoed the truth of Jehovah-jireh. Jehovah truly does see. He didn’t just see, but provided for our need of a Savior. If God was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son, if He had enough love for us to sit back and watch while we tortured and murdered His Son, knowing it was necessary for our return to Him, is there anything we should hold back from Him? No. He is worthy of all our love and devotion, just as Abraham gave to Him on that mount so long ago.
Annmarie Worthington is a single mom and convert to the church. You can learn more about Annmarie, including her conversion, on her blog.