Genesis 20:1-22:24, Matthew 14:1-21
Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
Genesis 22:1 “Some time later God tested Abraham.”
The old English word for test was to prove. In our context it does not have the sense of exciting to sin or provoking someone to commit an evil. Indeed, James 1:13 states, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” Temptation or testing in the bad sense always proceeds from the malice of Satan working on the corruptions of our own hearts. God, however, may bring his creatures into circumstances of special testing, not for the purpose of supplying information for himself, but in order to manifest to individuals and others the dispositions of their hearts. In this context, all forms of divine testing, putting to the proof and trying individuals are used in such a way as to leave God’s attributes unimpeachable.
But if it is asked, “How could a holy God put his servant through such an ordeal as this?” the answer rests in the special relationship that Abraham and the Lord enjoyed. The relationship of father and son which existed between Abraham and Isaac was exactly the same relationship which existed between God and Abraham. Abraham’s test was indeed a qualifying test which had as much evidential value for Abraham as it had for the Lord who issued the test.
The point is that the test was not a temptation to do evil or a test which was meant to trap the hapless patriarch. Instead, it had the opposite purpose: it was intended to strengthen him and to build him up, as did the numerous tests in the desert. As used here, the ideas of tempting, testing or trying are religious concepts. It is God’s testing the partner of the covenant to see if he is keeping his side of the agreement. God never tests the heathen; he tests his own people exclusively. Thus the test is ever a test of God’s own in order to know whether they will love, fear, obey, worship and serve him. (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Hard Sayings of the Old Testament (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), pp. 50-51)