Took in the short, camp church service, the ice cream social, and STILL had lots of time to sort pictures (mainly Grand Canyon ones–not done yet!), study books, and nap! That’s besides cooking barbecued pork chops and vegetables for supper.
Continuing in chapter 2 of The Jesus Way, Peterson is going over Abraham as an example of faith–in particular, the Akedah, the “binding”–when Abraham must bind up his own son to offer as a sacrifice. You see, faith must be tested, and the test must involve sacrifice.
“…we cannot be trusted to test ourselves. We are too full of self-interest and self-deceit. We are too devious in devising ways of cooking the books to document the evidence that serves our illusions.” It seems that, even though it was not Abraham’s idea, it will also be God who is being tested for Abraham… “Has Abraham been dealing with God all these years, the God who spoke, the God who promised and fulfilled promises, the God who gave visions and issued commands? Or has he been making it all up?” I submit that, if all of it has been an illusion, then Abraham may as well give up anyway!
But, as Peterson points out, he has gone through many tests already by this point–constantly having to move on, “leaving Ur and Haran, leaving Shechem and Bethel, leaving Egypt and Gerar, leaving Beersheba…. But every leaving was also a lightening of self, a further cleansing of the toxins of acquisition.” To my way of thinking, Abraham’s faith had grown so much by this time, that he absolutely knew that God was either going to stop his hand or bring Isaac back to life–so it didn’t bother him. And we are reminded that indeed, they showed no surprise when God did stop him and provide a ram at just the right moment.
To sum up, I found it interesting to think of the testing of our faith as a means of a “reality check” for us. For often we say we have faith, we think we do, and we “feel” like we do–but it’s only after testing that we find out how much we really do have faith. And even when we fail the test, as Abraham sometimes did (in Egypt, with Hagar, etc.), we can hopefully learn from the failure and improve our chances for the next time–since God never fails the test!