In some ways, all of life is a test. How will we react when things go wrong? Or when we don’t get our way? Or God feels far away? Those are circumstances we all understand. But, have you ever thought that a blessing from God could also be a test?
In Exodus 15 we find the people of Israel several weeks’ journey into the wilderness after their escape from Egypt. They’re out of food and starting to complain. God tells Moses not to worry because he (God) will provide quail for the people at night and a strange new food the people will call manna six mornings a week. He went on to say he was doing this as a test to see if the people would obey his instructions. They could collect manna six days a week, but not on the seventh, because that was a day of rest. Most passed the test, but some didn’t. They had to learn the hard way.
There’s more: What God was offering was not just food. He was giving them the gift of enough and the gift of rest. They received the full blessing only when they were obedient.
After reading this story in Exodus, I have to wonder if God blesses us and then stands back to see how we will use the gifts he gives us. Maybe, with his blessings, he is trying to grow in us a willing obedience, care for others, and trust in him. Are we passing the test?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” – Ephesians 1:3
Do you know why the people of Israel were forced to wander in the desert for 40 years after being delivered dramatically from slavery in Egypt, given the Ten Commandments, and led by the great prophet Moses?
My first thoughts: They disobeyed God by worshipping a golden calf, they grumbled a lot, and they even suggested they should go back to Egypt. But the writer of Hebrews lets us in on the true problem: They didn’t believe God!
After recounting their bad behavior, he sums things up by saying, “So we see that they were not able to enter because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). After all God had done for them, they still didn’t trust him to fight the giants and give them the land. Unbelief kept an entire generation from receiving the blessings God had prepared for them.
Our trust in God is fundamental to his active involvement in our lives. In fact, Jesus said we needed to believe before our prayers would be answered. If we want to grow our ability to trust, maybe we start by believing some things God has already promised:
Your pain won’t last forever. (Psalm 30:5)
Justice will come. (Psalm 103:6)
Your needs will be met. (Philippians 4:19)
God’s Word will show the way. (Psalm 119:105)
Relating to him will give you strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
You don’t have to be afraid. (Psalm 23:4)
God has a place and purpose for you. (Philippians 2:13)
Our earthly and eternal well-being depend on believing in the God of the Bible so much that we entrust our lives to him. None of us trusts him perfectly, but we can begin today to do it better!
“Man says, ‘Show me and I’ll trust you’. God says, “Trust me and I’ll show you.” – Anonymous