Supernatural Biblical Guidance 15
Holy Spirit Testing, Proving & Guidance

by Pastor John Hamel

It would not be right to leave the subject of supernatural Biblical guidance without studying an event that occurred in the life of Abraham.  Although Abraham did not experience the Baptism with the Holy Spirit in the way we do in this present Dispensation of Grace, he was still a man of exceptional faith and consecration.  He made mistakes, yes.  

However, in spite of the fact that he did not have the Holy Spirit to strengthen him from within, he still walked strongly with the Lord.  So strongly, in fact, that the Apostle Paul said we should follow Abraham’s example of living by faith. (Romans 4:11,12) 

Abraham faced many extreme tests in his walk with God.   He left his home and his family to follow the leading of Almighty God in his life. (Genesis 12:1-5)  He painfully allowed himself to be separated from his nephew, Lot, in order to maintain a peaceful relationship with him. (Genesis 13:1-18)  He gave up his plans for his illegitimate son, Ishmael, casting him away with his mother, Hagar, trusting God to providentially care for them. (Genesis 17:15-27; 21:9-21)  Although this particular act seems heartless to some, it was indeed another demonstration of Abraham’s unwavering confidence in God’s wisdom, love and care

There is yet another event in the life of Abraham that we will study today.  This is an event that proved Abraham’s faith in the Almighty above all the other tests of his life.   Let us look at it now.

The Holy Spirit Severely Tested Abraham to Prove Him 

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.  And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.   And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.  Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you,

“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.  And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.  And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 

“And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for NOW I KNOW THAT THOU FEAREST GOD, SEEING THOU HAST NOT WITHHELD THY SON, THINE ONLY SON FROM ME.” (Genesis 22:1-12)

Isaac was the son of Abraham’s faith.  God referred to Isaac as “thine only son” because he was Abraham’s only legitimate, God-ordained son.  Isaac was the son of God’s promise to Abraham. (Genesis 18:9-14)  Isaac was a miracle boy and his Daddy loved him with his very life.  Abraham had spent the last ten plus years doting on this boy, kissing, hugging, loving and teaching him with his life.  Now God was asking Abraham to take him to the top of Mount Moriah where he was to offer him on a blazing altar.  No doubt this was the most difficult day of Abraham’s entire life. 

Once again Abraham demonstrated his complete and absolute faith in Almighty God.  He could not possibly have fully comprehended God’s command to him, yet he followed it through regardless.  He rose early in the morning, loaded the wood for the sacrificial fire on his donkey and traveled for three mentally and physically excruciating days with Isaac and two helpers.  If anything proved his deliberate and complete obedience to God, the emotional suffering that this trip represented did. 

Arriving at the place of sacrifice, Abraham personally built the altar, laying the wood in order and binding Isaac on the altar.  Abraham wrapped his aging hand around the knife that he had no doubt personally fashioned in his own blacksmith shop.  Concentrating on doing the job cleanly and quickly in order to lessen Isaac’s suffering, suddenly the Angel of the Lord spoke from Heaven, “Abraham, Abraham, lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God seeing that thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” 

Abraham’s actions confirmed what God had already known about Abraham. (Genesis 18:19)  But testing and proving Abraham in this way enabled God to say, “Now I know experientially that he will obey Me emphatically.”  Yes, God is omniscient, meaning He knows all things.  But, no, God does not know all things experientially.  For some reason God wanted to experience Abraham’s faith, willingness and obedience. 

There are times when God wants to experience our faith, willingness and obedience, as well.

The Holy Spirit Severely Tested Us to Prove Us

Some years ago my wife and I were driving from Kentucky to Oklahoma, having just completed a weeklong Ministry engagement.  Somewhere in Missouri the Holy Spirit told me that we were to pack our belongings and relocate our Ministry to London, England.  I heard the Holy Spirit in this matter as clearly as I had ever heard Him concerning anything.  Having previously spent time in England, I had fallen in love with the country and the people and was more than willing to obey the Holy Spirit in this matter. 

As we continued to seek the Lord in this matter, we both had the inner witness that this was what we were to do.  We sold or gave away furnishings and other household commodities.  We kept only our clothing, personal effects and Ministry related items.   We inventoried our entire library, a major project in itself.  We had boxes stacked in the living room.  We contacted customs.  We contacted other Charismatic Ministers in the greater London area who were a great help to us.  We informed family, friends and Ministry partners of our plans.  We did absolutely everything we knew to do in the natural to cooperate with the leading of the Holy Spirit only to later discover that the Lord did not want us to move to London.  He only wanted to know experientially if we would obey Him or not.  Our faith, willingness and obedience were being proven and tested just like Abraham.  He didn’t want Abraham to take Isaac’s life.  He didn’t want us to move to London, at least at that time.

In Genesis 22:1 the Scripture says that “God did tempt Abraham …”  The Hebrew word for “tempt” in this verse is “nacah.”  It means “to test and to prove.” 

