Countless men through the ages have been dissatisfied, dismayed or discouraged by life’s circumstances, events and trials and have judged and blamed God for permitting them. In the courtrooms of confused and bewildered minds, mankind has put God “in the dock” and judged Him guilty of withholding His omnipotence to prevent or change certain events, circumstances or people.
Matthew 4:1-11 is the record of the temptation of Jesus, when the devil came to tempt Him. The devil challenged and tempted Jesus to prove himself: Verses 3 and 6 – “…if you are the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread,” and “…if you are the Son of God, cast yourself down…”
How do I tempt God? My understanding is that I tempt God when I charge Him with folly. I pit my limited understanding against the Almighty and put Him on trial. My finite mind rails at the Infinite One, “IF you are God, do something, change things!” The devil used the same words when he tried to tempt Jesus to prove himself: “IF YOU ARE…”
God is not here to be put on trial and judged by men. It appears that when I question God about my circumstances with a wrong attitude, I am putting Him on trial and judging Him because the situation does not meet with my approval. We may not all attend a Bible School but we are all students in the “School of the Spirit.” Regarding our personal circumstances, consider this:
GOD PERMITS, IN HIS WISDOM, WHAT HE COULD PREVENT IN HIS POWER! Our loving Heavenly Father uses the adverse circumstances of our lives to shape a vessel for His glory. As we humbly embrace the God of our circumstances, another measure of the character of the Son of God is formed in our lives, the Holy Spirit of God brings the wind of change and the season of discord passes. The wonder of it all is that when I have entered into “the secret place”, (Psalm 91), with the Master amidst the trial, His presence changes me, changes my outlook/attitude because “in His presence is fullness of joy,” – joy in Him, not in the trial. Nothing can compare with that “gold,” that treasure in my life, the gold of God. As I empty my earthen vessel, He pours in His treasure. I die to self that He may live in me. 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
The children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings grieved the Lord because of their doubting, unbelief and constant murmurings against Him. Am I any different? Hebrews 3:10 records God’s displeasure with them, “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, they always err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” There are some things that we cannot understand with our finite minds. At these times we need to humbly bow and surrender our understanding to the Lord. These times are not to be despised, our lack is holy ground as we yield to Him as He teaches us His ways.
God declares, Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…..For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
When I accuse God, I have unrighteous thoughts towards Him. Verse 7 of Isaiah 55 encourages us to forsake those thoughts, return to the Lord, and He will abundantly pardon us. So often I try to justify myself and uphold my own righteousness, my right standing in my eyes is just “filthy rags” in the Lord’s eyes. As God requires me to “cease from my own works,” (Hebrews 4:10), He also requires me to cease from my own words.
When I accept that I am not here to be proved right, not here to know and understand everything, but that I am here to believe and trust God….. then I will enter into His perfect rest. (Hebrews 4). When I surrender to the Lord unconditionally, I cease from my own works, (and words), let go and let God, then His peace comes in as I feel the warmth of Father’s smile, love and presence.