Monday, April 16, 2007

A Test Any of Us Can Pass

Not long ago, I experienced an unexpected shock when I preached about God testing the faithful. It seems there were some in the audience who did not believe that God would ever test his children. The thought that He would led to a minor dust storm. To bring a clearing breeze, and to shine some biblical light on the subject, (not only for those who were in that audience but for whoever may read this in the broader world) let me offer the following thoughts.

The biblical concept of God testing his children has nothing to do with entrapment. God does not tempt us to do evil, only to say "gotcha!" when we fail. The process of testing is actually one of love-- God searching for that which most delights Him. It is most akin to assaying or refining, or even panning for gold. When God tests us He is attempting to uncover and reveal the best that is in us, our delightful streaks. He's never trying to prove our unworthiness; instead, he's highlighting what's good about us.

Why would God do such a thing? It's not like he doesn't already know! Since he is omniscient, our testing must be directed at some other audience. Who could that be? Angels, yes, but also, us. Our hearts are so contorted, we don't even understand ourselves. Anyone not blinded by pride, knows the pain of the awareness of our own failings. When God tests us he allows us to see what he sees: that in him we are becoming something truly wonderful to behold.

That God tests his children along these lines cannot be denied as attested by the following scriptures:

Exodus 15:25; 16:4; 20:20
Deuteronomy 8:2,16; 13:3
Judges 2:22; 3:1,4
I Chronicles 29:17
Psalms 7:9; 11:5; 17:3; 26:2; 66:10
Proverbs 17:3
Isaiah 28:16 (even Christ was)
Jeremiah 11:20; 12:3; 20:12
Daniel 12:10
Zechariah 13:9
I Thessalonians 2:4
Hebrews 11:17
James 1:2-4, 12
I Peter 1:6-7; 4:12

Be blessed in your study of the Word (and don't worry, there won't be a test afterwards!).