Genesis 22:1-2 tells us that the Lord tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, his only son, the one whom he loved. After reading those words, our immediate response might be, “Should the Lord do that? Is that right? Can he ask Abraham to sacrifice his son as a test? What is the Lord accomplishing by asking such a thing of Abraham? What would He accomplish by testing us?”
The Lord Tests Our Hearts
Before we jump to conclusions, it is important to understand the Lord’s testing of us is not sinful. In fact, Scripture is full of verses showing the Lord tests the hearts of men (Prov. 17:3).
- Ex. 15:25-26 and Deut. 8:2 – Tells us the Lord tests Israel to see if they will follow His commandments.
- Deut. 13:3 – Tells us that the Lord will tests us by sending prophets who will tell us to go after other gods instead of serving the Lord Himself.
- Ps. 11:5 and Luke 8:13 – Tells us Lord tests the righteous, who claim to be His followers
- Ps. 26:2 – The Psalmist asks the Lord to test his heart, in order for him to show that he loves the Lord and knows that the Lord is faithful to His promises.
- James 1:3 – Tells us the testing of our faith produces steadfastness.
- James 1:12 – Tells us those who endure testing prove they love the Lord more than the world, which results in them receiving the crown of life.
How does the Lord test us?
We know from James 1:13-15 that the Lord does not tempt us to do evil, but He does test us. He tests us by putting us in difficult situations to see if we will obey and trust Him or seek to do it our own way (Ex. 15:25-26; Deut. 8:2). In addition, He tests us by sending those our way who preach a false gospel to see if we will follow after it (Deut. 13:3). Furthermore, He tests us by putting us in situations where we have to deal with either the lack of, or the excess of, recognition, fame, wealth, and comfort among other things (1 Thess. 2:4-7)
He Tests us to know:
- If we believe His promises (Ps. 26:2)
- If we believe in His gospel (Gal 1:6-7; Hosea 6:4)
- If we are fully dedicated to Him and Him alone (Ex. 15:25-26; Deut. 8:2; 13:3)
- If we desire the things of the world, looking for joy and satisfaction there; rather, than finding it in God and God alone (1 Thess. 2:4-7).
In the end, we see that the Lord does test us. The reason He tests us is to see where our heart is, to show us our true nature, and to humble us so we will follow Him alone.