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Day Seven

 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to 
this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:9-14

At 3:00 a.m. one cold morning a missionary candidate walked into an office for a scheduled interview with the examiner of a mission board. He waited until 8 a.m. when the examiner arrived. The examiner said, “Let us begin. First, please spell baker.” “B-a-k-e-r,” the young man spelled. “Very good. Now, let’s see what you know about figures. How much is twice two?” “Four,” replied the applicant. “Very good,” the examiner said. “I’ll recommend to the board tomorrow that you be appointed. You have passed the test.”
At the board meeting, the examiner spoke highly of the applicant and said, “He has all the qualifications of a missionary. Let me explain. First, I tested him on self-denial. I told him to be at my house at three in the morning. He left a warm bed and came out in the cold without a word of complaint. Second, I tried him out on punctuality. He appeared on time. Third, I examined him with patience. I made him wait five hours to see me, after telling him to come at three. Fourth, I tested him on his temper. He failed to show any sign of it; he didn’t even question my delay. Fifth, I tried his humility. I asked him questions that a small child could answer, and he showed no offense. He meets the requirements and will make the missionary we need.”

How would you handle the test of faith? What motivates a man of faith to surrender to God’s seemingly illogical request? How does testing mature one’s faith? Abraham was a man of faith. God established a covenant with Abraham and Sarah. The sign of the covenant was the long-awaited birth of their son, Isaac. God was testing Abraham’s faith. He asked Abraham to sacrifice the sign of the covenant, by surrendering the life of his son, Isaac. Abraham took his son to the top of the mountain to make the sacrifice, but God provided a ram. The word provide means “seeing in advance”. God saw in advance that Abraham passed the test.

In 1634 renowned Dutch painter Rembrandt painted a great work of art that depicted Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The painting (“The Sacrifice of Abraham”) captures perfectly how the Lord intervenes to stop Abraham from slaying his son Isaac. Isaac’s eyes did not meet his father’s eyes. He was lying on the ground, his arms bound behind his back and his eyes covered by his father’s left hand, but his head was thrown back revealing the neck. Isaac’s curled right leg was completely relaxed while the other curled leg was ready to kick off. The most fascinating part of Rembrandt’s drawing was the activity on Abraham’s right hand. Abraham had raised his right hand to strike the boy, but an angel’s hand grabbed hold of his hand. As a result, the knife barely fell out of his hands on its way to the ground. The angel’s right hand had such a tight grip on Abraham’s hand that Abraham was forced to drop the knife out of his hands. The angel held his left hand up as if to signal for Abraham to stop what he was doing. The angel’s eyes were the trickiest. He was looking intensely at Abraham as he gripped him by the wrist and, at the same time, looking at the boy to see if he was alright.
Abraham passed the test. Isaac passed the test of faith.

Are you ready to pass the test of faith?
God always provides for His children. God is ready to take your faith deeper with Him.