Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Life is full of tests: school tests, driving tests, medical tests, tests of friendship, and the general testing that is part of being human. But we generally don't think about God testing us. And yet, that's exactly what happens in the story we are looking at this week. God tests Abraham by asking him to kill his son.
The story begins in Genesis 22, “After these things, God tested Abraham.” After these things—after God called Abraham to leave his family and his homeland to go out to a land that God would show him; after God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations; after Sarah was barren for many years; after Ishmael was born and that fiasco with Hagar; after the boy called “laughter,” Isaac, was born; after these things…after all this, God tested Abraham.
Why would God test Abraham? What kind of a God would test you using a child as a prop? Did Abraham pass or fail? Does God still test us like this today? These are tough questions that the text doesn’t answer. Abraham is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If he takes Isaac’s life, he loses the heir that God promised him. If he doesn’t take Isaac’s life and disobeys God, then he loses God. It becomes a God versus God paradox. Which God will win? The God of the promise or the God of the test and punishment?
This is a tough passage and we won't shy away from it. Tough passages are best worked through in community. So join this week as we explore together what it means to be tested by God and to look for God's provision in tough times.
NOTE: Please continue masking well in church and elsewhere. Baltimore City now has a masking mandate for all indoor spaces. Other churches in our area are having to go back online due to Covid-19 outbreaks in fully vaccinated worshipers. Please help keep our community safe.