Me Testing God or God Testing Me

Some of the comments on my last blog got me to thinking about this whole concept of “testing.” A very brief look at the scripture on testing lead me to some conclusions about my own situation, which I have shared now with the world. Some of your comments have been thought provoking on the side of agreement and others have been thought provoking on the side of disagreement. I’m just glad that you all care and are helping me through it by making me think.

Here’s how I approached this study. I looked up all of the times in scripture (using the New Century Version) that the words “God” or “Lord” were mentioned in the same verse with any form of the word “test” (tested, testing, tests).  Here are some of my findings.  Please understand this was a quick overview and not too deep.

GOD TESTING MAN

I have discovered in this brief study that most of the time any “testing” that is done is done by God. Here are a couple of examples. (Genesis 22:1 NCV) “After these things God tested Abraham’s faith. God said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he answered, ‘Here I am.'” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NCV) “But we speak the Good News because God tested us and trusted us to do it. When we speak, we are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts.”

It seems that the kind of “testing” God does to us is to see whether or not our hearts are going to remain truly with him. Many times the words “obey the commands” are mentioned along with these tests. Example: (Deuteronomy 8:2 NCV) “Remember how the LORD your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you, because he wanted to know what was in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands.”

MEN TESTING GOD

Of the times that I found that concerned men testing God, most of the time it was found to not be wise to test Him.  The kind of “testing” of God talked about in the negative sense was not the sincere heart of a man trying to find God’s will for his life, but more of a “tempting” God.  In fact, the KJV used the word “tempt” in all of those contexts.  An example of this is found in (Psalms 106:14-15 NCV)  “They became greedy for food in the desert, and they tested God there. {15} So he gave them what they wanted, but he also sent a terrible disease among them.” This of course is talking about when Israel got angry with God for not sending meat. God’s point was here that they were not trusting Him.  So He punished them for this.

On the other hand people like Gideon tested God with God’s blessing.  (Judges 6:39-40 NCV)  “Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be angry with me if I ask just one more thing. Please let me make one more test. Let only the wool be dry while the ground around it gets wet with dew.” {40} That night God did that very thing. Just the wool was dry, but the ground around it was wet with dew.”

As with most “word studies” they have their faults.  One fault of this kind of study is the fact that they leave out other ways to use the concept of a word even when the word itself is not used.  Here’s what I mean.  Sometimes trusting God means testing Him.  There is a form of test in Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice.  Listen to these New Testament verses (Hebrews 11:17-19 NCV)  “It was by faith that Abraham, when God tested him, offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. God made the promises to Abraham, but Abraham was ready to offer his own son as a sacrifice. {18} God had said, “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.” {19} Abraham believed that God could raise the dead, and really, it was as if Abraham got Isaac back from death.” Whereas Abraham offered Isaac in obedience to God, how could he have done that without believing that God would have raised him?   He obeyed the words of God trusting God to raise Isaac from the dead.  God wants us to take care of our children, not kill them, but He asked Abraham to do it so he did.

The same is true with Gideon’s army.  No person in his right mind would approach any army of thousands with only 300 men.  But Gideon believed God after more confirmation and told his army what to do.  The result was (Judges 7:22 NCV)  “When Gideon’s three hundred men blew their trumpets, the LORD made all the Midianites fight each other with their swords!” What a sight that must have been!  Gideon believes this thing from God that was so against conventional wisdom and God delivered.

You see, I believe from all of this that many times we do “tempt” God.  We do not believe and obey.  We don’t trust His everyday care.  We whine and moan about what we don’t have instead of enjoying the blessings we do have.  This is sin and we must turn from that.

On the other hand, there are times when God utters a word to us–one that seems so out of bounds with even things that God as said for us to do in His word– that we must believe and obey.  We must never turn a deaf ear to His charge.

I really believe that God told me to turn in a notice at Gold’s.  I have done that in obedience to his calling and word.  Now it is up to Him to deliver on His promise to take care of me and my family.  I don’t believe for a minute that He will fail me.

