The Benefit of Times of Testing (part 1)

 

The Lord has been teaching me so much on the topic of trials lately. I have been reading through the Old Testament in my quiet time and came across 2 passages that really struck me:

2And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” -Deuteronomy 8.2-3

20 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not.” – Judges 2.20-22

God, knowing all things, did not need to test Israel in order to discover something He didn’t already know about them (that is, the deceptive sinfulness of their hearts). After all, man’s heart is declared to be truly unknowable by anyone (even himself), except for God alone (Jeremiah 17.9-10). So, who is this “testing” for? Who was it meant to benefit? What was the point of it all?

In light of God’s omniscience, the obvious answer to the above stated questions is: Israel. God ordained and orchestrated these times of “testing” in order to reveal to Israel that which He already knew about them. That is, God knew the weakness of their flesh and the propensity of their hearts to lust after other gods. However, Israel was apparently blind to this fact so God used circumstances in their lives to bring their abiding sin to the surface. When confronted with their sin, they could then be presented with the opportunity to confess and repent, or further harden their heart (and conscience) by continuing to pursue their sin. Unfortunately for Israel, they often chose the later option, bringing God’s heavy hand of discipline on them for their disobedience.

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About Elizabeth

I am a sinner, saved by grace striving to increase in the knowledge of my Savior and His precious Word each day. The reader should know that there are a few presuppositions with which I approach this blog: 1) I believe in the biblical gospel, which basically purports that all mankind is born under the curse of sin (due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden). Therefore, man is separated from God and can have no relationship with God because He is perfectly holy, not even able to look upon sin. Unfortunately, God is also perfectly just and must not only separate Himself from sin, but must also punish it. In order to reconcile man to Himself, God, the Father, sent God, the Son, down to earth to live as a man and take our sins upon Himself on the cross. While on the cross, God, the Son, bore the full weight of the wrath of God, the Father, against our sins in order that we who believe in Him might be set free from the curse of our sin. God, the Son, Jesus Christ, died as a propitiation for our sin in order to appease God, the Father's, holy and just character, redeem us from sin, and reconcile those who believe in this gospel to God, the Father. 2) I am primarily writing to those who already believe in this biblical gospel. In other words, this blog is not focused on evangelizing the lost, but edifying believers. 3) I believe that the Christian Bible is the very word of God. Therefore, it is completely inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and authoritative in the life of a believer.
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4 Responses to The Benefit of Times of Testing (part 1)

  1. Gina says:

    Hey Lizzy,

    Oddly enough, tonight’s message from Pastor Eric was about when we as believers go through trials and about how the Lord protects/shields us from harm.
    The message was more along the basis of how God might not always protect us from the physical things, but He will always preserve us spiritually, our faith, so that it may never be lost if/when we are His. I couldn’t help but think about you and little Tikvah. So here I write.

    I know there’s nothing I can say or do to make the situation/circumstances better for whatever you may be up against, but if you’ve taught me anything during our times together, it’s that the suffering lasts only a little while for us while we’re still here. And that we don’t need to be afraid of anything.
    I’ll always continue to pray for you.

    Your friend,
    Gina

    • Elizabeth says:

      Gina,

      You are such an encouragement! I praise God for your kind words and empathetic heart. I love your heart for our Lord and treasure your counsel.

      Thank you for your exhortation and your prayers … you are a blessing, my friend!

      Love, In Christ,

      Elizabeth

  2. Randy says:

    So very true Elizabeth. Our own hearts need the light of God’s Word to shine forth and reveal our inclinations. And trials show us where our affections need to be re-oriented. You are a real encouragement to many!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Amen! Our hearts are so deceitful. We cannot rightly asses them ourselves, but must lean upon the truth contained in the “living and active” Word of God to inform us of our true heart-condition. But when trials hit, it is much easier to see the reality of our depravity, as residing sin comes bubbling to the surface under the pressure. It is humbling, but also such a point of encouragement for the believer as we recognize that God is not content to leave us in our self-deluded, sinful state. He is committed to conforming us more into the image of His Son. He has been showing me the blessings of just ONE of the many ways He accomplishes that purpose … through trials.

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