Mark R Lindsey

“God, prove yourself.”

In Bible Study, Trust on March 5, 2019 at 11:30 am

Deuteronomy 6:16

You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

We have a heavenly Father who, under dire circumstances, may test us. He may even given us a task and then prevent its completion. Is that even fair?

He tested Abraham by commanding the awful killing of his son; then interfered in the obedient action, and rescued them both. And he seemed to test the disciples Mary and Mary when they found the empty tomb. These two obeyed, trusting the message of the angel, but Jesus stopped them on the way and rewarded them by showing himself. 

Test of Moses

From Genesis 22:1-12-

  • TEST: God tested Abraham and said to him, … “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering …”
  • OBEDIENCE: Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 
  • REWARD: But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” … He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

Test of Mary and Mary

From Matthew 28:1-10 — Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. … But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”

  • TEST: Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 
  • OBEDIENCE: So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
  • REWARD: And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

The essence of these tests are the same: God has given a command to act, so will you trust Him and obey?

But if God may test us, can we test God? The Israelites were in the desert when they decided to try; this is recorded in Exodus 17:2-7. They had run out of water, and they tested God — trying to disprove God. The key question in Exodus 17:7: “Is the Lord [Yahweh] among us or not?”

In that case at Massah, God graciously provided water, and went further: God stood before them on the rock (Exodus 17:6). He proved his presence by providing and (in some way) by standing in their midst.

So the Jews camping were greatly blessed, but we’re told never to repeat this test of God: Deuteronomy 6:16 — “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.”

When God tested Abraham, God was asking whether Abraham trusted God. 

When God tested the two Marys, God was asking whether they trusted Him.

But when the camping Jews at Masah tested God, they were doubting God. They were demonstrating that they didn’t trust him.

How do you come to trust God? 

He gives us evidence, and His words. Examine the Bible and see if it’s worthy of your trust. Does it correspond with the reality you live in? Would a trustworthy document survive the test of time?

Examine the world, and recognize the God who made it. Is that God, who provides for all these animals and flowers, trustworthy?

Examine your life in the parts you keep from God. Are your decisions trustworthy? Does your heart convince you that your judgment is better than the wisdom of God who wants to be your Father?

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