Why God Must Prove Us
by Tom Stewart
June 25, 2002
"Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart"
God is our Maker, and as the Supreme Potter, He has the right to
modify and fashion us in the way that best pleases Him. "4 And the vessel that he made of clay
was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed
good to the potter to make it. 5 Then
the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the
LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O house
of Israel" (Jeremiah 18:4-6). On
our part, we can be assured that faith and confidence in God pleases Him. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him:
for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them
that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). But, what binds
our heart to Him is the absolute assurance that the Infinite God loves us. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only
Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting
Life" (John 3:16). If only the world
would understand that God loves everyone unconditionally; but additionally, and even
more importantly, the Christian must comprehend that God has a Special Love
for only those that trust and obey Him. "He
that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that
loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself
to him" (John 14:21). For those
who are truly following hard after Him, He is more interested in our sanctification
and safe passage into Heaven than we are. "Being
confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform
it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians
1:6). That Special Kind of Love is the substance of most of the New
Testament, when addressing His faithful interest in the present walk of His Saints.
"Faithful is He that calleth you, Who
also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:24).
Those who truly love God, obey Him. "If ye love Me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15). And, those are the people that God must prove. "And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not" (Exodus 20:20). But, why must God prove us? It is certain that the Omniscient God already knows what we will do before we do it. "Great is our LORD, and of great Power: His Understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5). For this reason, we can conclude that God is not proving what He did not already know, but He is proving the point for our benefit, i.e., "Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end" (Deuteronomy 8:16). Humanly speaking, we think that we know what we know; but, until the LORD proves it in us, only then do we truly know it. "5 I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6). Our flesh repels at the thought of being tested, i.e., for "no man ever yet hated his own flesh" (Ephesians 5:29). Remember our school days, when even after thorough preparation, tests were not relished? The Apostle Paul well understood those feelings, i.e., "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure" (2Corinthians 12:7). Paul petitioned "that it might depart from me" (12:8), and the LORD answered, "My Grace is sufficient for thee: for My Strength is made perfect in weakness" (12:9). Paul willingly submitted to the LORD's answer-- "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest upon me" (12:9). Paul concluded, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (12:10). We will never discover the LORD's strength in our lives until we willingly submit to our Heavenly Father's testing and proving of us. "23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the Way Everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
In conclusion, if the LORD proves it in us, then it is truly so. "And God said... and it was so" (Genesis 1:9). May we adopt the attitude of the LORD when He implored us, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10). If the LORD of Hosts must be proved, how much more do we need to be proved? "Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart" (Psalm 26:2). Why so many tests and provings? We must be proved to this degree, because it is necessary to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the Church" (Colossians 1:24) that we "may stand perfect and complete in all the Will of God" (4:12). May we expect to be proved by God and prepare our hearts accordingly, "and then shall every man have praise of God" (1Corinthians 4:5). This particularly fits our End Time scenario of readiness for the Rapture. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).
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