The Twelve Tests of Abraham
Abraham’s faith was tested at least twelve specific times. Some of them were not what we might call big tests, but together they establish a picture of Abraham as a person whose faith was genuine. After the last of these, God said, “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12). Each of Abraham’s tests can have applications for us:
(1) Genesis 12:1-7
•Test: Abraham left Ur and Haran for an unknown destination at God’s direction.
•Application: Do I trust God with my future? Is his will part of my decision making'
(2) Genesis 13:8-13
•Test: Abraham directed a peaceful separation from Lot and settled at the oaks of Mamre.
•Application: Do I trust God with my interests even when I seem to be receiving an unfair settlement'
(3) Genesis 14:13-18
•Test: Abraham rescued Lot from the five kings.
•Application: Does my faithfulness to others bear witness to my trust in God’s faithfulness'
(4) Genesis 14:17-24
•Test: Abraham gave a tithe of loot to the godly king of Salem, Melchizedek, and refused the gift of the king of Sodom.
•Application: Am I watchful in my dealings with people that I give proper honour to God and refuse to receive honour that belongs to him'
(5) Genesis 15:1-6
•Test: Abraham trusted God’s promise that he would have a son.
•Application: How often do I consciously reaffirm my trust in God’s promises'
(6) Genesis 15:7-11
•Test: Abraham received the promised land by faith, though the fulfillment would not come for many generations.
•Application: How have I demonstrated my continued trust in God during those times when I have been required to wait'
(7) Genesis 17:9-27
•Test: At God’s command, Abraham circumcised every male in his family.
•Application: In what occasions in my life have I acted simply in obedience to God, and not because I understood the significance of what I was doing'
(8) Genesis 18:1-8
•Test: Abraham welcomed strangers, who turned out to be angels.
•Application: When was the last time I practiced hospitality'
(9) Genesis 18:22-33
•Test: Abraham prayed for Sodom.
•Application: Am I eager to see people punished, or do I care for people in spite of their sinfulness'
(10) Genesis 20:1-17
•Test: Abraham admitted to wrongdoing and took the actions needed to set things right.
•Application: When I sin, is my tendency to cover up, or confess? Do I practise the truth that an apology must sometimes be accompanied by restitution'
(11) Genesis 21:22-34
•Test: Abraham negotiated a treaty with Abimelech concerning a well.
•Application: Can people depend on my words and promises'
(12) Genesis 22:1-12
•Test: Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac.
•Application: In what ways has my life demonstrated that I will not allow anything to come before God'