Summary: God test people to confirm their faith in Him
It is affirmed in Hebrew 11:6 that without faith we cannot please God. Throughout the scriptures, God had always tested people in order to confirm that indeed they have faith in Him. Usually those who passed the tests learnt endurance (James 1:3) and were rewarded.
What does the bible say?
" Deut. 8:2 - … testing you to know what is in your heart (He tests spiritual heart)
" 1 Chron. 29:17 - To test your integrity
" Exo. 20:20 - God tests in order to keep one from sinning
" Jer. 17:10 - … I the Lord … test the heart … for rewards (Rev. 22:12-14)
For Abraham, it was a test that required him to sacrifice / give up the most important thing to him. He passed the test without querying God and God gave him a generational blessing (Gen. 22:1-19).
" Lesson: If we chose to retain what we have, releasing it to God by faith is the answer.
For the three (3) Hebrew men, it was a test that required bowing to another God. They passed the test and God did not only avert their death, He also caused His name to be glorified through them throughout the nation and caused them to be promoted (Daniel 3:8-30).
" Lesson: If life and promotion are what we desire, standing for godliness by faith is the answer.
For the Syrophoenician woman who was not even considered a believer, it was a test that required her to withstand ridicule and shame. She passed the test and received her desire (Matt. 15:21-28; Mk 7:24-30).
" Lesson: If healing is what you want, holding onto your faith in Jesus will deliver it into your hands.
All these examples affirm the Hebrews 11:1 statement which says faith is the substance of things hopes for, the evidence of things not seen. That is, faith is what you use to retain what you have or receive what you are yet to own.
God frowns at our unbelief
God frowns at our unbelief because He is disappointed that we do not trust Him to see us through, even though He had always been there for us and had shown us miracles. For example, God already said in Numbers 13:1 that He had already given the land to the people; He just wanted them to go and spy the place. The next thing was for the people to believe God’s ability to hand the land over to them but they did not believe it could be done. It was only 2 out of 12 tribes that believed God’s ability to give them the land (Num. 13:26-33 & chapter 14).
When faith in God is absent:
1. People would hold onto impossibilities in the mist of provision – Num. 13:26-19
2. People admit defeat before engaging – Num. 13:31
3. Bad reports begin to spread and prevail among people – Num. 13:32
4. Weeping becomes the order of the day – Num. 14:1
5. Complaints take over – Num. 14:2
6. Death wish sets in – Num. 14:2
7. People would result to feeling like victims – num. 14:3
8. People would begin to consider going back to previous lifestyle – Num. 14:4
9. People would begin to look for a stronger, faithless person (leader) who can champion one’s failure – num. 14:4
10. People attract God’s wrath – Num. 14:11-12
11. People’s journey in life becomes prolonged – Num. 14:33-34
12. People may end up incurring death sentence – Num. 14:20-23 & 28-35
The questions now are:
" Can God confirm my faith?
" If He tests me with affliction or success, will I pass
" What tests am I willing to take in order to affirm my faith in Christ Jesus?
" If God asks me to give up something, will I release it?
" Would I choose to proclaim God in an unpopular environment?
" If I am treated with insults in the church, will I stay because of Jesus upon whom I am focused?
" Can I be certain that I will shine forth after God's test - as Job said (Job 23:10)
The Way Out:
" If you realize that you have been failing the tests of faith, then admit it and ask for help from our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 9:24). Jesus prayed for Peter knowing that only faith could help him (Lk. 22:31-32)
" Pray that the Lord will help you pass every test of faith that comes your way
" Pray that God will help you to release whatever He asks of you
" Pray that God will help you to stand as a believer in Christ Jesus, removing all forms of shyness
" Pray that the Lord will give you a strong enough faith to withstand ridicules or oppositions