Saturday, October 24, 2009

putting God to the test

In the wilderness Satan tempted Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple, since God had promised that he would send his angels to rescue his servant, so that none of them would dash their foot against a stone. I know Jesus was going through the same temptations as Israel of old, but unlike them, he was succeeding as the true Israelite, the unique son of God. At the same time we in Jesus live in many ways parallel to his days then. Notice Jesus' answer: "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (from Deuteronomy 6:16)

We are all tempted, and sometimes we think it's okay to give in in little ways. We know God is a god of grace and there is always forgiveness, and that no matter what we do, God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (though we very well, in our sin, may be leaving him). And somehow we believe that we need something that God has not given us. So that in effect we are doubting God's goodness and provision for us.

But the heads up here is that we must beware of putting God to the test. We can test and try God by our sin. When we make decisions that are questionable at best we do what Jesus refused to do: we jump off the high place and think there will be little or no consequences. God may give us what we want, but send judgment or discipline on us because he wants us to repent.

In what ways might we be putting God to the test? Is it presumptive on our part to assume that God will bless our disobedience, even in little things? Do we see that when we do this we are in effect doubting God's goodness and provision to us?


preacherman said...

Great post Ted.
I enjoyed the read and found it very encouraging to my faith today. I appreciate you brother!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your encouraging words, and for reading. I need it, and this part of this passage just stood out to me in my "devotions" this morning.