Testing The Lord

Exodus 17:7
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?"
Do you ever press your hand on a chair before you sit to test and see if it will hold you? You probably don’t do that with a chair you use every day. But if the chair was new to you and you weren’t used to it, you might test it.

The people of God were freed from slavery in Egypt by miraculous signs and wonders. They were well aware of the plagues that made the Egyptians welcome their departure. They watched how God parted the Red Sea so they could cross, and they saw the army following them die as the walls of water closed on them. Time after time, God showed his strength in their protection, his care for them in his provision, and his patience when they grumbled.

When the people came to Massah in the desert, they grumbled that God wasn’t taking care of them, but had led them into the desert to die of thirst. The complained against God saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

It’s as if they took a chair that had been used a lot recently and pressed their hand onto it to see if it was still strong enough for them. It was silly of them to question God after all they’d been through. They had tested his patience once more, but not for the last time.

Do we have any right to question God? We can see his wonders in the Bible. We can look with awe all around us in the Earth and see what he’s created. We can read about the millions of people who have experienced God’s miracles in recent years.

We have less of a right to question God than the Hebrew people in the book of Exodus.

But we still test God and he’s still patient with us.

He would love to see us go to that chair and just sit, knowing that if it has been strong for all of the people who have come before us, it’ll hold us as well. He’s waiting to see who will have faith in him instead of wondering if he’s still strong enough.

He’s strong enough for you to rely on. He always will be.

Genuine Leather

Joshua 24:15
“choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”

Will you test the fabric of your sofa to see if it’s naugahyde or leather? Are your belts, shoes, and purses made of genuine leather or a synthetic material? Fakes are easy to find, but the genuine leather products will have a label on them to prove the value of the product.

In a world where the authentic has to be labeled, it’s so important to choose wisely to whom you will give your heart. Do you attend a church that makes it easy to be a Christian? It seems that the popular churches are the feel-good churches. But there are churches that make you confront sin and make you wiggle uncomfortably in your pew.

Joshua told the people that no matter what they did, he and his household would serve the Lord. In fact, he told them they couldn’t serve the Lord because if they turned away to serve foreign gods, the Lord would bring disaster on them. But the people didn’t back down. They told Joshua they would serve the Lord.

What would happen in your church if the Pastor turned into a Joshua and declared to all the pew-warmers that they couldn’t serve the Lord because He is Holy and deserves worship from the bottom of your heart, not off the top of your head? Would the people stand up and choose for themselves to serve the Lord in a heart-felt commitment?

Someone who prays to God out of a relationship of love sounds different than one who prays because he’s supposed to. If the fabric of your life was tested, would the test results prove you to be a genuine Christian? Or merely a really good fake?

God knows the difference.

Confidence in God

Psalm 17:6
“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
give ear to me and hear my prayer.”

Seeking God with the right attitude builds success in your relationship with him. One thing I’ve learned about God is He’d like us to apply what we know about human relationships to our relationship with Him.

For instance, if we go up to someone we’d like to be friends with and bow down in front of them in clownish, fake honor, and then immediately start asking for things, they may not take us seriously. Also if all we do when we see that person is ask them for things, that relationship might not be the close friendship we want.

God is sometimes a close friend, sometimes a parent, and sometimes a boss. Because I’m a mom, I often learn about God as a parent.

I remember the times my family spent a few hours cleaning on Saturday morning so we could go out Saturday night. My mom would direct each of us to jobs appropriate for our age. Any time we finished a job, she’d have another one for us. When all the jobs were completed, we could have an evening out.

God is like that, in a way. He knows what needs to be done. If I tried to do my mom’s job instead of my own, we would’ve never gone out. Letting God do His job and setting myself to do only what he’s directed me to do shows my confidence in His ability to do His job.

I trust God to know what He’s doing. I can’t run things better than Him. I can only do what my limited abilities allow. This is why it’s so important that we listen to God. I listen to Him, knowing He’s already been listening to me. And when we don’t listen, we’re telling Him that we know more than He does.

So I go to God and do what He says. When I’m through with one task, I’ll go back and listen for more instruction.

Keeping a good attitude and letting your life show who’s really in charge will build your confidence in God.

Be Patient And Work The Plan

Psalm 57:2
"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me."

When I feel overwhelmed with all that I have to do, I can sit in God’s presence and relax in His comfort because I know He has a plan.

God had a plan for me before I was born. He designed me with specific gifts and personality traits so that I would be able to grow into the person that could carry out His plan.

My plans fail. But when I give up on my plans and focus on His plan, I find success comes more easily. He knows what He’s doing – even when I don’t.

When I read the verse above, I’m reminded that God never put any pressure on me to fulfill my purpose. I know God is in charge of fulfilling the purpose He created me for. I can stop fighting against what He’s trying to do. I can relax in His hands and let him train me to do what I was designed to do.

It takes patience and effort, but I want to be where He puts me and do what He designed me to do. If I’ll get out of His way and simply obey Him, my life will be what it’s supposed to be.