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5 responses to “Me Testing God or God Testing Me

  • Connie

    The story that comes to my mind is that of Jesus being tempted by the devil out in the wilderness after his baptism. One of the things the devil asked Jesus to do was to throw himself off the pinnacle of the temple (I believe it was), and quoted a scripture indicating God would send his angels to rescue him. Jesus didn’t fall for that. He said something like, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Even Jesus wouldn’t do something rash just to prove God would rescue Him. Sure, God could have, but Jesus didn’t expect that. God most definitely blesses us, but also expects us to use our intellect to guide us to behave wisely. We are not promised that God will magically rescue us when we behave foolishly.
    It concerns me when someone set up a situation and then stands back and claim it is now God’s responsibility to fix it. I believe it is a misrepresentation of how God has promised to act on our behalf. I don’t think it is a deliberate misrepresentation, but a misunderstanding. I don’t doubt your sincerity, but I believe your thinking is faulty on this issue. And, since you are a minister and have a lot of influence on other people, it is important that your thinking is clear when you present your ideas about how God acts.
    One of the best studies I have done on how to determine God’s leading was in a class on the book by Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God). Mr. Blackaby said that God will not give us a word that is contrary to what He has revealed in scripture. He also said that we should go to older, wiser Christian friends when we are trying to determine God’s leading. Important to remember that God will not contradict Himself. Also cautioned us not to trust our feelings, as they can steer us wrong – that God has promised wisdom, not a particular set of feelings. A final point was that God’s will is primarily a relationship with Him, rather than a certain specific place or job. (These are all ideas I am giving from what I remember in a class I took many years ago, so may not be presented exactly in the way he did. But they have been very helpful to me throughout the years.)
    It is clear that you have a sincere heart. God will no doubt lead you through this into a deeper relationship with Him, which is really the point of this life, after all. By now, you may consider me a thorn in your side, and I can accept that, though it’s not what I would prefer. May God continue to bless you and Ellen and your children with exactly what you need.

  • Keith Davis

    Yes He will. I fully trust that. If I didn’t I would not have done what He has clearly asked me to do.

  • Meowmix

    Keith, I have nothing but respect for you and prayer that God IS leading you in ways that we don’t understand. I so pray that you are being led back into ministry and that the way is up for you and your family. I would not be hones, though, if I didn’t question, from the sidelines, the quitting of a job in this economy and day/time without another to go to. If God spoke this direction to you, then He will sustain you. I know you believe He did….not a question. And He is able!

    Recently, a friend suggested something to me that I’d never thought of. I’m really not sure how it ties in with your post here, but I thought about it as I read. I had mentioned how I often have so much trouble believing I’ve been forgiven of something I’ve asked forgiveness for, as well as lots of trouble forgiving myself. This friend says this is basically a lack of faith when I don’t take God at His word that I have been forgiven. It put a whole new spin on this browbeating I do on myself!

    Know that I’m in your corner.

  • gregengland

    I think you know how much you and your family are loved by me and my family! I am very interested in how this turns out and am praying for you. I do hope you are led back into a preaching ministry … we all need that level of frustration from time to time!!

    Someone asked me recently if our preacher ever asks me to fill in for him. I told him I had no desire to fill in. I guess as much as I loved it all those years, it’s a part of my past and I’m content to leave it there. But you…this is still a passion of yours and I hope to see you back in the “saddle,” so to speak, soon.

    Love you, brother!

  • Ellen

    Keith,
    I trust you and respect you so much for the decision you have made. The journey we are on is really hard for people to understand but I have no doubt that God will lead us where we need to be. I also have no doubt that God is talking to us because there are to many things that have happened over the last several week that can’t be explained any other way. You have always provided for me and the kids and I know that you will continue to do so. Keep trusting and know that we all love you so very much.

    Ellen

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