There are many situations or events that happen in life where our faith gets tested or tried and also comes a temptation. When do things that are unrighteous, we can experience fear. But when we do what is right, we have confidence. There is a difference between a test and a temptation. A test is like an examination. God oftentimes tests our faith, confidence, and trust in him. Sometimes he can tell us to do something and if we obey it, do it, we pass the test or the exam. It is the way God works. A test and a trial are the same. When you have a car you can test if the engine works or you can try it. A trial or test is about doing the right thing but the temptation is associated with wrong things or committing sin against God.
A trial is for the purposes of purifying and strengthening thing to keep believing even when you don’t know what is happening. A temptation is to lead or cause us to sin against God and weaken our faith. Trial or test is for our good but the temptation is not. Tests come from God when God wants to achieve his purpose and will. So God allows something to happen to us.
A test always comes at different times and sizes of our lives. If you are a believer, you are going to be tested, tried and tempted. All three will happen.
In the life of Abraham, God told him in Genesis 12 about leaving the land promised. Abram obeyed God and went. He never questioned God. At the time, God promises Abram to be a father of many nations but he was of advanced age. Abram believed God to fulfill his promises. In Genesis 22, Abraham now has a son Isaac and God demands him to be a sacrifice as a burnt offering. Abraham never questions God but obeyed and went to the place which lasted days with Isaac. Abraham saw the place of sacrifice in verse 4.
There are two lessons here:
1 Sometimes when pass one test, another is on the way.
2. When we pass by obedience we get new promises.
3. We obey God through the whole time of testing.
These are trials and test because there is nothing wrong or evil motive involved. But if we do evil, we have been tempted. Any negative consequences are not from God. Tests or trials always have positive effects such as growth in faith, maturity, responsibility, humility, character, discipline, perseverance, endurance, integrity,. But when we are tempted, we experience fear, low self-esteem, unhappiness, losses, and no gain.
1. Our lack of understanding when we receive the tests from God is never an excuse for questioning God.
2. Obedience to God is essential during the time of trial. Sometimes, we can make mistakes but when we obey God, he will still use us to accomplish His will and purpose.
When God tells you to do something, do it.
Abraham took the son he waited to get at 100 years to sacrifice. In the story, Abraham took two servants, Isaac, donkey to the place. In those days, a ram was used as a burnt offering. So Isaac knew how the burnt offering was done. Abraham was willing to obey God all the way. Do you have a time in life when God said do something and you argued or disobeyed him? We must remember that God is a good God. He knows everything and has better plans for us.
Can you imagine what Isaac and Abraham were thinking in the drama? Obeying God during trial is the key to his blessing. The story says when they reached the place, Isaac asked his father where is the ram, but the father assured him God will provide. When everything was set, firewood, matchbox, knife, Abraham bundled the son and placed him on the altar.
Then just before he could do it, the angel called him and spared the boy. When he looked up, he saw the ram nearby. Can you imagine the questions? Isaac might have said dad you love, why do you want to kill or sacrifice me? Abraham never knew about the provision of God but he believed him. Sometimes, God will take you to a place where you are in a corner, no option so you can see what he will do or experience it. This happened to Abraham. But God knew everything.
Then, Abraham called that place, The Lord will provide. But the story ends, that God said, I know you have no withheld your son from me, it means you trust me. Can God say, I know you trust me? Then, angel, announces new promises, that because you obeyed me, verse 16-19, a blessing I will bless and multiplying, I will multiply your descendants, they will be countless as stars from the sky or sand on the seashore. Can you count the stars or sand? And they will posses the gates of the enemies. In your seed, all nations will be blessed because you obeyed Me. God always starts everything with a seed. Planting a seed demands you trust it to germinate.
In conclusion, if we obey God, pass the tests and trials, we receive promises and blessings and multiplied things in life. Obedience is the key. Abraham offers a perfect example of faith. He might have made a mistake but he obeyed God. You might think, I made a mistake God cannot use me. No. God is looking for someone who is willing to lose the most precious thing in life to do his will. If you obey God, He will do what man cannot do.
But if you get tempted to do your own things in sin, and you meet problems, that is not test(exams set by God). Temptation comes from the prince of darkness, satan or devil. Jesus was tempted, Job was tempted. But Abraham and Paul were tried and tested. God bless
Dr. Samuel Odeke