I was reading I Corinthians 10 again, and saw verse 9 where it says, “We shouldn’t put the Lord to the test as some of them did. They were killed by snakes” (I Corinthians 10:9). Now what is the world is that about? Well, it refers back to an event recorded in the 21st chapter of Numbers:
“The people became impatient on the trip and criticized Elohim and Moses. They said, “Why did you make us leave Egypt—just to let us die in the desert? There’s no bread or water, and we can’t stand this awful food!”
So Yahweh sent poisonous snakes among the people. They bit the people, and many of the Israelites died . . .” (Numbers 21:5-6)
The Amplified Bible expands the meaning of “testing” by saying, “to try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness.” Ouch! Simply put, tempting the Lord means making Him prove He will do what He promised to do.
We tempt him whenever we ask, “Okay, just how merciful will You be to me if I move forward into this sin? How long can I indulge my sin before Your anger has reached its limit? Oh sure, I know He is merciful and this is an era of grace, with no condemnation toward sinners, so how could He possibly judge me, when I am one of His children?”
All kinds of Christians casually ask that same question as they toy with a temptation. I know one Pastor who had an affair, and every time they met together, they would pray, “Father forgive us for what we are about to do . . .” Sad, huh? They wanted to see how close they could get to hell-fire without facing the consequences of their sin. In short, they were tempting the Lord. The whole time, these believers are casting off conviction from God’s Word.
Any time we go against truth that God’s Spirit has made clear to us, we are casting off Paul’s warning: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12).
Ask yourself if you are testing the limits of God’s precious gift of grace. Are you tempting Christ to indulge your sin in the face of your outright rebellion? Have you convinced yourself, “I’m a New Testament believer. I am covered under the blood of Jesus. So, God won’t judge me.”
Well friend, by continuing in your sin, you are treating Jesus’ great sacrifice with utter disregard. Your present willful sin is putting him to open shame, not just in the world’s eyes, but before all of heaven and hell. Don’t believe me, read Hebrews 6:6: “If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance– it is impossible to bring them back to repentance,” Why? Because, while they are crucifying the Son of God again — as far as they are concerned — they are holding Him up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.”
In I Corinthians 10:13 Paul describes a way of escape from all temptation: “There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.”
What is this means of escape? It is a growing knowledge and experience of the Holy fear of God! It is relying on the guidance and correction of the Holy Spirit of God! It is submitting to His rule and reigning in your life!
All of those things require you to maintain a clean heart and an earnest desire to know your Father.
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