Q. I was wondering your thoughts on God testing us. I’ve only heard this taught one time, Deuteronomy 8:2 says that God tests us in order to know what is in our heart, whether or not we will keep his commands. If taken literally, or at least the way I take it, the LORD brings things across my path to see how I will respond… Will I chose to act in faith on his word, or be in fear. Will I choose to obey or not and so on and so forth. Is this correct? If so it would give a different outlook on “problems” we encounter on a day to day basis.
A. First, If God knows the end from the beginning, as He claims in Isaiah 46:10, then He couldn’t have been testing the Israelites so He could see whether they would keep His commands. He already knew they couldn’t obey. He had to have been testing them so they could see whether they would keep His commands. Remember, the purpose of the commandments was to make them conscious of their sin (Romans 3:20).
Second, His relationship with Israel was based on obedience. His relationship with us is based on belief, and because of our belief He already sees us as if we’re perfect (2 Cor. 5:17, Hebr. 10:12-14).
In Colossians 1:19-20 Paul said because Jesus died for our sins, God has made peace with us. In John 6:28-29 Jesus said God’s only requirement is that we believe in the one He sent. Our belief makes as righteous as He is (Romans 3:21-24, 2 Cor. 5:21) so He has no further expectation of us. He sees anything we do beyond belief as an expression of our gratitude to Him for saving us.
Even if He didn’t already know how we’ll respond to this situation or that one, testing us would serve no purpose because when we go to be with Him we will no longer be like we are now (1 Cor. 15:53). All this means He would have no reason to test us.
This world is increasingly a dark and dangerous place, and problems are a fact of life. Jesus warned us we would have trials while we’re here (John 16:33) but that doesn’t mean He’s the one who brings them across our path. John said the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Our job is to consider it pure joy when we face trials (James 1:2) and live by faith not by sight (2 Cor; 5:7) because our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).