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Testing God

Testing God

As we’ve been going through the Gospel of Luke, we’re now talking about the Lord’s time of testing in the wilderness. So far, Satan has tried to influence Him twice. He failed on both attempts.

But, the devil doesn’t give up easily. He tried one more time. Since Christ had used the Scripture to answer each attack, the enemy tried a new strategy. He used a quote from the Bible, itself.

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Luke 4:9-11

The enemy tried to use a promise to tempt the Lord. The devil quoted a Scripture that directly referred to the Messiah. Nothing at all could harm the Lord until He made it to the cross.

The enemy uses the same strategy with us. He uses just enough truth to get our minds going in his direction. Then, he hooks us with the final big lie.

Actually, there was more than one verse that the devil was trying to use against Christ. In jumping from the pinnacle of the temple, the Lord would appear suddenly in the temple courtyard. It would take everyone by surprise. This would seem to fulfill another prophecy from Malachi.

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

Malachi 3:1

The devil was hoping that all the weight of these Scriptures would convince Christ to follow his lead. He wanted Jesus to prove that God was protecting Him, by throwing Himself off the roof of the temple.

Then, by miraculously appearing in the temple, unharmed, the spiritual leaders would be convinced that the Christ had come. But, by doing this, Jesus would be operating in the power of His flesh to accomplish God’s will.

There are many times that the devil does the same thing with us, trying to get us to test the Lord. Of course, the results are usually different when we’re involved.

How do you respond when you’re tempted to test God? Do you trust Him or not? There’s no need to put God to the test. He’s already proven Himself in Christ. We need to follow the example of Jesus, who once again did not take the bait that the devil put before Him.

Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

Luke 4:12

This usually turns out very differently when the devil runs this scenario before us. We love to do foolish things, then “trust” God to get us out of the mess. We spend our money on movie tickets, new technology, video games, and new cars. Then, when we can’t pay the bills, we “trust God” for the money.

How foolish! Don’t you realize that the money you spent on your toys was the money God provided for your bills? But we just sit back in bitterness and say, “I tested God and He failed me.” As the people of God, we need to get our lifestyles back in line with the Word of God.

Along those same lines, we look at where the church is today. We wonder why there’s so little power evident in God’s people.

Actually, it’s a product of the sum total of each individual believer. As I get my life in line with God’s Word, the church is one step closer to where it should be. That should be the attitude of every Christian.

Let’s stop putting God to the test. Let’s operate in the faith that trusts the Lord’s Word, no matter what it looks like around us.

Questions: How do our faith and our actions work together? How do they oppose each other sometimes?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Testing and Remembering

CrossI’m posting about Abraham and what he learned about being tested by God. God tests us by allowing us to go through challenges that bring out what’s in our heart.

King Hezekiah of Israel learned this.

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
2 Chronicles 32:31

The word left in that verse means to loosen. Basically this means the God let him make his own choices without any further guidance. The Lord had already given Hezekiah all that he needed to make a right choice.

From our natural perspective it looks like God has stopped speaking – God left. This begins our wilderness experience. When God is quiet; that’s when stuff starts to come up from our heart.

Throughout the years people have come up with many names for this type of experience. Many call this the “dark night of the soul.” Others call it “the death of a vision.” It happens in the lives of all who desire to move forward with God.

We see it happening with Joseph, Moses, and Abraham. If we’re going to go through this testing victoriously then we must get through it as Abraham did.

What came from his heart?

Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:19

The verse says that Abraham reasoned or literally took inventory, estimated that God was powerful enough to raise Isaac from the dead.

Contrast this to how the nation of Israel went through their wilderness experience.

Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power– the day he redeemed them from the oppressor…
Psalm 78:41-42

It’s during these times that we’re tested concerning our memories. Will we remember God’s power? Do we truly believe that God is able to perform what He promises in our lives?

But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes. Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.
Psalm 78:56-57

What an illustration! A faulty bow breaks under pressure. The goal of a bow and arrow is to destroy the enemy. We are that bow in the hands of a mighty God.

He pulls back on the string. The pressure increases. Sometimes in my weakness, I feel like I can’t take it. But if I continue to persevere; suddenly there’s a TWANG!!! – and I’m rejoicing again as the arrow of God’s promise flies true.

During the test, when it seems hopeless, can we give the promise back to God? Let Him resurrect it. Let Him reveal His glory in due time. I realize that it’s not easy to lay the promise of God back on the altar.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

In this phrase, think about also means to estimate, take inventory. It’s thinking on these things that will bring us through the desert without testing God. Offer your future to God for His glory.

Question: What was the last big test that you went through? What did you learn by it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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The Test and the Offering

ClimberHave you ever noticed that sometimes faith seems to take you in the wrong direction? We have to accept things that look, in the natural, like we’re headed away from what God has promised us. This was illustrated in the life of Abraham.

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:17-19

As we walk with God, we must first of all trust Him. As we do this, we see Him at work in our lives. We begin to receive blessings from His hand. Our lives start to change for the better.

It starts out small at first, but the more you put your faith in the Lord, the more grace you experience in your walk. So in this post, I’m talking about those who have received from God.

Now that you have begun to see God’s power at work in your life, you would think that things start to become easier. You would be wrong.

Abraham trusted God for many years in order to receive his son, Isaac. It required him to go through a lot of hardship and even some mistakes along the way. But God was faithful, and Abraham received the child of promise.

Then something totally unexpected happened. Just like us, Abraham’s faith needed to be tested. We’ve probably all heard the story of Abraham offering up his son Isaac on the altar. But do we understand how deep this test really was?

The Bible puts it very simply. By faith Abraham…when tested…offered. This is a powerful truth that every believer needs to understand. It wasn’t just for Abraham. When we’re tested, there’s something we need to offer.

When you begin to receive God’s promises, there’s a spiritual line that you cross. Like it or not, you enter a new level of testing. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t understand what testing is all about.

In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as test is that same word translated as tempt in other sections. The translators use either test or tempt based upon the context in which it’s used.

For instance, Satan tempts in order to entice us to do evil. God, on the other hand, tests us in order to bring us to a new level of walk with Him.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…
James 1:13

Scripture is clear; God never uses evil in His testing process. God tests us by a call to a new level of obedience. Usually it’s something that we’ve never done before. It often brings us outside of our comfort zone.

In order to pass this test, we must offer something He gave us. So God doesn’t start testing you in this way, until you are receiving from Him. I want to take a couple of posts to talk about this testing process. It’s important for every believer to understand this in order to progress to their God given destiny.

Question: What’s the greatest test that you have faced in your Christian walk so far?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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