"He called the name of the place Massah (testing) and Meribah (contention), because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, 'Is the Lord among us or not?'"
"You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah."
What does this warning against tempting or testing God mean? God apparently takes it very seriously, since it’s repeated so often in Scripture.
One of the temptations that the devil brought to Jesus was to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple and expect God to send His angels to catch Him, and so prove that He was the Son of God. The Lord’s reply is recorded in the Gospel According to Luke: “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
The word means to test something to see if it will work. It’s an attitude of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s not faith; it’s a challenge to God to prove His Word: “Oh, yeah? Prove it!”
On the other hand, the Lord says, regarding the practice of tithing: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
So it seems that there’s a right way to “test” God and His promises, and another way of testing Him that He forbids.
When our faith is weak, we sincerely believe, but need help to humbly trust Him, God is more than willing to meet us there. Miracles will abound. But when we try to force God into fulfilling His promises in the way we think He should as a condition of our being willing to follow Him it would be safe to say that God is not impressed or pleased.
God is delighted and pleased by faith, and He is grieved and disgusted by unbelief. He is always seeking those who will humbly assume that His Word is true and move forward on that assumption. In fact, that’s a pretty good definition of faith. That is the attitude that delights God’s heart.
“The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (II Chronicles 16:9)
Lord, help me to simply trust You. I know that Your Word is true; You have proven it to me in so many ways at so many times in my life, but my ability to just trust and obey is wobbly. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief, strengthen the weakness of my faith as we move forward. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles