WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 9, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T TEMPT GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (Matthew 4:7 New King James Version).
Nobody is above temptation. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was tempted, but the Bible says He did not sin. Human beings are still faced with the same temptations that Jesus faced today. We must learn from Jesus how He overcame Satan’s temptations so that we also can walk in victory.
In the last temptation that Jesus faced in Luke 4:1-13, Satan took Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and asked Him to throw Himself down to prove that He was the Son of God. He supported his temptation with the scripture! He quoted Psalm 91:11-12, but twisted it, to assure Jesus that the angels would protect Him and He would suffer no harm (Luke 4:10-11).
Matthew 4:7 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (New King James Version). This scripture is also written in Luke 4:12. While the New King James Version and some translations use the word “tempt”, others use the word “test” instead of “tempt.”
Jesus quoted this scripture from Deuteronomy 6:16: “You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah” (New King James Version). The Contemporary English Version explains the verse better: “So don’t try to make him prove that he can help you, as you did at Massah.” Other translations such as the New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, and Amplified Bible say you shall not put the LORD your God to the test as you tested him at Massah.
What did the Israelites do at Massah, which the LORD, through Moses, was warning them not to repeat? The record is in Exodus 17:1-7. While in the desert, on their journey from Egypt, they lacked water to drink and give their animals. Therefore, the people began to complain to Moses until Moses cried to the LORD and He told him to strike the rock with the rod in his hand. Water poured out for them and their animals to drink.
Exodus 17:7 says, “The people had complained and tested the Lord by asking, ‘Is the Lord really with us?” So Moses named that place Massah, which means ‘testing’ and Meribah, which means ‘complaining’” (Contemporary English Version). They doubted the presence of the LORD with them. They doubted His care for them.
The LORD knew about the challenge of water the Israelites were facing. He had brought them out of Egypt by a mighty hand. They didn’t need to doubt His love and care for them. They didn’t have to tell Moses that he brought them and their animals out of Egypt for them to die (Exodus 17:3). All they needed to do was to trust the LORD and obey Him, not to try to make Him prove that He could help them.
In Numbers 20, the new generation of Israelites who were wandering in the wilderness made the same mistake that their fathers made earlier. At Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, they rebelled against Moses and Aaron because there was no water for them to drink. Just as their fathers had done, they complained, “Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink” (Numbers 20:4-5 New King James Version).
They didn’t need to complain because God knew their lack and would take care of them as He had taken care of their fathers. God, again, miraculously provided them water from the rock. However, Moses and Aaron sinned against God in the process of carrying out His instruction.
Provoked by the Israelites, Moses called them rebels and asked if they must bring water for them out of the rock thereby taking credit for the miracle. Also, he struck the rock twice with his rod instead of speaking to it as God had instructed him. God said to Moses and Aaron that they had not believed Him, to hallow Him in the eyes of the Israelites. Therefore, He forbade them to enter the Promised Land.
Satan didn’t need to ask Jesus to tempt God in order to prove that He was the Son of God; God had already confirmed that. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17b New King James Version). Jesus had no reason to ask God to prove to Him or Satan that He would protect HIm.
Jesus knew He was the Son of God. Jesus didn’t allow Satan to induce Him to tempt or test God as the Israelites did, which is also referred to in Psalms 78:18, 41, 56; 95:9; 106:14. Jesus trusted God; He didn’t tempt Him. He refused to be lured into a pointless, needless, and useless display of God’s power, which He possessed.
Jumping off the highest point of the Temple to prove He was the Son of God would be foolish and not a demonstration of faith in God. It would be presumptuous. He didn’t expose Himself to needless danger by acting presumptuously, not in faith, that God would protect Him. That would be tempting God. It would amount to doubting who He was. Jesus was the Son of God, and Satan could not make Jesus force God to offer more proof than what God had said.
A child of God shouldn’t expect a miracle when he acts presumptuously rather than in faith. He can’t act deliberately in folly and expect God’s power to protect him. Don’t fall into Satan’s temptation to put yourself deliberately in a negative situation so as to force God to prove His Word that He would protect you or that He loves you and cares for you. He has already given that assurance in His Word, and you should believe Him. He has said He would not leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
To tempt Him amounts to a lack of faith in Him. You tempt God when you doubt Him and ask Him to do something for you in order to prove Himself to you. It’s asking God for a sign instead of believing His Word (Luke 11:29). That’s not faith, as stated in Hebrews 11:1. Tempting God is questioning Him or His Word. It is complaining or grumbling instead of having faith in Him. It is doubting His care for you.
Don’t tempt God. Believe His Word. Don’t let Satan make you doubt Him. Don’t let Satan tempt you to put yourself in a dangerous situation just to force God to prove that He can help you, protect you, provide for you, etc. though He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Don’t tempt or test God. The only testing of God that the Bible approves of is in tithes. As regards this, He told the Israelites to test or prove Him (Malachi 3:10). The Hebrew word, bachan, is used for test or prove in that scripture. It means to examine, scrutinize, test, prove or try. This type of testing God is not our focus here.
A different Hebrew word, nacah, is used for test or tempt in Deuteronomy 6:16, which is our focus. It means to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, or put to the proof or test. Don’t test the LORD your God. This means, “Ye shall not provoke him by entertaining doubts of his mercy, goodness, providence, and truth” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary).
Similarly, Albert Barne’s Notes on the Whole Bible says, “The meaning is, thou shalt not try him; or, thou shalt not, by throwing thyself into voluntary and uncommanded dangers, appeal to God for protection, or trifle with the promises made to those who are thrown into danger by his providence. It is true, indeed, that God aids those of his people who are placed by him in trial or danger; but it is not true that the promise was meant to extend to those who wantonly provoke him and trifle with the promised help. Thus, Satan, artfully using and perverting Scripture, was met and repelled by Scripture rightly applied.”
Trust God; don’t tempt Him; don’t test Him. Have faith in God. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I will trust and obey; I will not tempt or test You. I believe Your Word and ask for no other proof. Let there be a performance of Your Word in my life. Let Your will be done. Holy Spirit, help me to overcome every temptation of Satan, including the temptation to tempt or test God.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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