The Temptation to Test God
Deuteronomy 6:16–25; Matthew 4:5–7
How long is four feet, really? Yes, it is 48 inches no matter how you cut it, but how you are using those few feet determines its value. If you caught a catfish four feet in length, it would be an impressive accomplishment. A vehicle measuring only four feet in length would be quite a sight to behold. The measurement is relative to its circumstance.
One summer many years ago, I worked as a student counselor for a Baptist camp. As part of the orientation process, we had to take part in a trust fall. This exercise involves standing on a platform (in this case, four feet from the ground) with your back to your peers, your eyes closed and your arms crossed in front of you, and you casually fall backwards, trusting the others to catch you.
We can be tempted to test God for our own purposes. (Matt. 4:5–7)
We should remember that situations we face daily can be gateways to either a test or a temptation. This is challenging, but it underscores the magnitude of our responses and choices. Everything we say or do has the potential to be a blessing or burden to ourselves and others. Adding to our difficulty is the fact that what may be seen as good can be deceiving.
While Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus, he manipulated its context and meaning. Our common enemy has not changed his tactics since the Garden of Eden. He takes God’s Word and twists it. This serves as a reminder to be discerning about which Bible teachers you listen to. False teachers thrive on taking a bit of Scripture and manipulating it to accomplish their own intentions.
We have no reason to test God when we trust and obey His Word. (Deut. 6:16–19)
When I meditate on these verses, I think of the domino effect — one action causing another to take place. Scripture clearly shows God is trustworthy and His blessings follow our obedience. God never gives suggestions; He only gives commands. His Word is holy, lifesaving and timeless. When we disobey or disregard God’s Word, we are choosing to go astray and consequences will occur. The question for each of us to ponder is, “Whose words and voice are we heeding — God’s or our own?”
We experience God’s goodness and faithfulness as we obey His Word. (20–25)
One of the great blessings I have as a pastor is hearing and helping people tell their stories. Everyone has a story and all are important! Your story is no better or worse than mine. It is valuable because it belongs to you, and no one can share it like you can. Grandparents and parents, do your children and grandchildren know how you came to faith in Christ? Tell them. Your word of encouragement or transparency can be an important piece in their decision to follow Jesus.
These verses repeat the theme of God’s work in the Israelites’ lives. Time after time, He intervened with magnificent and marvelous blessings for their benefit. God will never neglect us as we submit to Him and His commandments. He can be trusted, and you don’t have to fall.
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi