“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.’” (Exodus 16:4, NKJV)
At one congregation where we worked and worshipped, I had the privilege of teaching the high school class and I decided to give them a little test to see how familiar they were with the books of the Bible.
A passage of Scripture would be called out … and then we would wait to see who found it first. There were two boys sitting near the back of the room who seemed to be raising their hands quickly and frequently … something didn’t add up. So, being the wily teacher that I was I set the perfect trap for them.
The trap involved a fictitious passage … up went their hands! The fictitious passage was Jude 2:3. But this time they were asked to read it out loud! BUSTED!!! They failed the test! And yes, we all had a good laugh. I loved those boys!
Our lives are replete with tests … school, work, health, etc. Some can be more challenging such as dealing with others … having our will tested by one of our children or grandchildren.
In school, tests are given to discover if we have learned what has been taught. In health, it is to determine the state of our well-being. In life itself, it is to help us grow and become better people before the eyes of God and others.
When the Lord tests us … it is to see if what is supposed to be in our hearts … is really there. It is to see how strong our faith and trust in the Lord is.
Recorded in Exodus are the events surrounding the deliverance and journey of the nation of Israel from Egypt to the Land of Canaan. All along the way, God tested His people to see if they would actually trust and obey Him.
The people were complaining … and they were really good at it. How quickly they forgot their deliverance from the Egyptians and the events of the Red Sea … and the 10 plagues that preceded their leaving Egypt. God told Moses He heard their cries and would provide them with the food they needed to live.
The caveat was when the Lord told Moses that in the providing and meeting of their needs, He would be “testing them whether they will walk in My law or not.”
- This wasn’t a matter of God not knowing the people’s hearts … it was a matter of the people not knowing their own hearts!
- This wasn’t something that surprised the Lord that His chosen people could forget Him so quickly! Nothing surprises the Lord!
- God’s tests are intended to help develop spiritual strength and growth … and are intended to help us learn to trust in Him more, and less in ourselves!
- The people didn’t realize that the “Great I Am” was capable, able, and more than willing to provide what they would need in all of life!
Sadly, many of the people didn’t pass the test (Exodus 16:27)!
The question we should all be considering is whether or not we are passing the tests God places before us to strengthen our faith! While the Lord tests us in ways other than the gathering of manna, He does so to encourage our spiritual growth and maturity.
Satan, on the other hand, tempts us and James tells us that it is not a matter of “if” but when” “ (James 1:14)… and he does so to bring out the worst in us and entice us away from truth, grace, and Heaven!
We may not like to take tests, but those that come from the Lord cannot be ignored! If we make the right choice, have the right attitude, walk uprightly … then we’ll pass the test!
Choosing to complain … disregard … and disobey Him in unbelief leads to misery here and the loss of our soul for eternity! We are all on a pilgrim journey of sorts! As God’s people, we make the choice to live by faith believing His promises.
It is our privilege and honor to recognize and accept who God is and what He says in His Word … and then do His bidding!
“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God …” (Psalm 143:10, NKJV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.