Summary: This sermon looks at seven examples of how people were tested in the Bible.
Seven Examples of Testing
Job 23:8-10 (HCSB) 8 If I go east, He is not there, and if I go west, I cannot perceive Him. 9 When He is at work to the north, I cannot see Him; when He turns south, I cannot find Him. 10 Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.
One of the metaphors that the Bible says about life is that it is a test. God continually tests people’s character, faith obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. Character is both developed and revealed by testing. And the truth of the matter is – All of Life is a Test. You are always being tested. God is constantly watching how you respond to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment and even the weather. What I would like to do this morning is look at several ways God’s people have been tested. For you see trials can be:
1. A Test of Patience.
Trials and tribulation can be a test of patience. The Lord has a timing for fulfilling His plans and purposes. Often His plans take much longer than we expect. In the meantime we go through severe trials and tribulations and they seem to last forever. These seasons are tests of our patience. Are we willing to wait for God’s timing? Listen to what the scripture says in James chapter 1.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trial, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But
let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJV)
Job’s life was a test of patience. In fact the Bible says in book of James, “Remember the patience of Job.”
2. A Test of Faith.
Trials can be a test of our faith. Do we believe in God even in the midst of pain and suffering? Do we believe in the promises of God even when everything looks impossible? Do we trust in God even if He does not deliver us? Do we trust in God even when we do not understand His ways and working in our lives? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were tested and showed their faith.
Daniel 3:16-18 (HCSB) 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
“It’s not that we can’t do it. – It’s that we won’t do it.”
Thought: How do you know if you are faithful unless you are tempted with unfaithfulness?
3. A Test of Love.
Trials can test our love. They can reveal whom or what we love most in our lives. They reveal our priorities and desires. The Lord wants us to love Him more than anybody else or anything else. The depth of our love to God is revealed during the seasons of trials. Peter is an example of this test.
John 21:15-17 (HCSB) 15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him. 16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him. 17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.
4. A Test of Endurance.
Trials can be a test of our endurance. How much are we willing to endure for the Lord? Will we give up easily from following the Lord? Will we endure till the end? The life of Paul is an example of endurance.
2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (HCSB) 24 Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea. 26 On frequent journeys, [I faced] dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; 27 labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.