Last we looked at the differences between Satan’s tempting and God’s testing. We saw that Satan is the tempter, the adversary, the enemy. It is he who wants to destroy us - not make us better. God, on the other hand, loves us and wants to build us up and make us better. God tests us with His Word. God’s Word has an answer to every one of Satan’s temptations. Jesus said, “It is written” to combat the devil’s temptations, and we are to do the same. We are not to accuse God when tempted, for James said “He does not tempt any man with evil.” We also saw that, as gold in the refiner’s fire, when we are tempted, and if we hold fast to God’s Word, we will be made pure and more conformed into Christ’s image through the trials of life. We are not promised to be kept from but, rather, delivered out of temptation.
Does God’s Word have a right to test us? It certainly does, for it has been tested and found pure and accurate (2Sam 22:31, Ps 12:6). History, science, archeology, and, most importantly, fulfilled prophecy have consistently proved the accuracy and truth of Scripture. “It is written” has all eternity backing it, and we would do well - and be wise - to heed it.
This week we will look at things the Bible says we are to test and things we are not to test. We will start out with what or, rather, Whom we are not to test - and that is God Almighty. Jesus clearly stated, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Mt 4:7), quoting from Deu. 6:16. The Bible consistently refers back to the children of Israel in the wilderness as an object lesson in the price of disobedience. They tempted and provoked the Most High God, and kept not His testimonies (Ps 78:56). They turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel (Ps 78:41). In 1Cor 10 in the New Testament, we have a series of warnings based on their experience.
Read 1Cor 10:1-14; specifically, in verses 6-10, we will look at five ways God’s people provoked Him, and what it costs them. Mind you, these things were written as examples for the Church today. 1. (vs. 6) - They lusted after evil things (Num 11:4). They were dissatisfied with God’s provision. Although they had fresh manna from heaven every morning, they lusted after more. They didn’t have to shop, hunt, plow, sow, harvest, store, or do anything else. Just get up and pick up God’s “Wonder Bread.”
2. (vs. 7) - They worshipped idols. The temple of God has no agreement with idols. We are commanded to flee from idols, and keep ourselves from them. They are a work of the flesh (Gal 5:19-20), and the mark of them who will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9-10). Lest you think you are exempt because you don’t bow down or pray before statues, Paul tells us that idolatry is covetousness (Col 3:5).
3. (vs. 8) - They fornicated. Fornication is any sexual activity outside the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. We are to flee fornication (1Cor 6:18) and abstain from it (1Thess 4:3). Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of God’s view of fornication and homosexuality (Jude 7).
4. (vs. 9) - They tempted Christ through hardness of heart and unbelief (Heb 3:8-12). 5. (vs. 10) - they murmured and complained (Num 11:1, Jude 16, Philp 2:14). We don’t set murmuring up there with “bigger” sins, but obviously God does.
All of these sins are considered tempting God. All of these sins are a result of dissatisfaction with God. All of these sins ended in the death of the children of Israel. We are told by Paul to learn from these examples, and not follow in their footsteps.
So what are we to test? All things - what is acceptable to God, what is excellent to God (1Thess 5:21, Eph 5:10, Phil 1:10). How can we do this? By studying God’s Word. We can only test what is good, acceptable, and perfect, if we are not being conformed to the world, but being transformed by renewing our mind in God’s Word (Rom 12:2). God’s Word is the perfect standard by which we test, or judge, all things. We are told to do this. We are told to test ourselves to see if we truly be in the faith (2Cor 13:5). We are told to test ourselves before we partake of communion (1Cor 11:28). We are told to test our own work by God’s standard (Gal 6:4). We are to test ministers, to see if they are true (1Tim 3:10, Rev 2:2). We can only do all these things by God’s Word. Read God’s Word. Know God’s Word. Obey God’s Word. Practice God’s Word. This is the only way to stand against the great deception that is operating in our day. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!