When God moves us from bondage to freedom, He leads us to the desert. He gives us words and promises to hold on to while He works out all the details for our freedom. We view these times as tests. But a test is never just a test. God doesn’t like tests anymore than we do. It is about change. God wants to move us from slaves to sons and daughters. Lets look at the purpose of these desert testings.
Tests of Faith: Reveal What Is Inside Us.
The Testing of Our Faith Brings Out the Best or the Worst in Us — Sometimes Both.
The Hebrew children failed their test time after time. They grumbled, whined, and complained. They accused God of wrongdoing. They failed to follow God and love Him.
More than once they rebelled against the leadership of Moses and were ready to kill him and choose another leader. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments the congregation was worshiping the gods of Egypt and casting off every moral restraint.
When it came time to enter the land of promise, they refused to go because it appeared too difficult and dangerous. Once again they forgot the presence, provision, and power of God. It didn’t matter that He had proved Himself over and over.
But these SAME tests brought out the best in men like Joshua and Caleb. They had gone to spy out the same land the Lord had promised. They personally saw the same dangers and said, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us” (Numbers 14:7-8).
It brought out the best and the worst in Moses. He kept loving God and loving the people in spite of the hard times. At one point, when God was about to destroy the people because of their rebellion, Moses said to the Lord, “But now, please forgive their sin — but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:32).
On another occasion when the people complained about being thirsty Moses prayed that the Lord would give them water. But when they kept on complaining, Moses became so angry that he pounded on the rock with his staff in frustration, losing his temper…instead of speaking to the rock in obedience.
This act of rage kept him from entering the land of promise. God was teaching Moses lessons of faith and obedience which were more important than entering the promised land.
So the question should be asked of us personally, “Have we passed the test and do we know the true condition of our heart?” Passing the test is one issue. Having the Lord cut away all the fleshly desires from our heart is another. The quicker we allow the Lord to do His work in us, the quicker we can move along to entering into His rest!
For Some People these Tests Seem More Like Teasing than Testing.
This is especially true in our culture. We want all the blessings of God and we want them now. We are truly a culture of short-cuts and convenience. Perseverance is not our forte.
But God is not playing or teasing. We have to learn that life is more than receiving blessings — even if they are blessings God has promised to us. Learning to trust God is more important than any gift He could ever give us.
Someone has said, “Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward.”
The question always remains – will our testings, trials, and circumstances bring out the best or the worst in us?
A tall young Army officer watched the clock nervously. In just a few minutes he would see the woman who had gotten his name and written to him for the past year and a half — although they had never met. Lt. Blandford had confessed to her in one of his letters that often he felt fear. Only a few days before his next battle, he had received a letter from her which said: “Of course you fear… all brave men do. Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you: ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me.’”
Those words strengthened him for his next battle, and now he was actually going to hear the voice of the woman who had written those words. At four minutes to six a girl passed close to him, and Lt. Blandford’s heart jumped. She was wearing a flower, but it was not the little red rose they had agreed upon. She had refused his request to send him her photograph. She wrote: “If your feelings for me were real, what I look like won’t matter.”
It was one minute to six and once more his heart gave him a start. A young woman was coming toward him. Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls from delicate ears. Her eyes were blue as flowers, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness. In her pale-green suit, she was like springtime come alive. He started toward her, not noticing that she was not wearing a rose. As she moved past, she gave a small provocative smile. “Going my way, soldier?” she murmured.
Then he saw another woman — one wearing a red rose. She was walking directly behind the girl in the green suit, a woman well past 40. Her graying hair was tucked under a worn hat. She was plump, and her red rose was pinned to a rumpled coat. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. Blandford felt exceedingly drawn to the smiling girl, but he had a great longing for the woman whose spirit had touched him so deeply. She was now standing before him, and he could see that though her face was plain and pale, it was gentle and sensible. Her gray eyes exuded warmth. Lt. Blandford greeted her warmly.
He said to himself that this may not be the love of his life, but it would be a very special friendship. “I’m Lt. Blandford,” he said. “And you’re Miss Maynell. I’m so glad you could meet me. May I take you to dinner?” The woman looked at him with a questioning smile and said, “I don’t know what this is all about, son, but that young lady in the green suit, begged me to wear this rose on my coat. She told me that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you she’s waiting for you in that restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test.”
God is testing the quality of our love and devotion. He wants to see what is inside — whether we are real or false. Whatever is inside will come out in the test. It will bring out the best in us or the worst in us, and what comes out will determine whether or not we pass the test.