The past two weeks have been extremely challenging for me. I have been bombarded with several major decisions and yet no resolve for any of them. The feeling of uncertainty has been looming over me like a storm cloud. I have felt like I’ve been standing under the cloud wondering when the rain will come. It’s been an emotional battle which can sometimes be an issue for me. One day, a dear friend of mine called to encourage me. After getting off the phone with her, one of the things she said rang deeply in my spirit. She said, “God is going to work things out for you in a way that you least expect”. I immediately began to ponder that statement. Then, the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-19 came to mind.
While reading the story, several things caught my attention. The first verse of Chapter 22 states, “After these things, God tested Abraham”. After what things? In Genesis 21, several things had taken place in Abraham’s life. His son Isaac was born. God had instructed him to send Hagar and Ishmael away. He formed a treaty with Abimelech and even planted a tamarisk tree in honor of the Lord. Let’s just say he had a lot going on in his life. I believe those things were preparing him for the greatest test of his life. In verse 2, God tells him to take his only son on a mountain that He would show him. It goes on to say that Abraham got up early in the morning and prepared for the journey. He did this without asking God for any details or explicit instructions. Abraham left for the journey and followed God’s direction to the location. Once he arrived, he set up the altar and prepared Isaac to be sacrificed only to stopped by the voice of an angel. The angel told Abraham not to lay a hand on Isaac. He told Abraham that his obedience proved that he honored God. Abraham looked and saw that a ram was caught in a bush nearby. He took the ram and sacrificed it on the altar instead. The angel spoke to Abraham and told him that he would be blessed for many generations because of his obedience.
When examining this story in light of my situation, I couldn’t help but go back to Abraham’s response to Isaac when asked where the sacrifice was. Abraham replied, “God himself will provide the sacrifice. How did he know what God was going to do? Honestly, I don’t believe he did. He could’ve been simply avoiding telling Isaac that he was the actual sacrifice. However, I do believe his faith was very strong. He was determined to obey God. As a result, God made an unexpected provision. As a reflect on my own life, God has done the same for me many times. Yet, I must admit that I haven’t always been instantly obedient like Abraham. I can attribute that to leaning to my own understanding which we are advised not to do in Proverbs 3:5. Why? Our own understanding is limited. It can hinder our experiences with God because we are looking for solutions by natural means rather than seeking the supernatural possibilities of what could be if we allow God to work.
God wants us to believe wholeheartedly in who He is and what only He can do. The children of Israel made the same mistake even in the midst of experiencing the supernatural provision of God in the wilderness. They were sustained by manna from heaven yet they were dissatisfied. As a result, they forfeited their commanded place of blessings, the place God had prepared for them.
Why doubt a God who has proven Himself faithful in our lives many times over? We should look for God to do the unexpected for us. Furthermore, we should also expect God to have a “ram in the bush” even in the face of hopelessness. Abraham expected God to do something great and in return He did.
Lastly, we have to understand that the test always proceeds the bless. God has to test us in order to see if we are ready for another level of His blessings in our lives. Then, we will experience the unexpected blessings of God once we’ve passed the test.