The Holy Spirit was not testing us to lead us into heartache.  He does not do such things. (James 1:12,13)  The Holy Spirit tests us and proves us to know, experientially, if we will keep His commandments.  The Holy Spirit tests and proves our faith, willingness and obedience in order that He might strengthen us, bless us and reward us. (Exodus 15:26; 16:4; 20:20; Deuteronomy 8:2,16; 2 Samuel 22:31; 2Chronicles 9:1; 32:31; Psalm 26:2; Proverbs 17:3; Hebrews 11:17; 1Peter 1:7) 

Our complete compliance to the expressed will of God for our lives ultimately cost us the confidence and support of some who were confused by our experience.  These individuals simply had no comprehension of the testing and proving of the Lord.  They were unfamiliar with the written Word of God in this area, unfamiliar with the life of Abraham and, therefore, wrongly judged us according to the outward circumstances. (John 7:24)  We love them regardless.  But to be quite honest, we would prefer to have the confidence and support of Almighty God than the confidence and support of any human being. 

It is Scriptural for the Holy Spirit to instruct someone to do something that He does not intend for them to follow through with.  He did it with Abraham and He can do it with anyone.  Abraham is the father of our faith and we are instructed in the Bible to follow in his faith steps. 

“… who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” (Romans 4:12)

Abraham’s experience with the Lord’s testing and proving is recorded in the Book of Genesis as an example to all who desire to live the life of faith.

Has the Holy Spirit Severely Tested & Proved You?  

Possibly in the past the Holy Spirit has instructed you to do something that in your estimation did not “pan out.”  You were convinced in your heart that you had the inner witness, the inner voice or both.  You made preparations to obey Him and lo and behold it just did not “work out”, so to speak.  You ended up doing something totally different and unrelated but still today you wonder, “Why did that happen to me?” 

Hopefully, you now have your answer.  In most cases, when this happens, the Holy Spirit is testing and proving the faith, willingness and obedience of that individual.  Pass the test and get ready to be blessed.  Somebody said, “I just can’t see the Holy Spirit telling someone to actually pack up or sell all of their possessions, close down a Ministry and go through all the heartache of informing friends and family that you are moving to another country, only to turn around and say that it was not His will after all.  He was just testing and proving you.” 

To which I respond, “I just can’t see Almighty God actually telling someone to load up the donkey with fire wood and their only child and go on a three day journey through the desert to an unknown place on the top of a mountain.  Once you get there I want you to cut your child’s throat like an innocent sacrificial lamb and offer him to Me there on a fiery altar that you’ve built yourself.”  But that is exactly what the Most High God did with Abraham to test and prove his faith experientially.  The Holy Spirit can test and prove our faith, willingness and obedience in any way that He determines to be most beneficial to the individual. 

Dr. Lester Sumrall lived a life of faith from the time he was seventeen years old until he went to Heaven at eighty-three years old.  He preached the Gospel in well over two hundred nations of the world.  He was a pioneer in Christian broadcasting, a prolific author, Bible Teacher, Missionary, Evangelist, Pastor and Apostle.  Dr. Sumrall once stated that he had Pastors and Ministry leaders continually approach him, no matter where he was in the world, all asking him the same question.  “Why, Dr. Sumrall,” they would ask, “would God have me to prepare myself, my family and my Ministry to go into another nation only to tell me to not go once I had made every faithful preparation?”  Dr. Sumrall would tell them in essence, “The answer is simple.  God has tested you and proven you even as He tested and proved Abraham.  God has tested and proven your faith, your willingness and your obedience to Him.  God is pleased with what you have done.  Now allow God to bless you for it, won’t you?”

There is no need to live in confusion any longer if you have been tested and proven in this way.  God has chosen you even as He chose Abraham.  Abraham lived by faith. You, too, must live by faith.  Abraham left his comfortable surroundings in Ur of the Chaldees not knowing where he was going, to walk with the Most High God.  

You, too, must at least be willing to leave your comfortable surroundings, not knowing where you might be going, in order to walk with Almighty God. 

Abraham’s experiences enabled him to know God intimately, trusting Him explicitly in every area of his life.  Your experiences with the Holy Spirit will enable you, too, to know God intimately, trusting Him explicitly in every area of your life.  Living the life of faith is not always easy.  But living the life of faith is a life that will always be filled with excitement and is never mundane.  The life of faith is a life filled with supernatural experiences and supernatural blessings.  

I am confident that Abraham would have much rather preferred to go to war single handedly against all the kings of Babylon than to even think about giving up his sweet boy.  This was such a severe test of his faith.  This was also a type and a shadow of Almighty God giving up His sweet Boy to redeem His creation.

Possibly you will never be tested quite as severely as Abraham was but you will be tested. (Psalm 66:8-12; James 1:3; 1Peter 1:6,7)  You can know no matter how severe your testing and proving, the Holy Spirit will always bring you through to a better place than that which you were in prior to your testing.  

You can also know that He will never ask you to do something that He will not personally see you through and then reward you for sticking with Him in it. 

“There hath no temptation (Greek: “putting to proof”) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (Greek: “tested and proven”) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Corinthians 10:13)

The Most High God wants to know how far you are willing to go with Him before assigning you, promoting you and rewarding you.  He wants to know, experientially, what He is getting.  That is only reasonable.  You want to know what you are getting before you make an investment, don’t you?


If you have been severely tested and proven similar to the ways mentioned in this study, God is pleased with you.  You should not be confused.  You should be pleased with yourself.  Now allow God to bless you, won’t you? (Isaiah 1:18,19)

Be Blessed ... John and Barbara Hamel



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