Handling Trials Biblically

8 August 2021 PM – Genesis 22 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Read Genesis 22:1-14. Most trials that we face just come upon us unexpectedly. It may be the death of a loved one, an accident, a sickness, a disaster, a wayward child, a financial crisis or even a persecution. Abraham’s trial was perhaps harder than any we will ever face because God told him to offer his only son as a burnt sacrifice. I cannot imagine the agony he must have endured. God does not mention Sarah or her feelings during this episode.
            As the Lord would have it, there are several similarities between Handling Trials Biblically and Getting Direction from God Proverbs 3:5-6.
Transition: As we examine how Abraham handled this huge trial, we learn four actions we must take in order to Handle Trials Biblically.
The first action we must take to handle trials biblically is to …
  1. Trust God’s Wisdom
a.         God never makes mistakes.
1)         One of the first questions we often ask during trials is “Why?” Therefore, the first thing we must do is to trust God’s wisdom. He never makes mistakes.
2)         Abraham had this settled in his mind. God had always been faithful to him, in Haran, in Egypt, with Sodom, with Hagar and Ishmael, and in Beersheba.
3)         (Deuteronomy 32:4) “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (2 Samuel 22:31) “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
4)         His view of our trial is superior to ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
b.         God never gives us more than we can endure.
1)         The word temptation and testing are often used interchangeably in the Bible. God was not tempting Abraham to sin. He was testing him to make him better.
2)         Whether in a temptation or a trial, God knows our limits. (1 Corinthians 10:13) “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
3)         Just as in Job’s trial, God’s plan in our trials is to improve our character. (Job 23:10) “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (James 1:2-4) “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
The second action we must take to handle trials biblically is to …
2.        Ponder God’s Character
a.         Focus on all you know about God.
1)         As Abraham received that shocking command (v.2), he must have focussed on all that he know about God. God had never failed him.
2)         Recall again the character qualities of God that we noted last week. (God is Longsuffering, good, loving, unchanging, ready to forgive, plenteous in mercy, faints not, all fruits of Spirit, His way is perfect, comforts, faithful, will help, rock, fortress, thoughts & ways higher, holy, nothing too hard, A-W, our help, works all together for good, wise, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, cares, excellent in power, can do above all we ask).
3)         The more you know about God’s character, the easier it will be to handle your trial biblically.
b.         Meditate on what you know about God.
1)         That night Abraham’s mind must have been buzzing as he meditated on what God had commanded and how he must trust God, though he did not understand.
2)         We must not worry about the “what ifs”. Instead, we must meditate on God’s never-changing character. (Psalms 77:12) “I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
The third action we must take to handle trials biblically is to …
3.        Obey God’s Commands
a.         We must obey His Word exactly.
1)         Abraham did exactly what God told him to do (v.3).
2)         When a trial comes, we too must know exactly what God said, and then do it. (Psalms 55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Ephesians 6:10) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Philippians 4:6-7) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
b.         We must obey His Word quickly.
1)         Abraham wasted no time. Early the next morning, he made preparations and left on his torturous trip (v.3).
2)         Even when hurting, we must not delay to obey. We must not panic. We must not worry. We must quickly obey God’s commands. The better we know God, the easier this will be.
The fourth action we must take to handle trials biblically is to …
4.        Rest in God’s Promises
a.         Know God’s promises.
1)         Abraham knew what God had promised. The book of Hebrews tells us that Abraham rested in God’s promises. (Hebrews 11:17-19) “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
2)         God included promises in many of His commands. Other promises include, (Isaiah 26:3) “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Romans 8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9) “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
b.         Claim God’s promises.
1)         Abraham claimed God’s promise that Isaac was his heir through which God would multiply his seed. He believed even when he did not understand.
2)         We too must claim His promises. (1 Thessalonians 5:24) “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
3)         After Ron Hamilton lost an eye to cancer, he wrote the scripture song, Rejoice in the Lord. “God never moves without purpose or plan When trying His servant and molding a man, Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long, In darkness He giveth a song. I could not see through the shadows ahead, So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead, I bowed to the will of the Master that day, Then peace came and tears fled away. Now I can see testing comes from above, God strengthens His children and purges in love, My Father knows best, and I trust in His care, Through purging more fruit I will bear. O Rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake, He knoweth the end of each path that I take, For when I am tried And purified, I shall come forth as gold.”
Conclusion: We have learned four actions that we must take to handle our trials biblically. When the pressure is on and emotions are high, it takes effort to handle our trials biblically, but with God’s grace we can. Preparation is absolutely vital. We must spend quality time with the Lord every day. We must get to know God WELL. We must memorise His instructions and promises so well that we can recall them instantly.
Song: Cast your burden on the Lord