God and Tests

From “Hunger for God” by Piper:

Why then the test? Here is the way C. S. Lewis
answers the question,

{I am concerned with the question] “If God is omniscient he
must have known what Abraham would do, without any
experiment; why, then, this needless torture?” But as St.
Augustine points out, whatever God knew, Abraham at any
rate did not know that this obedience would endure such a
command until the event taught him; and the obedience
which he did not know that he would choose, he cannot be
said to have chosen. The reality of Abraham’s obedience was
the act itself; and what God knew in knowing that Abraham
“would obey” was Abraham’s actual obedience on that
mountain top at that moment. To say that God “need not
have tried the experiment” is to say that because God
knows, the thing known by God need not exist.4
God wills to know the actual, lived-out reality of our preference
for him over all things. And he wills that we have the testimony
of our own authenticity through acts of actual preference
of God over his gifts. Lewis is right that God may as well not have
created the world, but only imagined it, if his knowing what
“would be” is as good as his knowing it in the very act. God wills
that he have an experiential-knowing, an actual seeing-knowing,
a watching-knowing. A real lived-out human act of preference
for God over his gifts is the actual lived-out glorification of God’s
excellence for which he created the world. Fasting is not the only
way, or the main way, that we glorify God in preferring him
above his gifts. But it is one way. And it is a way that can serve
all the others.

My own realization: Stepping out in faith means more when we consider the pleasure of God in our obedience. He doesn’t want to imagine it, He wants us to obey. He loves obedience.


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