Passing and Failing Tests

Passing and Failing Tests

Genesis 26:10 – Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

 As we’ve seen over the past several months, Genesis is one giant family case study on those who follow God, who bless generations of their family, and those who do not follow God, cursing generations of their family.

In upwards of a dozen places throughout Scripture, God is referred to as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (e.g., Genesis 50:24, Exodus 3:15, Acts 7:32), showing part of the long family line that will ultimately lead to Jesus Christ.

Though these three all loved Jesus, they sometimes passed their tests and other times failed their tests. Looking at Abraham and Isaac in comparison, it’s interesting to note that several of the tests they faced were the same.

In Genesis 12 and 26, Abraham and Isaac, respectively, faced a famine and wanted to go to Egypt, even though God had not commanded them to do so. Abraham failed his test, going to Egypt anyway, where he would lie and sell his wife away for fear of harm. On the other hand, Isaac passed the test in this case, staying in Gerar instead, which is today south-central Israel, also known as part of the Promised Land which God had planned for His people.

However, Isaac fell into the same trap and failed the same test as his father in that he lied about his wife, saying that she was his sister, for fear of harm (v. 7-11). Whether it was the same King Abimelech that Abraham sold Sarah to, or his son or grandson, can you imagine what he was thinking? Probably something like, “Not these people again!”

But, not because of Abraham or Isaac’s good works, but instead because of God’s goodness, He still blessed Isaac, as He had Isaac’s father. God was still able to work through both of them, also once again showing His goodness to unbelievers like Abimelech and his people. Like Abraham, Isaac was an imperfect sinner and, though he would fail a test now, he would grow in faith and love for God to pass his ultimate test later in life.

Aren’t you thankful that we worship a good God that doesn’t count on or need our good deeds in order to show us goodness and kindness?

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Mark Driscoll
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