Proving or testing

It’s Friday all so let’s Greekout. Most people who read the Bible know about James 1:3 even if they don’t know where to find it. James 1:3 says knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and this is talking about testing our faith so that we can know the genuineness of it and grow. What you might not know is this was a not a new concept.

In Judges 3:1-2 we read and see that God left a few nations to test Israel. If you know Judges, then you know they failed. The best verse to sum up the book of Judges is 21:25 which says, “In those days Israel had no king: everyone did as they saw fit.” This is actually repeated a few times in Judges which should give us some insight.

Let’s look at the original language to see what we have here. In Judges the Hebrew word for test or prove is nacah in 3:1 which means to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test. In verse 2 the word for teach is lamad and this means to learn. teach, exercise in.

That was a lot so let’s break that down. If we combine what we see in verses 1 and 2 we see that God left enemies in the land to test the people, so they might learn how to fight. What seemed like a challenge and struggle to the people was indeed a challenge and a struggle and it was a God-ordained challenge and struggle. God intended for it to be that way because the people needed to learn.

If we jump ahead a few thousand years and books, we see in James the Greek word for testing is dokimion and it means the proving. This is the exact same concept as Judges. It means that something is happening to prove your faith so that you might learn from it. It is not just about proving the faith but proving it so that we might learn from it.

God often leaves challenges and struggles in front of us to prove us for the purpose of learning. Jesus says that he who is faithful in much will be given much. God does not test us just to see what we know or what we will do. He already knows. Instead, God is testing and proving us so that we learn and can handle more of His will and His ways. God desires so much more for you and for me, but we need to a person and a people who can handle it.

So, if you are being tested or proved right now focus on the goal. Focus on the prize in front of you. Focus on God your great and might reward.

Just a thought,

Mike

Thirsty

I am reading through Judges and I have come to the end of the Samson narrative. As you may be aware Samson is no role model. He was vain, selfish, and did his own thing. As far as judges go he is pretty much the worst. We like him because he was strong and killed the bad guys but he is an anti-hero. He married a Philistine woman, slept with a prostitute, and told a woman who repeatedly tried to have him captured how to defeat him. Samson was no role model. In reality, he was the hero Israel deserved at that time. He does, however, show something very important.

Samson was, at times, doing God’s will even when he was doing as he pleased. In one incident recorded in Chapter 15 of Judges Samson killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey which is pretty impressive. Most hero’s in the Bible would accomplish this feat and name the place after God, Samson names it after the donkey. He then cries out to God for water and God gives him water. Samson then names the place after himself and not God. This sums up Samson pretty well.

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone and named that place Ramath-lehi (High Place of the Jawbone). 18 He became very thirsty and called out to the Lord: “You have accomplished this great victory through Your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split a hollow place in the ground at Lehi, and water came out of it. After Samson drank, his strength returned, and he revived. That is why he named it En-hakkore, (Spring of the One Who Cried Out) which is in Lehi to this day.

What we can take away from this story is that God is faithful and full of grace for sinners such as us. Samson was no saint and yet God was faithful. God’s faithfulness and abundant grace does not depend on us.

Paul in Ephesians says that we are saved by grace so that we cannot boast. We tend to think of this saving as when we receive God’s forgiveness but Samson was saved from thirst in his time of need. God saves us from things all the time we just need to call out to Him.

What thirst do you have today? What need do you have that requires God to intervene? Call on Him because He is faithful because that is who He is.

Just a thought,

Mike