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

Deuteronomy 6: 16


Reading: Malachi 3: 10; Matthew 4: 7-10

Today we’re continuing our examination of how evil it is to ‘test’ God. But hang on a minute, I hear you say, God actually told us to ‘test’ Him in the matter of tithes and offerings – so how can ‘testing’ God be wrong?

It’s true that in the Bible there are examples of both acceptable and unacceptable kinds of testing God. In our Malachi reading for today the Hebrew word translated ‘test’, is bachan, which means to ‘examine, scrutinize or prove’. In the case of tithes, God is inviting His people to prove how faithful He is by acting in obedience to His commands.

But testing God is always unacceptable when the test is rooted in doubt and an unsavoury discrediting of God’s character. There is another Hebrew word for ‘test’. It is the word nacah and it means to ‘put to the test, try or tempt’. This is the word used in Deuteronomy 6: 16 – and this is the kind of testing that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 4.

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6: 16 in his own Wilderness experience in response to one of Satan’s temptation, which was to throw himself down from the Temple in order to get rescued by God’s angels and thus demonstrate that he was indeed, God’s Son. Well, Jesus saw through that ruse and recognised Satan’s word for what they were – an invitation to ‘test’ God in a BAD way. In essence, Satan was suggesting that Jesus should force God’s hand to show him some outward sign of His Word to Jesus.

Jesus refused to test God in such a way – and so should we. We are to accept God’s Word by faith, without requiring a sign.

Of course, we have much more to say about that – and so I will continue reviewing the difference between faith and testing in tomorrow’s study. See you there!


My faith is so shallow Lord, help me, I pray

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.