One think I absolutely HATE is manipulating others feelings or actions. What was the point? I mean I know that God was testing Abraham but really did he have to go THERE?
Step away from this story for a moment.
Think about leadership. In every single position I have had, the leaders, management, trainers, etc. that I respect and look up to the most are those that are willing to do ANYTHING they ask you to do.
Take Starbucks. I worked there for over 5 years. There were times I was asked to do things that I did not want to do. Clean up vomit in the bathroom? No thanks. Scrape gum off the menu board? Next please. Clean the drains that reek of curdled milk. Seriously?
I have actually told people no. My views may have changed since then, because I was convicted another time about the whole "working as if for the Lord" Scripture. However, there have been times, not just at Starbucks, that I have straight up refused to do something. I mean, unless you want a double dose of vomit to clean up, I may not be the particular person for that job.
Through the years I have begun to notice that, even when it is a job I am not inclined to be enthusiastic about completing, if I know the person asking me to do it would do it, then I am so much more willing to finish it due to the example they have set. They have led the way.
Back to Abraham. Did he know that God himself would one day give up His innocent son as a sacrifice? I don't know. I think that Abraham knew God well enough to know His character. He knew that God wouldn't ask him to do something that He Himself was not willing to do. So that added to the trust he had when he raised that dagger above his only Son's body.
Was it a test? Yes. Greg Marksberry said something in the sermon today that hit home. He said, "If Abraham was to become the Father of our faith, then God wants to know he trusts Him." At first I thought YES! This makes GREAT sense. Then I gnawed on it a bit more and I am sorry Greg but I respectfully disagree.
God knows us. He knows how much faith we have.
When I am employed and I see someone gain favor, if I have seen their exemplary behavior I do not question the decision for their favor, may it be a promotion or award. If I see someone receive favor without that visible example of hard work, faith, etc. I may question their position.
God knew this would be a Bible story. He knew Abraham would have many sons and that his sons (and daughters) would talk about this story, well, forever. The test wasn't for God to see his faith. The test was for US to see it. To know that GOD chose someone who would follow Him unconditionally.
God is an amazing leader. Perfect in fact.