Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22:1)
On the day Abram was called out of Babylon (Gen. 12), God intended to bring him to this point — to face the greatest trial he would ever have to endure. The fact that God “tested” Abraham is not to suggest that God was tempting him. Nor was He engineering a situation designed to bring about a failure but, to the contrary, was designed to certify Abraham’s spiritual ability and a resistance to failure. In other words, this was to bring Abraham to the place God always intended him to be.
Even though most translations use the word “test,” the Hebrew term נסה nisa also means “to prove.” Testing often assesses what someone knows and doesn’t know. To prove someone is to create a situation whereby they demonstrate their ability to execute under pressure. God wasn’t necessarily putting him to the test to see if he would obey — he had already displayed a willingness to obey God without hesitation — but because he would obey in an extreme circumstance, it would bring to pass God’s purpose for him. What happened on Mount Moriah would leave a spiritual imprint that still resonates with us today.
We should not be surprised, then, to discover that נסה nisa is related to the word נס nes which means, “a banner, ensign” or “miracle.” The “test” was not to destroy Abraham but to elevate him to where he was supposed to be. In order to attain this, Abraham had to rise above the circumstances. As a result God performed a great miracle and established Abraham’s obedience as a banner for other generations to look to. The miracle of the ram couldn’t occur if Abraham hadn’t obeyed.
So what should you and I glean from this? Most of it should be self-evident but consider this: at some point, we will all be called to Mount Moriah to be proven. When God called us out of spiritual darkness and led us through the circumstances of our journey, He always intended that we, like Abraham, would go to the mountain. All of us will be proven, sooner or later, so that we might be the people we have been called to be. As we anticipate that time, let us confirm within us, today, that our will must submit to His. For there to be a miracle, there must be a test.
Blessings and Shalom,