NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: Genesis 22:1-2, 5-12
— Why would God test your faith?
— What test have you gone through –– or are now experiencing –– that is helping you mature spiritually?
— In what ways are you passing faith on to your children or younger generations?
Food for Thought:
Have you ever prepared for a test, taken the test, and promptly forgot what you learned? That happens more often for easy tests –– not a test like Abraham had as recorded in Genesis 22. From the very beginning of this Scripture passage the Lord’s intention was to test Abraham’s faith, not to have him actually offer Isaac as a burnt offering.
Abraham’s test was the ultimate cumulative exam. It built on his life experiences of being promised a son, having that promise fulfilled, and then being asked to sacrifice that very son.
The Hebrew verb for test presents the idea of proving the quality of someone or something, usually through adversity or hardship. The terminology does not imply any uncertainty on God’s part. In Abraham’s case it stressed the event would refine his character so that he might walk closer in God’s ways. In God’s plan Isaac never was in real danger.
As with Abraham, God often tests our faith to let us know a teaching cycle has ended, to pass faith on to our children, and to let us know how much we learned.
The greatest learning experiences often come from life’s hardest tests. Abraham’s test was unbelievably hard because it involved the son he loved (v. 2). Remember that this is a custom-designed test for Abraham. Christians today should not look for God to ask us to do the same thing He required of Abraham. Rather, God tests us in the areas He knows we most need to develop.
Spiritual maturity shows itself in how we handle the tests and trials that come our way. Everything God allows us to go through is meant to stretch and strengthen our faith.
Yes, God gives us real tests, but He also gives more than He ever asks us to sacrifice.
In a shifting cultural context, it’s more important than ever before that people connect, grow, serve and go in their Christian life. YOU is committed to doing just that by providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging, and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.