“Iffy” Exploratory Theology.
It would be unthinkable today that, on the basis of “hearing a voice”, anyone could believe God would ask you to kill*. This may happen where psychiatric help is needed, but our understanding of God has surely moved far beyond this sort of primitive position.
Abraham had something in common with others. It was “The wilderness”. Testing seems to occur in the “wilderness”. Jesus (in the desert forty days) along with Abraham, the Jews (forty years) and John the Baptist, were all moved to the wilderness, where they underwent, were subjected to, “testing”. [in an uncomfortable situation or environment].
The wilderness seems to be a place where we are moved to unfamiliar territory, with none of the comforts of home. John had no problem with this, he seemed to thrive on separation from society in his communion with God. Jesus was tempted, and his temptation was in part, to test or “try” God, which he refused to do. [This was after his baptism]. The Jews, having been removed from captivity in Egypt, having crossed through the Red sea, were on their way to the promised land, but most of them did not survive wilderness wandering, they were moaning and sinning and yes, testing or trying God. [His patience?]
In the heart of man it seems to be natural to test God as people seek to evaluate and compare their position with God, as they seek to understand their relationship with Him. Abraham seems to be different, his heart seems to have been pure enough to follow God’s call to leave his home and wander off, not knowing where he was going. He is used as an example of great faith, because he took his son to sacrifice in obedience to God’s word of the time, reasoning that God could raise him up again. In fact, he told his companions that he WOULD return with the boy. [and he did because God intervened and stopped him].
In another scenario, one could see Abraham, or someone else, TESTING that God would raise him up (or not). Jesus was tempted to test God’s power in relation to himself, so perhaps we could say that to test God, one has fallen to temptation. Jesus refused to do this. The interesting thing is the parallel to FAITH. Abraham believed God and did what he was told. Another person might believe that God had the power to do it (faith?) and prod [or “ask”] (Jesus’ temptation [because of his status] was to command that stones be made into bread?) him to do so, when he had not been invited (or ordered) to follow that path. The one is to do God’s will, the other is to try to take advantage of his grace, obeying the will of the flesh instead of the Spirit. [Maybe something could be said here of those who play with poisonous serpents as a test of “faith”].
Testing and trying God then, is to try and control him or his will, instead of following it. This is probably something which is quite common amongst religious people.
*[There are certain sects who think that they in the Millennium will be in the position of killing those who are not of their belief system, as agents of God].
[It appears there is an immense parallel here with Jesus the only begotten son of God in sacrificial offering mode].[Isaac = sole heir]