Do not put the Lord your God to test, as you tested Him at Massah

Deuteronomy 6: 16

Reading: Exodus 17: 7

Have you ever tested God? Tried His patience and longsuffering to the nth degree as you resisted, argued with or just plain, disbelieved Him? We’ll be investigating the evil of ‘testing’ God in today and tomorrow’s devotional studies.

As Moses is recounting the good law of God to all the people, after forty years of wandering in the Wilderness, he references something that happened at a place called Massah. The occasion where the Israelites tested God at Massah is found in Exodus 17. As God was leading His people towards the promised land they camped at a place where there was no water. Their immediate reaction was to grumble against God and quarrel with Moses. Their lack of trust in God’s willingness and ability to take care of them is evident in their accusations towards Moses. “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

So, this is testing God then. Being in a place of need, and perhaps being nervous about that, is not testing God - but questioning God’s reliability and, instead of turning to Him for assistance, turning to bitterness and complaint, is testing God.

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?”

I’m sure you’re thinking that its perfectly human and natural to question and doubt when we face trials and difficulties – and indeed it is. But that doesn’t make it right.

God had performed incredible miracles and physically appeared to these people in one of the few theophanies recorded in history EVER – but they persisted in discrediting God.

Join me tomorrow as we further examine what it means to ‘test’ God.


Show me Lord, where I have tested You in the past or where I am testing You now.

For the family

Over the next few days, watch parts of this brilliant video together about the Wilderness region in Israel where the people wandered.