Are We Expecting to Be Tested?

This is a subsidiary post of Tests, Trials, Tribulations.

We are not ignorant of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11) because the Bible has educated us to them.  Therefore, we should expect to be tested.  Again, we should not be surprised when our faith is tested.

When we do not expect our hearing of the word of God to be tested it is like walking through a doorway that has a spring-loaded 2×4 poised to whack us between the eyes.  With the warning of God, we know to walk low through that doorway (i.e. be humble).  Therefore, God tells us in advance that we will be tested (Matthew 24:25; Mark 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 3:4).

J. Warner Wallace draws a distinction between teaching and training.  He says that training is teaching with the expectation that the knowledge being conveyed will be tested.

As Ecclesiastes 10:17 and 1 Corinthians 10:7 suggest, we should partake of the word of God with the expectation of acting on it. That is, we should make sure that we hear the word of God with “a view to do” it (Hear and Do…or Hear and Not Do).

Matthew 3:13-4:11  –  Upon hearing “a voice out of the heavens” say “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,” Jesus “was led up by the Spirit into the wildernessto be tempted by the devil.”  The temptation begins “If You are the Son of God…”  This is, of course, reminiscent of what happened to Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-7), except that Jesus passed the test which Adam and Eve failed (see note on Genesis 3:1 below).

Mark 4:15  –  “immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown”  –  See prime example of this in Genesis 3:1 below.

Mark 4:35  –  “Let us go over to the other side”  –  Coming on the heels, even the very day, of Jesus teaching the parable of the sower – including the reference to Satan’s expected challenge – the disciples should not have been surprised at the storm that met them in response to the Lord having spoken these words (Mark 4:33-41).

Luke 3:21-4:12  –  This passage is parallel to Matthew 3:13-4:11 (so see note on it above).  However, the connection between “You are My beloved Son” and “If You are the Son of God” is not as easy to see because Luke has placed the genealogy of Jesus between the two.  It is not hard to imagine that Luke was mindful of Adam and Eve as he thought about the similarity of the tests, and thus the inclusion of the genealogy back to Adam would have been entirely understandable.

Luke 22:31  –  “Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat”  –  This is reminiscent of Job 1:9 and 2:4.

2 Corinthians 12:7  –  “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself”

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8  –  “…I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain…”

James 1:2, 3, 4  –  “…various trials…”

1 Peter 1:6, 7  –  “…various trials…”

1 Peter 4:12  –  “…do not be surprised”

Revelation 3:10  –  “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth”  –  If we stand firm through the trials given us, we can expect to be exempted from some other trials.

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Genesis 3:1  –  “Indeed, has God said”  – Just as portrayed in Matthew 3:13-4:11 and Mark 4:15 above, Satan comes to take away the word of God which had been sown.

2 Samuel 22:31  –  “The word of the LORD is tested

Proverbs 30:5  –  “Every word of God is tested

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