The hours preceding a final exam are stressful for many students. This fact is particularly true for those who wait until the last minute to study. In contrast, students who work faithfully throughout the semester, completing their assignments and preparing for quizzes, usually experience less anxiety and perform better. Abraham was one of those “students.”
For many years, Abraham faithfully undertook the assignments and quizzes given to him by God. Though not a straight A student, he gained a deep level of faith in God. By the time Abraham’s “big test” came – a command from God to sacrifice His son Isaac – he was prepared. He acted without delay. Then, with Isaac upon the altar and a knife lifted in Abraham’s hand, God spoke, “Do not lay a hand on the boy…Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12).
Abraham exemplifies faith and actions working together. The command to sacrifice Isaac must have been incomprehensible. God had promised to build a great nation through this long-awaited son. Yet Abraham trusted God, a fact made evident by his obedience. True belief always results in obedience. That’s why Scripture says, “Faith, by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17).
While Satan tempts us, seeking to cause us to sin, God tests us to deliver us from sin by revealing any unbelief. Through testing Abraham, God blessed him, for “his faith was made complete by what he did…it was credited to him as righteousness” (James 2:22-23). This can be true for us as well.
The tests and trials of life, which may feel overwhelming and stressful, are opportunities for God to bring great blessings. God, in His abundant grace, will enable you to move from unbelief to faith. As you walk with God daily, allowing His Word to renew your thoughts, govern your emotions and direct your actions, your faith and trust in Him will grow. You will then receive the reward of faith, a life of ever-increasing righteousness.