DOES GOD TEST US? NO!
1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
The Bible says to “test all things”. The first thing we need to test is the teaching on “Does God Test Us?”
What is your view of God? Do you believe that God knows the past, present and future simultaneously? “Of course I do!” Do you believe that anything takes God by surprise? “Absolutely not!” Do you believe God is good all the time? “Yes, He is a good God!”
What would be your opinion of a parent/caretaker who told a child not to touch a hot stove and then would stand there and allow the child to touch the stove? Or what kind of a parent/caretaker would tell a child not to run out into the street without looking first and then see the child start to run towards the street and not say anything? You probably would have a very low opinion of that parent/caretaker, wouldn’t you? Any sane person would have a very low opinion of that parent/caretaker and should contact the authorities.
So why is it when it comes to God we think He does the same thing? We have this idea that whenever any pain, suffering or hardship comes up in life that God is trying to teach us something. Some even go as far as to say, “This is God’s will. This is God testing me to see what I’m going to do.” Unfortunately, the tragic reality is that this is one of the predominate ideas in Christianity. And as long as we hold this idea as a truism it is IMPOSSIBLE to ever live life to its fullest. When hard times come, and they do come, as long as we believe this is God doing this we will accept it as His will and we will lose. Who would want to knowingly fight against God’s will? I mean after all, He’s all powerful, all knowing (Wait a minute, is that right? He’s testing me to see what I will do, right?) and all loving. If “all loving” means it’s your will that your child goes through pain, suffering and hardship, then that is a twisted idea of “all loving”. AND WE WONDER WHY MORE PEOPLE ARE DRIVING PAST THE CHURCH THAN ARE DRIVING TO THE CHURCH.
What is the difference in “testing” and “temptation”? Testing is the hardship (circumstance or situation). How you respond to it is where the “temptation” comes in.
The scripture that comes to mind regarding this belief is James 1:12-17.
Verse 12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation (Who is tempting? Keep reading.); for when he has been approved (resisted the temptation to give in), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
So, it must be the Lord (Jesus) that tempted me because Jesus promised a crown of life. Wait a minute. It says to those who love Him (Jesus) will receive the crown of life. Not endured the temptation. Hmmm
Verse 13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God” (WHAT!? Of course it’s God); for God cannot be tempted by evil, NOR DOES HE HIMSELF TEMPT ANYONE.”
WHAT!? Did that just say God doesn’t tempt anyone? How can that be? We all know it is God that tempts us or tests us. IF WE DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO SEARCH THE BIBLE OURSELVES, INSTEAD OF TAKING SOMEONE ELSE’S WORD FOR IT, WE WILL BELIEVE IT IS GOD TEMPTING AND TESTING US. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (people get the ideas/words from God), and is profitable (does immense good) for doctrine (basic understanding), for reproof (shows us where we are wrong), for correction (shows us how to get it right), for instruction (detailed plans) in righteousness (to see things the way God sees them, which is the right way), that the man of God (the person who follows God) may be complete (lacking nothing), thoroughly equipped (having everything you need) for every good work (prepared to take the right action to overcome everything bad in this life).
Verse 14, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by HIS OWN DESIRES and enticed.”
UH-OH! Now we have a problem. It might be me!
Verse 15, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (Are You Kidding Me?). Do not be deceived (of course I’m not deceived.), my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
Just a thought, but I don’t think trials and temptations are a good gift. So it must not be God, He only gives good gifts and perfect gifts.
OK, so you accept that it is not God tempting you. That scripture is very clear. So what about tests? Again, if God knows the past, present and future, why would He test us? But let’s look at the scripture that is used and see who is doing the testing.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, IF NEED BE, you have been grieved by various trials (or tests), that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
The first thing to notice is it doesn’t say God is testing us. It also says “for a little while, IF need be”. What does that mean? Since we know we are drawn away by our own flesh or desires, if we are being grieved by a trial (or test), it is probably something we need to work on (overcome). Since Satan is the god of this world (See post, Is God in Control?), he knows what buttons to push to get us to give up. Notice he walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We need to strengthen our faith in whatever area we are being tempted or tested in by Satan, so that the genuineness of our faith is found to the praise, honor and glory of Jesus Christ. In other words, we are to overcome.
There is another place in scripture where we see the devil is walking around seeking whom he may devour. Yes, that would be Job. I’m going to pull verses out to get to the point of Job and who caused him to suffer.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
Verse 3 … so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.
Verse 5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them (his children), and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
Apparently Job was a telepath. He had the ability to know what other people were thinking on the inside of themselves without ever hearing them say it out loud, right? Of course he didn’t. Job was constantly afraid that his children had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. We know that because offering up a sacrifice was not an easy thing to do. It required time, effort and energy. He was doing it ALL THE TIME. In other words, Job had an unreasonable fear, aka; paranoia, without any physical proof to base his fear on.
Verse 6-7 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
Doesn’t that sound familiar? That is what Peter said in 1Peter 5:8-9.
Verse 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Do you think the Lord would ask a question that He didn’t know the answer to?
Verse 9-10 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
It’s pretty sad when Satan has more common sense than most people do. He recognized the goodness of God around Job.
Verse 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
In other words, if you (Lord) are not blessing Job he will not serve you. He will even curse you to your face.
FYI: Satan was wanting the Lord to do something that it’s impossible for Him to do. Every time someone came to the Lord to be touched by Him, they were blessed not cursed. So if He touched all the Job had, it would be blessed, not cursed. The life of Jesus makes this abundantly clear.
Verse 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that HE HAS IS IN YOUR POWER; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Notice that the Lord said, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” Why did He say that? Because Job was living in constant fear. Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Job wasn’t trusting the Lord, he feared the Lord. As a matter of fact, Job’s own words let us know his thinking. After all the calamity he said it was the Lord that did it, Job 1:21, And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Yep, there it is, JOB SAID “the Lord has taken away”. Guess what? JOB WAS WRONG. Clearly it was Satan.
Let’s make it very clear. The Lord said in Verse 12, “Behold, all that HE HAS IS IN YOUR POWER;” and then Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;”. JOB WAS WRONG. It was because of Satan that his livestock was stolen, his servants were killed, sheep and servants were struck by lightening, Chaldeans stole the camels and killed the servants, and then his sons and daughters were killed by a windstorm (tornado). NOT GOD.
The statement that Job said is not true. It is true that Job said it, but what Job said was not the truth. (Just as a side note, whenever you hear at a funeral, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.” just know Job was confused and what he said was not the truth. He didn’t know that it wasn’t the Lord. He lived in the Old Testament before Jesus provided the New Testament or covenant. JOB WAS NOT BORN AGAIN. The new birth makes all the difference.)
As a matter of fact, in James 5:11 it says, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that THE LORD IS VERY COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL.” What was the intended end by the Lord, Job 42:12-16 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning;…”
In summary, it is not logical to think that God knows the past, present and future and say at the same time, He is testing me to see what I will do. That is double-minded.
But hey, if you want to believe that God allows all the tragic things to happen on planet earth, you can believe that. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS A LIAR, because that is what you are saying. It’s very clear in John 10:10, as well as many other verses too numerous to mention, He said, “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Also in the verse He said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”
So you tell me, who tempts and tests us?
With Love, Cincinnati Christian
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