“From there he went on toward the hills
east of Bethel and pitched his tent,
with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.
There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.”
Genesis 12:8 (NIV)
Abraham lived what we might call a disturbing life. God tested his faith greatly on more than one occasion. A crisis event was the day when God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac whom he loved dearly (Genesis 22). Our hearts go out to Abraham as he was put into such a horrific situation. However, Abraham did obey the Lord and so became a type of God Who actually did sacrifice His Son at Calvary.
God stopped Abraham from completing the sacrifice (Genesis 22:12) and Isaac was spared. However, Abraham suffered another test at the hand of God that went on for many years. This test did not end as quickly as it began like the sacrifice of Isaac. Instead Abraham was called on by God to become a wanderer through foreign countries.
In Hebrews 11:8-10 we read of how this man continued faithful to God when he was being tested for so many years. Abraham was enabled to recognize that this life is not all there is to our existence. Each time Abraham drove in the tent pegs at the next location on his journey he thought about the home God was making ready for him that was permanent. The tent pegs of that home would never be pulled up.
Abraham understood by faith that the day would come when the tent, his temporary home, would be put aside and he would enter the city of God. Meanwhile he was put through the test to keep him from making this life his heaven. He had to leave the security of his own country in order to understand that here he was a foreigner—he had his citizenship in a land far removed from the one he journeyed through.
Has the Lord called on you to loosen your grip on this world in order that you might hold on to the promise of the life to come? Has the Lord called on you to lay a beloved child in His arms to be kept safe with Him until you are reunited? Did your test in that regard exceed Abraham offering up Isaac?
Is your situation in this life one of poverty and need? Did you learn the lesson that when God takes away the things of this life He has promised to replace it with treasures you shall keep forever? Accept the bitter test in your life and understand it is from the Lord in order to further prepare you for the glories of the city of God.