G-d does not prove us to gain proof of us. G-d does not need to find us out. He proves us for our sake. Perhaps we would be less inclined to treat G-d with incredulity in times of trial if we understood that He is journeying with us to teach us about ourselves. After all, He knows us completely, we know ourselves only in part—it is hilarious to consider that knowing so little of ourselves we are none the less often eager to pretend to know others.
Perhaps the greatest lesson of “proving” is the lesson of humility. Abraham responds three times in the Akedah using the Hebrew word “Hineni”—I am humbly ready to receive you/your words. Firstly to G-d--ha-Av, then to his son--ha-ben, and finally to the Messenger of G-d--ha-Ruach. Abraham is nothing if not in full submission to G-d in this text (Genesis 22). Bread is proved by yeast, sugar, warmth and time. Dough is at the mercy of waiting and reliant on well measured ingredients. The quality of bread is the result of the skill of the baker.
Our Messiah found himself in this most vulnerable of positions in the garden of Gethsemane when the proving of all proving was made manifest in Him. His words mirror the faith—emunah—He had placed in Abraham so many years before, “Not my will but Your will be done,” Hineni— I am humbly ready to receive you/your words, Your plan for my life.
© Alastair Brown 2013