Is it ok to test God?
We hear a lot about how God can test us, testing our faith and our works to see if they are pure. But can we put the shoe on the other foot and test God? The usual reaction to this is “no don’t,
it’s bad”. This comes from what Jesus told Satan when Satan tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4:7
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
But does this mean that we can’t test God at all. Looking at what was written that Jesus was referring to is in Deuteronomy 6:16
You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
Here it says that we are not to test God as was done at Massah. What happened at Massah was the Hebrews had just been rescued from the Egyptians, they had seen God do many miracles to get them out. After witnessing the plagues on Egypt and seeing God split the Red Sea, when they got out into the desert and got thirsty, they started complaining. Even after receiving manna from heaven to eat, they complained to Moses in Exodus 17:2-3
Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
After witnessing God’s miracles and all that God had done for them, the people didn’t have enough faith in God that He would provide for them. They were testing God with a lack of faith, we shouldn’t test God with a lack of faith.
But there are ways where it is not only ok to test God, but He actually encourages it. God doesn’t expect us to believe in Him just because we read it in the bible. You shouldn’t believe everything you read, God wants us to be knowledgeable not gullible. Psalm 34:8 says
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
God’s not telling us I’m good, trust me. Here, God is inviting us to test Him and His goodness. He’s saying come on, Try Me. It’s God’s love that draws us closer and He wants us to try it to experience it. No matter how much we read or hear about God and His love for us, nothing can compare to experiencing it. Only by trying God and experiencing His love do we come to know Him
Malachi 3:10 says;
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
Here, God is challenging us to test Him and His generosity. The Israelites were going through a tough time and were worried about donating to the temple. God challenged them to put their faith in Him to see if He wouldn’t give back more than they could give. We can’t out give God, and He’s challenging us to test him on it.
The Pharisees challenged and tested Jesus often to see if He was true, this is out of Matthew 22:34-40
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The Pharisees were constantly testing Jesus trying to prove Him wrong. Time and time again they would try, but all the times they tried, Jesus never rebuked the Pharisees for testing him, it was their refusal to learn and accept that they were rebuked for. It’s ok to test God to see if He is real, just believe the results!
It’s also ok to test God for His will, Gideon did this several times in Judges 6,7. 36-40
Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew. (Judges 6:36-40)
Gideon was called to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites but Gideon had a severe inferiority complex, over and over again he would have to be reassured. Even after being tested by Gideon several times, God still offered more reassurance. God wants us to be confident in Him and in our service to him and will welcome any test that will prove His will. In Isaiah 7:11, King Ahaz is told;
Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”
If you are unsure about anything concerning God, just test Him, whatever sign you need He’ll provide.