Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Does God Test Us?

I administer unit tests to my military students almost every month to evaluate their proficiency in all skills of Korean language i.e. reading, listening and speaking. Testing and evaluation go together to prove what level of language skills students achieved. It’s for the benefit of learners in all test modes.

Does God test His children, you and me?

Yes He does.  

It’s to evaluate and improve our quality of faith in Him. The criteria are ‘PASS’ or ‘NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.’ There is no ‘FAIL’, so we are deprived of His salvation received in Christ.

In Genesis 22:1 we read in Hebrew text;

וַיְהִי, אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, וְהָאֱלֹהִים, נִסָּה  אֶת-אַבְרָהָם; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי.

1 Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

The Hebrew word translated “tempted” is the word נִסָּה (ni saw) and it means “to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test.” Because it has so many possible synonyms, we must look to the context and compare it to other passages. As we read the account of the event, we note that God did not intend Abram to complete the sacrifice of Isaac. However, Abram did not know that and was willing to carry out God’s orders, knowing that if God did require this, He was able to raise Isaac up from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).

This passage in Hebrews is better translated “Abram was ‘tried,’” instead of saying he was “tempted.” So, the conclusion is that in Genesis 22:1  the Hebrew word translated “tempt” has to do with testing or evaluating something.

Another important word in this discussion is found in James 1:2-3;

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

The Greek word translated ‘trials (πειρασμοῖς, peirasmois)’ denotes trouble, or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy and happiness in someone’s life. The verb form of this word means “to put someone or something to the test,” with the purpose of discovering that person’s nature or that thing’s quality.

God brings such tests to prove—and increase—the strength and quality of one’s faith and to demonstrate its validity (vv. 2-12). So, according to James, when we face temptations, God’s purpose is to prove our faith and produce character. That is a high, good and  noble motive.

Are there temptations which are designed to make us fail?

Yes, but they do not come from God—they come from Satan (Matthew 4:1), his evil angels (Ephesians 6:12), or from ourselves (Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:13).

The motive why God allows us to experience them is for our benefit. God told Abram to offer Isaac - the temptation was not intended to get Abram to sin, but to test and prove his faith.
Heavenly Father, test our hearts!  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil one, Satan!
We pray in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Retrieved and modified from 07/03/12

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