The Test

The story of the Bible begins with God creating
a beautiful world and then Sharing it with all of his creatures. And he appoints Adam and Eve to rule it on
his behalf. And God gives them access to his wisdom and
life but then tells them that There’s one tree they can’t eat from because
it will lead to death. So they have a choice about how to rule with
God. This kind of feels like a
test. Well, that’s because it is a test. But isn’t that kind of cruel for God to
test them? Well, not all tests are bad. Let’s say there’s a king who chooses you
to fulfill A royal task because he wants to know if you
are trustworthy. Well, I guess that’s a test, but really
it’s an opportunity to do something important And noble. Right. But then let’s say there’s a rebel who
hates the king and you, and he Tries to convince you that you would be better
off not doing what the king Asks. Well, the rebel is setting a trap. Right, so a test could be an opportunity or
a trap. And the difference is
whether the one testing you has your best Interest in mind. I see. And both types of tests appear in the beginning
of the Bible. God tells
them to eat of the tree of life and not the Forbidden tree. Yeah. This is God’s test of loyalty. God wants to rule the world with humans
as his partners, which means they will need To trust his wisdom over their
own. But then a rebel comes and tests them to eat
of that other tree.2 Right. The rebel seizes this opportunity and twists
it, so he can lead the Humans into exile and ultimately death.

He turns the test into a trap. But after the humans fail, God promises that
one day a human will come Who will pass the test and defeat the snake. And as the story moves on,
God gives a couple, named Abraham and Sarah, An opportunity to trust
him by leaving their family behind to go to A new land, where God will use
them to restore his blessing to all people. So this is a test. And at first things go well, but Abraham quickly
fails. He lies to protect himself, and then he and
Sarah scheme to get a son their own way by Abusing
one of their servants. Definitely not passing the test. But God doesn’t give up on Abraham. He gives him one final opportunity,
a test to prove his loyalty. God asks Abraham to go up onto a hill and
offer His son as a sacrifice. I can’t imagine a more intense test. And Abraham does it. But in the last moment, God stops him and
provides A substitute animal in the place of his son. God then says he will fulfill his
promise through Abraham’s family because He passed this test. So Abraham passed this test, but he hasn’t
proven to be a fully trustworthy Partner. We’re still waiting for someone who can
pass the ultimate test. Yeah, and as the family of Abraham grows and
becomes a nation, God continues to test them. Like when the Israelites wander in the wilderness
for forty years. They have lots of opportunities to trust in
God to provide water or daily Bread. But they instead blame God and even say that
he trapped them in the desert to kill them. And so the rest of Israel’s story in the
Hebrew Scriptures is pretty much the Same. The Israelites don’t trust in God and his
promise. They’re not loyal,
and eventually the whole nation fails. So humans have an amazing opportunity to partner
with God, but no one

Is really qualified. And so all of this brings us forward to Jesus. There’s a story where Jesus goes into the
wilderness for forty day and forty Nights without food or water. Ah yes, the wilderness! And there he meets a sinister creature who
tries to Trap him. But Jesus trusts in God’s wisdom. And he passes the test. Then later there’s a story about Jesus going
to pray with some friends, and God commissions him to go up to Jerusalem
and give up his life. And so he goes. And on the night of his arrest, Jesus took
his friends and Went to a garden. And he told them to pray because tonight,
he said, is “the great test.” And he prayed to God, “Please let this test
pass from me. But not my desire;
rather, may your desire be done.” In this garden, Jesus shows us what passing
the test looks like. He trusted
in God’s wisdom, he loved others more than Himself, and he confronted evil
with good. Even though it cost him his life. Right. Jesus offered his own life as a sacrifice
to cover for all of the failed Tests of his people Israel and of all humanity. Jesus passed the ultimate test
on behalf of us all. This is amazing, but that doesn’t mean everything
is going to be great in our Lives. I mean, let’s be honest. We’re going to face our own tests every
day. Right. Jesus said every generation of his followers
would have their own Tests that will force them to trust God in
radical new ways. And these tests can be difficult and often
painful. But remember, a test from a good God is an

This is why James,
a leader in the early Jesus movement, said That we should be grateful when
we face tests and trials because they offer Us a gift. It’s an opportunity to
surrender to God’s wisdom and to become More like Jesus, the one who
loved us and who passed the test on our behalf.

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