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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Does God Test Us?

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
 
We read in, John 6:1-15  NIV

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the miraculous signs He had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with His disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.
5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
6 He asked this only to test Him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do.
7Philip answered Him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8Another of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12When they had all had enough to eat, He said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet Who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him King by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself.


Topic for today: Does God test us?  If He does, why?

Verse 6: “He asked this only to test Him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do.”


Greek Text

τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν πειράζων αὐτὸν· αὐτὸς γὰρ ᾔδει τί ἔμελλεν ποιεῖν.

πειράζω  peirázō (from peíra, “test, trial”)  The word means either ‘test’ or ‘tempt’. Context alone determines which sense is intended, or if both apply simultaneously.

peirazō  means “tempt” in a negative sense: Matthew 16:1, 19:3, 22:18,35; Mark 8:11, 10:2, 12:15; Luke 11:16, 20:33; John 8:6; James 1:13,14.  However it is used of positive “tests” in: Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:28; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12.


One well-known example of God specifically testing someone is when He commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as an offering unto Him.


Genesis 22:1-2

“Some time 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.””


Also, the Bible contains several references to God testing people in general to see if they will obey. For example:

Exodus 16:4

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow My instructions.”


A psalmist even asks Jehovah to test, try him and examine his heart.

Psalm 26:2

“Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.”


The Bible says God does not tempt anyone to harm, but He tests for our good.

James 1:12-14

“Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

God helps us when we are tempted so we can endure it and overcome it

1 Corinthians 10:13


“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

 

God rewards those who overcame the temptation and passed the test.

Genesis 22:12

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” He said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.””

Genesis 22:16-18

“I swear by Myself, declares Jehovah, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your Offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me.”

Revelation 3:21

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His Throne.”

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