SermonTesting God
An all-creatures Bible Message

Testing God

A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church

15 March 2020

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95:1-11
John 4:1-26

Testing God is really something that people who donít have true faith and trust in God do when they donít like the situation that they are in.

When we trust God, we thank Him and pray for whatever we need, and not necessarily what we may want, and there is quite a difference, for people may need food, but we donít need to be wealthy to buy food, because wealth is something we may want, but we donít need it.

We have heard a lot of animal rights people ask, ďWhy does God allow this to happen?Ē and because it has not ended, they no longer trust or have faith or trust in God, which is really testing God, for what they are really saying is ďUntil You stop the horrible suffering of animals, I wonít trust you.Ē

Such people seem to think that we are doing God a favor when we believe and trust Him, when the opposite is really true: God is freely giving us the free gift of eternal life in heaven if we have faith and trust in Him.

Trusting God brings us the gift.

Testing God could actually lose us the gift.

Letís continue our journey through parts of the Bible by looking at Exodus 17:1-7, and the way the people were testing God.

1. The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.

The Desert of Sin, which is also called the Wilderness of Sin, is located in the southern Sinai peninsula between Elim and Mount Sinai, and Rephidim is located closer to Mount Sinai and to the west of the mountain, but the actual location of all these places are uncertain, but this is unimportant in understanding the Biblical message, for we know it was a dry location.

2. So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink."
Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?"

In other words, why are you testing God?

Think about something, if God could perform all the miracles He did in bringing the people out of Egypt and protecting the people up to this point, why were they complaining instead of praying for the water they needed?

Our opinion is that they really lacked faith and were continuing to live in the corrupt ways of this world.

3. But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"

This is worldly talk; or the voice of the devil trying to destroy the loving relationship that the Lord wanted to have with the people.

4. Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me."

In a way, Moses in his anger and frustration also seemed to be testing God, for he was not praying with his usual reverence, and this may be part of the reason that the Lord did not let Moses enter the promised land.

5. The LORD answered Moses, "Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.

However, the Lord lovingly answered Moses, and told of the miracle He was about to perform.

6. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Horeb, according to Biblical scholars means either mountain or rock, and springs of water to come from mountainous rock formations, so perhaps it refers to a very large rock; in any event water flowed from the rock, which was the miracle.

7. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
NIV

The meaning of Massah is trial or temptation, which Moses named after the people were testing God, and Meribah is possibly the same place, but its name means dispute or quarrel.

In the previous verses, we were not told that the people questioned whether or not the Lord was with them, but this statement is clearly testing God, for it clearly defines their lack of true faith.

Most of us at one time or another have been testing God in our frustration, but in His loving kindness the Lord seems to forgive most of those who also have true faith and trust in God.

Letís now take a look at Psalm 95:1-11Ö

1. O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

This verse is both praise and an expression of faith; faith that the Lord will save all true believers from the corruption of the earth to the everlasting glory of heaven.

2. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

This verse expresses another very important aspect of our relationship with the Lord for we are always to have a truly thankful heart, even when things are not right with our life.

3. For the LORD is a great God,
And a great King above all gods,

Expressions like this always bother me, because there is only one God, and all the other so-called gods are either idols or demons.

4. In whose hand are the depths of the earth;
The peaks of the mountains are His also.

This verse acknowledges that the Lord created the earth and everything upon it.

5. The sea is His, for it was He who made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

This is a further expression of the fact that God created the earth.

6. Come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

We are always to worship God and nothing else as many people do by making things and practices in their lives idols before God, such as when people say that canít live without eating meat, when the truth is just the opposite.

7. For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,

We are always to allow ourselves to be guided by God and His heavenly will.

The last line of this verse really belongs to the next verse.

8. Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness;

In other words, we are not to be like the ancient Israelites who contended and tested God over not having any water in the wilderness.

9. "When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.

When we are always thankful for all that the Lord has done, God is faithful to respond.

If we are not, we can easily fall into the same situation that the ancient Israelites did.

10. "For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.

I often get the feeling that the way that most people are living today, the Lord feels the same way about them as He did about the people that contended with Him in the desert.

11. "Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest."
NASB

And I donít want this happening with anyone today, which is the reason that you hear me constantly calling people to turn away for the corrupted lifestyles of this earth and live in His heavenly will.

