Trusting or Testing
May 22, 2020
Jesus understood that we shouldn't tempt God, or try to manipulate Him.
In Psalm 91 God promises that His angels will protect us.
In Luke 4 the enemy quotes Psalm 91 and dares Jesus to jump from a high point, quoting the Word that angels would catch Him. He could have said, "Come on, Jesus, jump! Either You believe the Word or You don't."
Jesus answered from the Word in Deuteronomy 6:16, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."
The Hebrew word for "tempt" is "nasah" means to try, put to the test, or to prove. This Hebrew word has been used for a touchstone, which was a material used to test the purity of precious metals. To test God would be like saying, "If You are who You say You are, then prove it."
See how Jesus saw through a religious manipulation? Satan is so good at religious control. He sure can quote that Bible!
Religious manipulation takes God's Word, a promise, and pushes God into a corner, forcing Him to keep a promise. It's not faith, even though it may try to pass as faith. It is an attempt to demand, force or make God do what we want Him to do, when, where and how we want Him to do it. It's not faith; it's the opposite of reliance. It's control.
It's easy to be deceived by it, especially when the enemy plays on our desire to experience that "miraculous catch" when we make a play and jump. "It's Your move God. You have to come through for me because I quoted a Scripture and jumped."
This fake faith scenario is where God is no longer in the lordship position; He is now in the servant position, bound to His Word, bound to us because we are keeping Him to His Word.
Jesus understood that taking a promise and forcing God's hand was not right. It was not honoring God's lordship or His Word. God doesn't HAVE to perform because we quote His Word. God is moved by our real faith, our humility, seeking HIM, not pushing Him.
God resists the proud, but gives grace (His ability) to the humble. God is the only one who can judge the heart. He knows whether someone is following Him or whether they are expecting Him to follow them. There is a difference.
Real faith is not weak, but it finds its strength in God, not in itself - not in its ability to quote the Bible or work up a praise or give a shout. It can be deceiving because it appears to be strong.
Not only does real faith try to test God, it might also try to provoke or test others. It tries to manipulate others through condemnation, shame, guilt and fear. It will point the finger and say, "If you have faith, then you will do what I'm doing." The accusation in saying, "Either you believe the Word or you don't" is an attempt to control other people; often in an attempt to build up a personality or a specific ministry/church. It can be very attention-getting "look at me/us."
So, be watchful. Have discernment. Be reliant. When we're reliant, God can be rightfully represented. People will see His love. God is love. People will see His care for them. People will see honor, His regard for humanity. People see His character, both His holiness and His mercy. His power has a sweetness to it. It's like experiencing a rainbow after the rain, if you know what I mean.
When God shows us what to do, we do it, whether it makes sense or not. We are responsible for our own obedience. If God isn't showing someone else to do the same thing He has asked us to do, then that's okay. We keep our eyes on Him.
One thing I love about God is how He moves in ways that surprise us. One minutes He's making clay out of His saliva and putting on a blind man's eyes and then another time He's shouting to Lazarus, "Come out of there!" He doesn't want us to try to work a formula. He wants us to seek His face.
I hope this encourages one another to draw near to God, to trust Him and follow His lead.