WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 30, 2022
TOPIC: YOU SHALL NOT TEST 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).
In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, the Bible records the temptation of Jesus Christ by the devil with a little difference in the order of the three temptations. Whereas Matthew puts the devil’s temptation asking Jesus to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple second, Luke puts it third – the last temptation.
But my focus is not on the order of the temptations but on the response of Jesus. In Matthew’s account, the devil told Jesus, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone’” (Matthew 4:6 New King James Version). Jesus answered, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (verse 7 New King James Version).
Luke 4:12 records a similar statement thus: “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (New King James Version). Jesus quoted this verse from Deuteronomy 6:16: “You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah” (New King James Version).
Note the word ”tempt” in Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:12, and Deuteronomy 6:16. Some Bible translations use the word “test” instead of “tempt.” For example, the New Living Translation renders Matthew 4:7 thus: “Jesus responded, ‘The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’” The Contemporary English Version renders not to test (tempt) the Lord or not to put the Lord to the test in Deuteronomy 6:16 as “So don’t try to make him prove that he can help you, as you did at Massah.”
Adam Clarke explained the phrase “Ye shall not tempt the Lord” this way: “Ye shall not provoke him by entertaining doubts of his mercy, goodness, providence, and truth” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary). To test God means to show a lack of faith in Him. It is not to believe His Word. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). You must have faith in God and not ask for a sign like the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus responded to their request for a sign thus: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39 New King James Version). Matthew 16:4 and Luke 11:29 record a similar statement.
Believe the Word of God. Don’t look for signs or ask God for further proof for you to believe. The rich man in Luke 16 asked that Lazarus should be sent to his father’s house to testify to them, for he had his five brothers, lest they should also come to the place of torment he was. But Abraham said, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (verse 31 New King James Version). Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper (2 Chronicles 20:20b).
You shall not test God. Jesus refused to prove that God would protect Him if He threw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple as the devil wanted Him to do. He refused to test God by putting Himself deliberately in danger just to prove that God would protect Him. Don’t test God. Only in Malachi 3:10 did God tell the Israelites to test, try, or prove Him, and it was about tithes. In other words, they should bring all their tithes into the storehouse so that there would be food in His house as He has commanded them and see whether He would not give them superabundant harvests.
Earlier in Deuteronomy 6:16, reference was made to how the Israelites tested God at Massah: “You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah” (New King James Version). . This scripture refers to how they argued with Moses about the lack of water and God caused water to come out of the rock for them (Exodus 17:1-7). The place called Massah is also referred to as Meribah.
Massah means test, trial, or temptation while Meribah means quarrel, strife, dispute, or contention. The Israelites tested God by not trusting Him to take care of them or provide for them. They tested God by asking if He was among them or not despite all the miracles He had done for them in the past. Hear what Exodus 17:7 says, “And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” (New International Version). How dare they say this with the proof of God’s presence with them that they had seen all along! Such a doubt amounted to testing God.
You shall not test God. We test God when we doubt His faithfulness. We test God when we cannot remember all He has done for us in the past and we are anxious about our present circumstances. God sees your condition and cares about your situation. You don’t have to worry; He will take care of you (Matthew 6:25-34). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version). Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
God said in Numbers 14:22 that the Israelites had put Him to the test ten times, and had not heeded His voice. The phrase “ten times” more likely means many times or often, although some Bible scholars have taken the number literally and pointed out ten different instances when the Israelites tested God after leaving Egypt. The Israelites tested God many times or often. Don’t test God.
As seen earlier in Matthew 4:7, Jesus told the devil, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (New King James Version). He considered throwing Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple as testing God. Commenting on the phrase “You shall not tempt the LORD”, Adam Clarke said, “To expose myself to any danger naturally destructive, with the vain presumption that God will protect and defend me from the ruinous consequences of my imprudent conduct, is to tempt God.”
You shall not test God. “Preservation in danger is divinely pledged: shall I then create danger, either to put the promised security skeptically to the proof, or wantonly to demand a display of it? That were ‘to tempt the Lord my God,’ which, being expressly forbidden, would forfeit the right to expect preservation” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).
You shall not test God. Don’t doubt God. John Wesley said we shouldn’t test God “By requiring farther evidence of what he hath already made sufficiently plain” (John Wesley’s Notes on the Old Testament). Take God at His Word. As Jesus said, have faith in God (Mark 11:22). You shall not test God.
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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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 repent of the way I have tested You in the past. Holy Spirit, help me to have faith in God, trust in Him in every circumstance, and believe the Word of God without asking for further evidence on what has already been made sufficiently plain. I shall not entertain doubts about God’s mercy, goodness, providence, and truth. I pray that no child of God will fall into the temptation of the devil to expose himself/herself to any danger with the vain presumption that God will protect and defend him/her.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947