One of the metaphors we learn in the Bible is that life is a test. A test is that trial that people go through to determine their strength or worth. The Bible is explicit in revealing that God continually tests His people to shape their character, love, integrity, obedience, and loyalty. In other words, a person’s character can only be revealed through tests. The truth of the matter is that in many cases, a person who stands firm in his or her faith during the trial moment receives much glory. This fact is better explained through various people who were tried and came out victorious. These are the likes of Moses in his mission to deliver the children of Israel, the case of Joseph, the issue of Abram to sacrifice his own son among others. All these tests are believed to have been set explicitly by God. It is clear that God tests people at all times with a purpose that only Him knows and understands. In the same way, as He tests the people, it is believed that He too is being tested in the sense that the failure or victory the victims bring affects His character. In this case, this paper aims to determine whether God is also tested through the tests He sets for His People.It is absolutely imperative that the tests God set to His people, for instance, Moses’ mission to act as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh and Abrahams attempted sacrifice of Isaac proves the fact that God’s patience and love are tested. When the people pass the tests, then God receives glory.
God’s patience is tested through the story of Moses who terms himself as a nobody worthy to carry out God’s purpose to deliver the people of Israel. Moses was once a slave in Egypt, and he knew very well how fierce and stubborn Pharaoh was. He knew what he did in the land of Egypt before running away and so going back could mean trouble for him. To evade this Moses gives God vague reasons but God stands His ground to use him. In Exodus 3: 11, Moses says, “I am nobody. How can I go to the king of Egypt?” God assures to be with him on the mission, but Moses does not believe this. In verse 13, he asks God what he will tell the people of Israel regarding the God who send him. It is clear that for Moses to have accepted to go on this mission, God had been so patient with him to have encouraged and even given him prove to make the king of Egypt to know the kind of God He was. Moses was not ready to carry out this task, he testes God’s patient by ensuring that if he is to go on this mission, God Himself was to go with him (Exodus 4:12). If God could not have exercised his patience with Moses, He could have left the people of Israel in bondage because Moses was not ready to be sent. God rather passes the test when Moses accepts to be sent to Pharaoh.
Moses’ acceptance to be sent did not imply that the test of patience had been entirely won. Moses manages to take the people of Israel from Egypt, but since the Promised Land was on the other side, there was the Red Sea to be crossed. The people of Israel after knowing there was no way across the sea began complaining to Moses. But at this point, God was familiar with the fact that He had the authority to divide the sea right away, yet He doesn’t. Instead, He makes them exercise patient by sitting down and waiting before parting the sea. What God was doing is that He wanted to see how patient the people could be, as well as how patient He too could be with the people despite their nagging behaviors. This is evident in Exodus 14: 12, “Didn’t we tell you before we left that this would happen? We told you to leave us alone and let us go on being slaves of the Egyptians.” Even though God was able to lose his patience for this people since they proved to have little faith, He still controlled His anger and helped them by dividing the sea. He knew clearly that if His patience for the people prevailed, the victory to be won would bring Him glory.
The Bible talks about the love God had for Abraham. A father’s love for his children is something that cannot be compared. God’s love can for sure be evident in fulfilling His promises to Abraham by giving him a son. But this is not the way He accomplishes his love for Abraham. He knows Abraham loves Him as much as He did, and at the same time, Abraham loved his only son Isaac. The same son that God gave him is the same sacrifice God wants. This test purposed to weigh the depth at which Abraham loved God. God loved Abraham and Isaac too but what He wanted to test is whether his love for Abraham could remain the same in case he failed to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. In Genesis 22: 2, God tells Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show, you, offer him as a sacrifice to me.” As an obedience person and the father of faith, Abraham obeys the voice of God and goes with Isaac to the land God had ordained.
After reaching the mountain, Abraham puts his son on the altar, took theknife,and lifted it ready to strike. Abraham loved God this much, and he was prepared to knife his own son as a sacrifice just the way God had ordered. The angel, Exodus 22 stop him:12, “Don’t hurt the boy or do anything to him,” he said, “Now I know that you honour and obey God because you have not kept back your only son from him.” This test even makes God to double his love for Abraham by richly blessing him. In verse 16 the Bible says, “I make a vow by my own name-the LORD is speaking-that I will richly bless you. Because you did this and did not keep back your only son from me.” This shows that God offers to bless Abraham more only after he passes the test. In the same way, God too had been testing his love for Abraham, and in case Abraham had failed to carry out this command, then it is possible that God could have become angry with him and ended up bringing a curse on Him. The act of blessing Abraham with riches shows that God was happy and He did not have to doubt his love for the father of faith since Abraham had shown the same kind of love he had for God. He is ready to choose God over his only son.
It is noticeable in both scenarios that God tested the people as He tested Himself too. God tests Moses to measure His patience for the people and Moses himself when he questions God before accepting to go on the liberation task. Abraham is different from Moses when he shows love to God by not questioning him in whatsoever situation he is subjected to. God wants to know how long He could keep loving Abraham in case he failed to sacrifice Isaac. The results of Abrahams, faith, and love for God makes God to love him more as evident in how he blesses him. Both of these examples show deal- breaking tests that God sets not only for the people but Himself too. He knows clearly that when the people believed and obeyed him during the trying moments, He could receive the glory that will make His name known all around in peoples’ mouths. For instance, after Moses and Abraham won the tests, people are now aware of the God of Israelites and the God of Abraham. Had they failed, then God’s name could never have been this might, and people could not have trusted in Him.
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