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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 honor to God and refuse to receive honor 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 practice 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'

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