Christianity 201

January 21, 2020

As Abraham Aged, Testing Increased

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Today we have two devotions for you by George Whitten. The first appeared at his website, Worthy Devotions, and the second (abridged) is from Standing for God.

Experience it!

Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested (Hebrew word len-a-sot, to try) Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

John 6:5-6 Then Jesus lifted up [His] eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test (Hebrew word, lenasot, to try) him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (nisayon (noun form of lenasot)), knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

The testing of Abraham’s faith was repeated by YHVH throughout the patriarch’s entire life. The tests grew greater as his life advanced, and through everyone, whether Abraham passed or not, YHVH proved Himself to be his friend over and over again. Every test or “trial” involved a serious challenge or threat in which Abraham had to trust that the LORD knew what He was doing, asking, or requiring, and that His goodness and faithfulness were unquestionably reliable.

This type of testing or trying of faith is displayed throughout the Scriptures. In an entirely different setting, Yeshua (Jesus) asked His disciple Philip a question, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” The purpose of the question was simply to try Philip’s faith. The Hebrew, “lenasot” “to try, or test”, in the Greek is “pi-ras-mos”, which carries an interesting connotation: “proving by experiment”.

James, the Lord’s brother, speaks of the “testing of our faith”, as well. Though we often think of this testing in negative terms, James exhorts us to “count it all joy”, never mind that it’s virtually certain there will be little pleasure in the experience of any trial. The fact is that trials function as experiments, and experiences, which serve to prove and improve our faith. In the Hebrew New Testament (Brit Chadasha) the word for “trial” is “ni-sa-yon”, which also happens to be the word for “experience” and “experiment”.

So the trials we experience are literally, experiments upon our faith. And while it is clear that God Himself does not tempt us, we also know that He allows our faith to be proven by experience, and experimentally verified. Faith is not based on experience; it is based on revelation from God. But it’s genuineness is tested by experience. And it ought to be growing through every trial, producing a deeper comprehension of God’s faithfulness.

Your faith is being proved to be genuine through testing and trial; experimentally and experientially, just as was the faith of Abraham, Philip, and every true saint of the Lord. For while faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen — it will be proven in, by, and through the very hard experiences and realities of your life. This is not accidental but very much in the plans and purposes of the Lord.

The stakes are going up!

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.

…During the past ten years we’ve seen such radical changes in our society… People of Biblical faith are witnessing the fulfillment of Isaiah’s warning, Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! [Isaiah 5:20]

Societal changes are also influencing the body of believers as numerous controversies and divisions in churches are challenging leaders and lay people alike. This is not a negative thing according to the Apostle Paul. He addressed the carnal church in Corinth where factions had developed, saying, “I hear that there are divisions among you … for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” [1 Cor. 11:18-19]

Those who truly know the Lord and abide in His Word are all the more easily distinguished in today’s social and moral climate. Since God’s definitions and standards do not vary as human conventions or opinions do — even when “science” is used to support the new claims, faithful believers will be identified for better or worse. We’ll be afforded distinct opportunities to represent our God who is “the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

While the world makes its resolutions to be more fit, financially independent, or cosmically conscious, we can resolve to make this year, this decade, one in which we continue set apart, representing the truth and love of our Heavenly Father.

…[M]ay we be the ones that stand out as true believers. Let’s resolve to make this year and this decade — one that our faith is genuinely recognized! May His love, joy, and peace be manifest in our lives for His glory as a witness to the world that so desperately needs Him!

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