Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Experience Through Trials

Have you ever been enticed to leave your job, your ministry, your calling, for something else because someone showed you the riches that were involved?  Or maybe the benefits of having different connections?  Or the extra time you would have?  I think, in reality, that most of us have if we're honest.  I know I have.

Deuteronomy 13:1-3 - 1 If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

First of all, we should probably clarify what a "sign" or "wonder" is.  I could go into the technical Hebrew definitions but Clarke puts it simply: "But here the word seems to mean some portentous sign, such as an eclipse, which he who knew when it would take place might predict to the people who knew nothing of the matter, and thereby accredit his pretensions."

The fact that these signs and wonders are meant to take you away from the one true God is abominable.  You see, the Hebrew for "listen" here is shama' meaning "to hear, listen to, obey"  (Strong's H8085).  You see, "some temptations are so grossly vile that they will not bear a debate, nor may we so much as give them the hearing" (Henry).  Not only should we not listen and not obey, we shouldn't even give this kind of thing the time of day to begin with!

But the big question remains.  Why would God allow something like this to happen?  Testing, or nachah, means "to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test" (Strong's H5254).  He is trying to prove us, to make us better and stronger in our faith "for he who experimentally knows God cannot be drawn away after idols.  He who has no experimental knowledge of God, may believe any thing" (Clarke).  This kind of test gives our faith experience, experience with the only God - "therefore see that you acquit yourselves well in the trial, and stand your ground" (Henry).  Further, the phrase "find out" is actually defined as "to know" (Strong's H3045).  God truly wants to know if we love Him with all of our hearts, "namely...in a public manner, so as both you and others may know and see it, that so the justice of His judgments upon you may be more evident and glorious" (Wesley).  

I have said it before, but I will say it again, the thing your heart loves the most will overflow.  So if all of your heart loves the Lord your God, people are going to know!  God is going to know!  Because when you face those trials, your love for God will continue to spill over and you will be able to stand your ground.

Take a post-it or index card and write this verse on it: 

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" - 1 Corinthians 10:13.  

Place this somewhere where you will see it everyday.  It will encourage you on the hard days.  And if you're ready for this: memorize it!  It's a good one to have stored away in that brain of yours!

Face today's prophets, today's dreamer of dreams, today's challenges and trials and know that you know and love the Truth.  Remember that this experience is growing you.  God is always by your side.  

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