Revelation 20; Isaiah 7-8; Psalm 110
I have a real problem when people talk about testing God. Usually they talk about “laying out a fleece,” where God will have to answer in a miraculous way, to find the answer to their test. As I read the story of Gideon, that test was borne of lack of faith. God gave Gideon a command, Gideon didn’t have faith to respond immediately and so he set up the fleece challenge: twice. It has always seemed like a lack of faith to make God respond to our tests.
Maybe this is why I can identify with Ahaz. Isaiah brought him a message from the Lord. Ahaz probably was wondering why this loony guy was bringing such a crazy message when he knew that only doom and disaster lay ahead. So God enhanced His message through Isaiah. “Choose your test. Tell me what I need to do to prove Myself.” (not exact words) Ahaz answered in the way he thought he should answer God. “But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.’” (Isaiah 7:12)
I think, as I reflect on this passage, and others where God calls His people to put Him to the test, that there’s a difference. God encouraged Ahaz to test Him because He knew that Ahaz lacked faith. All of the occasions where God called His people to test Him deal with proving His word to be true. The test is something like, “Obey what I say and see if you won’t be blessed.” “Fleece” tests are often those borne of seeking an answer from God based on our own desire – often relating to things that really don’t make a difference in the eternal scheme of things. Often we load those terms so that what we really want will happen unless God does something miraculous.
If you want to lay out fleece tests, I guess that God is ok with that. If not, He can let you know that He’s not; He doesn’t need me to tell you. If you really want to test God, though, perhaps you need to look at what God has said in His word. Test Him by being obedient to His word. Then see if He isn’t true to what He said He would do.
Lord God, it’s so easy to put You to the test on things I desire. Remind me that You have desires and expectations of me. Let me put You to the test by showing my obedience and seeing if You are true to Your word.