Letís conclude our discussion about testing God, by looking at John 4:1-26Ö

1. When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John

Jesus knew that the Pharisees didnít really believe, but followed the letter of the Law in order to work their way into heaven, which they couldnít really do, so instead they challenged Jesus at every turn to try to prove their ďholinessĒ to the masses and persuade the people not to listen to Jesus.

2. (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),

From the standpoint of following the heavenly will of God, it really wouldnít matter who did the baptizing, for if the peopleís hearts were changed to serve the Lord and His heavenly will, that was all that mattered.

3. He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.

From the way these verses are worded, it appears that Jesus didnít want to be tested by the Pharisees, or confront them as it was a waste of His time.

He definitely was not afraid of confronting them.

4. And He had to pass through Samaria.

The Samaritans were foreigners who replaced the Israelites when they were deported by the Assyrians, even though they learned about Judaism, the Jews would not associate with them, which makes Jesusí visit significant.

5. So He came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph;

This land and city are located in Northern Palestine.

6. and Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

From the way this is worded, Jacobís well was still there even after about two centuries.

The sixth hour is the sixth hour after dawn or around noon time (mid-day).

7. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."

The Jews didnít even talk to the Samaritans, and here we see that Jesus, a Jew, is talking to her; and the significance of this is to show that no one is excluded from Godís kingdom who seek Him, and Jesus was about to introduce this woman to the kingdom.

8. For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Would Jesus have still talked to this woman if the disciples were still there?

We believe He would have, for this is all part of Jesusí lesson for them and for us today.

9. The Samaritan woman therefore said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Even the Samaritan woman knew the significance of what was happening; there was something special taking place then, and this lesson is also for us to do the same thing today; the gospel message is for everyone; no one is to be excluded from hearing it.

People also donít have to go to a church to hear the word of God and His message of salvation; they can hear if anywhere, even on the edge of a well.

10. Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

Living water is also moving water, but in this case Jesus was offering the living water of life to this woman, and at the same time in somewhat vague terms He was letting her know who He was.

11. She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?

Notice that she wasnít testing God, she seemed to be only interested in learning the truth about who He was and about what He was offering her.

12. "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?"

And she continued questioning Him to find out more, unlike the Israelites in the wilderness who complained about not having water and tested God because of it.

God was testing the Israelitesí faith, and this woman was seeking to learn more about what Jesus had for her.

13. Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again;

This is a statement of fact in the physical world, for we all get thirsty, even when we have had a drink in the near past, but Jesus is telling her that there is a spiritual water of faith.

14. but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

This is the gospel message that we are also to tell others about, and if we do, we have to live that life before others to be believed, and that is part of what seemed to be attracting this women.

15. The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw."

She was still thinking in physical terms and not the spiritual terms that Jesus was presenting to her.

16. He said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."

Because of the way that this woman replied, Jesus wanted to move her away from the physical to the spiritual realm, so he changed the subject.

17. The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband';

This is the beginning of opening her mind and heart, and Jesus goes onÖ

18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."

Jesus knows that this woman understood that He would have no way of knowing this if He was just another person, and He wanted her to keep seeking.

19. The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

Her eyes were opening, hopefully as we all can do when speaking to others, particularly non-Christians or those who have lost their faith.

20. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

It appears that she spiritually recognized that God was everywhere and not just in Jerusalem.

21. Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.

He is confirming to her that God is everywhere, and that she can also be in His presence

22. "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

In other words, this woman was mostly following what she had been taught but there is moreÖ

23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

Jesus was confirming that she really knew part of the truth, but that there was a lot more.

24. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

This is something that we all need to learn, and to not worry about the physical things in this corrupt world.

25. The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."

She was confirming her faith but didnít recognize Him as being Messiah, but she may have suspected something, so Jesus confirmed who He was.

26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."

Today we know the truth.

Jesus is Lord and Savior, and we donít have to wait for His return to be saved.

We can question God in our prayers, but we should never doubt Him or resort to testing God.

If we respect God, He will answer us as he did the woman at the well.

Seek God and His heavenly will in our lives, and the truth will be confirmed to us.

Amen?

Amen.

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