There are several tests that came upon Abraham in the book of Genesis: He was tested by his father, by his nephew Lot, and by his wife. It is through testing that we find out what kind of faith we have. We have to be willing to face the tests that come up in life. We may not understand why we go through some things, but if we keep walking with God, He will reveal the reason to us.
The conflicts Abraham had with Ishmael and Isaac were conflicts of the flesh and of the spirit. Isaac was the child of promise. Ishmael was the result of man’s attempt to produce natural evidence to a supernatural promise. But we have to bring the will of the flesh under subjection. The only way to overcome the fleshly nature is to cling to God’s word. Ishmael symbolizes the old covenant with Israel and Isaac symbolizes the new covenant with the church. Christians today are not under the law. There is a conflict between God’s way and man’s way. Salvation allows you to see things spiritually instead of naturally. If we obey God, He will always make a way and solve our problems. We must be very careful with our relationship with those outside of Christ.
Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but God tests us to bring out the best in us. (James 1:12-14) God doesn’t take you though something to tear you down, but He takes you though things to build you up. God tests you so that He may be glorified when you endure and come out as pure gold!
When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, He wasn’t looking for Isaac to die but He wanted to be sure that He had Abraham’s heart. God wanted to be sure that Isaac was not standing as an idol between God and Abraham. Never doubt in the promise that God gives you. Abraham remained faithful and obedient to God and God kept His promise. Sometimes we use the ram instead of the lamb. With Abraham, it was not time to use the lamb as a sacrifice. Jesus came later as the lamb for the sacrifice. The lamb that Isaac was concerned about was Jesus! Don’t use the ram for the answer. The ram is a fill-in to satisfy the situation at the time. But the lamb, Jesus, did come at the right time. Everything must happen at the right time that God appoints. God provides when we are obedient. Don’t lose faith because God doesn’t give the answer to your problem right away. Stay faithful to God and He will provide.