“‘For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me’” (Genesis 22:12).
Trials from the Lord will reveal to believers what they love and appreciate the most.
A big part of the reason for the Lord’s testing Abraham at Moriah was to show him what he valued most in life. The question God wanted Abraham to answer was, “Do you love Isaac more than Me, or do you love Me more than Isaac?” And the Lord was prepared for the drastic test of taking Abraham’s son’s life if that’s what was necessary for Abraham to give God first place in everything.
God also tries the sincerity of those today who claim to love Him (see Deut. 13:3; Matt. 22:36-37). Jesus was so concerned that we have our priorities right that He made this radical statement: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Christians must love Christ so much that by comparison they will seem to hate their families and themselves. In order to test this first love, God might in some dramatic fashion ask us to renounce the many tugs and appeals from family and place His will and affections first in our life.
That kind of radical obedience, which is what Abraham had, always leads to God’s blessings. Jesus Himself was a perfect example of this principle. Because He was fully human as well as fully God, our Lord did not escape ordinary pain and hardship while on earth. As the Suffering Servant (Isa. 53), He learned completely what it means to obey through pain and adversity, all the way to His crucifixion (Heb. 5:7-9). As a result, the Son was exalted by the Father (Phil. 2:8-9).
God sometimes makes our path of obedience go through the experiences of trials and sufferings. But if we are faithful to His Word and will, those difficulties will teach us to value and appreciate God’s many blessings.
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that your priorities each day would stay in line with God’s.
For Further Study
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9. What must be the top priority for all believers?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.