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Testing, Testing...

August 20, 2023— There were three things in this life that I did not want. In one day, I got all three. While I was depressed in the aftermath of these events, I know now that God was testing me. At the end of this test, I heard Jesus say, “Take care of my church.” My famous response was, “Wait. What?”

This past month was interesting. My husband became co-pastor at our church, which has a new name, and it landed in our laps. God combines purposes for a common goal and tests us to determine where our spirit lies.

Why He Tests Us

God watches us all the time and from everywhere.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3

Testing builds our character during our Christian journey. It shows what is in our hearts and demonstrates our faith in God. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they came to the wilderness. Due to sin and backsliding, the Israelites remained in the wilderness for 40 years. Some that left Egypt never saw the promised land. During this time, God tests the Israelites. Deuteronomy 8:2 explains why he tested them:

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”

James 1:3 says we should count trials as joy because it produces patience. In verse 4, James says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The way I see it, I count it as joy to be tested by God because it means my faith is at least strong enough to be tested.

How God Tests Us

God tests us in a few different ways. In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s faith by telling him to forsake his only son, Isaac. Abraham is close to doing so, but an angel of the Lord tells Abraham not to do this, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:12). This was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ as our savior.

Who Was Jesus

Jesus was God’s only Son and is also God. God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are one. Jesus was sent to pay for your sin. A sin is something that breaks God’s moral code (the ten commandments) (1 John 3:4) or rebels against God (Deuteronomy 9:7 and Joshua 1:18).

In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for sin. In the New Testament, God provides the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus Christ. Jesus was blameless and guiltless. He did not break the laws of God, and He did not rebel against Him. Instead, He fulfilled the law by taking your sin on the cross.

Testing of Job

Job was a wealthy man with seven sons and three daughters. He had livestock consisting of sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, and camels. He had a huge household and was “the greatest of all the people of the East.” (Job 1:3). According to verses 1 and 8, Job was upright with God, but Satan told God it was because of God’s protective hedge around Job. God told Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” (Job 1:12).

Satan attacks Job’s children and his property. The Sabean raided and stole the oxen and donkeys. The Sabeans killed the servants. A fire consumed the sheep, and servants tended the sheep. The Chaldeans raided the camels and killed the servants tending to them. Finally, when a strong wind hit the home, Job’s children were killed in the eldest’s brother's house. Three messengers escaped each event and came to tell Job this. These events happened in one day. (See Job 1).

After this, Job tore his clothes and shaved his head. He worshipped God. Job 1:22 says, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

Satan returns to God on another day. And God tells Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand but spare his life.” (Job 2:6). Satan attacks Job’s health, giving him boils from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. Job’s wife curses God (verse 9), but Job rebukes her (verse 10).

A woman taking a test. A woman taking an exam. A woman writting soemthing.
Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

After hearing these events, three of Job’s friends comfort him. When they arrived, they saw him sitting in the ashes. Job’s appearance had changed significantly between shaving his head and receiving the boils, and his friends did not recognize him (verse 12). Job’s friends sat with him for a week, and no one uttered a word, for Job’s grief was great.

On the seventh or eighth day, Job curses the day he was born. His friends continue in discourse with him, one saying Job is in sin (what else could explain all these events). Another urging Job to repent. However, Job stands firm in his faith and claims his complaints are justified. Eventually, Job brings his case to God, who responds to him in correction. God is angry with Job’s friends and tells them to get seven bulls and seven rams each and give them to Job. God also tells them to bring a burnt offering, and Job will pray for them.

The Holy Bible says:

Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.

Job 42:12-17

Beloved, next time you think you are having a bad day, think of Job’s day when he lost his family and livestock all in one day. Then, his health was attacked by Satan. I also urge you to consider how Job was rewarded for testing his faith!

Testing Vs. Temptation

From scriptures and examples in the previous sections, it is clear that God tests us for character development. While God tests us, Satan tempts us. If you hear yourself thinking or saying, “I am tempted to…” this is not from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not tempt you. Meanwhile, Satan keeps us in sin by using distractions to test us. He will not reward us. Satan was “a murderer from the beginning” and is the “father of” lies (John 8:44).

Something worth noting is that God can use Satan to test us, as we saw with Job 1. During his test, Job sometimes complains (see chapters 3, 7, 9, and 10), but he remains faithful and continues in prayer. After discussions with God and God correcting Job, God replenishes everything and then some.

The distinction here is that God never tempts us. James 1:13 says,Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

Accepting Jesus

Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your savior today? If so, say this prayer aloud:

God, I confess that Jesus came in the flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your Ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name, I pray, amen!

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