God’s Test – Heather Marsten

Sunday, August 06, 2006
I get to do a Bible study for the church today. Please keep me in your prayers, that God will use this to help people. I know that I am often too hard on myself, forgetting that the tests that God gives us in this life are for our own growth and spiritual walk.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Heather

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Bible Study for August 6, 2006

GOD’S TESTS

I have never loved tests. Just the thought of tests can send me into fits of panic. Doesn’t matter if I have studied well or been surprised, I tend to break out in a cold sweat at the mention of tests. Yet, God uses tests in our lives.

I used to think it was bizarre that God would have to test us. Doesn’t He already know if we will pass or fail the test? Of course He does. His tests are not for his information, but for our information. The tests clearly show us where we are in the walk of faith. The best part of God’s testing of us is that he wants us to ace the test, and He will keep giving us the same test over and over again until we finally get it right.

Beth Moore said this bout God’s tests in our lives in her study The Patriarchs:

  1. Our tests have our names on them.  We will not have to take someone else’s test. The Hebrew word for test means to try, to prove and carries the meaning of testing the quality of a person through stressful circumstances.
  2. Our hardest tests often involve our dearest loves. Those closest to us can test our walk of faith far more than a stranger can.
  3. We are not powerless in our tests. How we take them is up to us.
  4. Obedience is not the hardest part of our most trying tests, keeping the faith is.
  5. The harder the test, the more far reaching its ramifications.

The best thing about God’s tests is that they are open book.

I thought we would look at the tests that Abram had in his walk with God. And then show you God’s report card about Abram’s tests. Perhaps we can learn a bit about ourselves and some of our tests. I really am beginning to realize that it is better to learn some of my lessons from the Word of God rather than learning them in the School of Hard Knocks.

ABRAM’S TESTS:

  1. Abram’s fervor – would he leave his homeland and move to an unknown place, believing God. Genesis 12:1 The Lord tells Abram to get out of his country, leave family and father’s house. How did Abram score –maybe 50%.  He did leave his country, but brought his father and Lot with Him. Genesis 11:31 It might be interesting to note that His father’s name is Terah which means delay. Abram will first travel about ½ the way to Canaan and reside in Haran which means parched and desolate. He will stay there with Sarai and Lot until his father dies. So often, we settle where we are until something dies, and that then causes us to move forward. Abram moves forward and ends up residing between Ai (which means heap of ruins) and Bethel (which means house of God), in the land of Canaan. But it took the death of his father to get him to this land promised by God.
  2. Reliance on God –Genesis 12:10 famine, stress of circumstances. He failed this test. There was a famine in the land. Although God had promised Abram that He would provide for him and his family, the famine drove Abram down to the land of Egypt (which is another type of the flesh). In Egypt Abram will end up lying, pretending that his wife is his sister, and after the famine come back with more property and a maid – Hagar. We are still dealing with what Abram brought back from Egypt in this day and age, for Hagar will give birth to Ishmael, from which the Arabs are descended.
  3. Humility – Abram and Lot, Abram passed with flying colors. Genesis 13:8-9 He allowed Lot to pick out the territory he wanted to live in. Lot chose to live near Sodom and Gomorrah, and God gave Abram all the land for him and his descendants forever. Genesis 13:14-18. Lot picked the land that looked the best, but Abram trusted God and received the best land. Note the promise AFTER Lot separated.
  4. Courage – boldness with the kings of the north and south to rescue Lot. It took courage to go against the armies that took his brother.
  5. Greed – Abram refused the reward of the king of Sodom, choosing instead to tithe to Melchizadek. Genesis 14:18-24
  6. Trusting God to do what he said. Abram believed that God would provide him with offspring. But instead of waiting for God’s timing, Abram and Sarai decided to help God out, by allowing Hagar to birth a son from Abram. Although Abram loved Ishmael, his son, it was not the son God had in mind. God waited almost 25 years but provided Sarai and Abram with the son, Isaac. Genesis 18 Abraham was 100, This son was born when both Abram and Sarai were far too old to produce offspring, but God was able to do this miracle. All these tests helped Abram to grow in faith until
  7. The ultimate test – God told Abram that he was to sacrifice his son, his only son, Isaac. Abram walked toward Mt. Moriah, believing that God would provide. Abram bound his son, placed him on the altar, and raised his knife, but his hand was stayed, as an angel showed Abraham a ram caught in the thicket. Abraham was allowed to enact the most important substitutionary sacrifice of all, the death of Jesus for our sins.

What kind of grade did God give Abraham? Lets look at Hebrews 11:8-12 – Notice, no mention of the detour, no mention of bringing his father with him. No mention of the trip to Egypt or Ishmael, and Hebrews 11:17-19 . God recorded the acts of faith that Abraham did, not the mistakes. In fact, if you study the people’s lives mentioned in Hebrews 11, comparing them with their stories in the Old Testament, you will see that in God’s grade book only the successes are recorded. God takes these records out and points out where people acted in faith, where they believed Him. He probably would put the acts of faith prominently displayed on his refrigerator for all to see.

Now turn with me to Hebrews 11:41 that verse hasn’t been written yet. Beth Moore, in her study, Believing God had us write our own verse for that. By faith (fill in your name) did….. What will God write about you in Hebrews 11? I know he is faithfully recording every step you walk in faith.

Our tests can become part of our testimony as we learn to walk in faith.

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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