TESTS – THEY DID NOT COME FROM GOD

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TESTS – THEY DID NOT COME FROM GOD

Trials are a common fixture in our lives; like change, they are a constant. Thankfully, by God’s grace, trials are not permanent fixtures. But like that pesky itch that does not seem to go away, or like relatives, just kidding, trials seem to rear their annoying little heads more times in our lives than we would like. And man has developed two unique methods for dealing with trials, both usually used in conjunction with one another, reinforcing one another, and ironically, by that reinforcement, tearing down each other in the process. Figured out what those methods are yet? You are absolutely right; blame God, then blame the victims. Man blames God for any and all trials, claiming that if He did love them, He would have kept troubles away from them. Then they blame the victims, accusing the victims of being sinners who have committed a whole host of sins, so much so that God has now had enough and is visiting those sins on them. So is it any wonder then why people see God as an authoritarian headmaster and fall away from God when trials come?

Beloved, Jesus wants to set straight, why trials come and show us just what He will do when trials come into our lives. So from His guiding, let us learn how we should respond to trials when they come.

In order for us to understand why testing comes, we need to understand the origins of testing; and for us to do that, we need to go right back to the very beginning.

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17

Would you like to hazard a guess as to why man would surely die if he ate from the tree of good and evil? Was it because God was jealous of man and his wonderful intellect and wanted to ensure that man did not become His equal in intellect and intelligence? Was it as what the serpent told Eve?

“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5

Think about this. You know that flames are hot. And if you put your finger in that flame, you are going to get burnt. Now, your child does not know that. But you tell your child not to put his finger in the fire right? Do you do that because you do not want your child to be as intelligent about fire as you are; so that your child will always remain less intelligent about fire when compared to you? Do you now realize how stupid that last statement was?

So in the same way, do you think your loving Father in Heaven would deprive you of any good thing? Look at why God made man in the first place.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

Our Father made us, in His original plan, before we messed it all up, to enjoy the wonders of His creation, to have dominion over everything He created, so now He was going to withhold something good from us? Seriously?

Instead, just like we want to protect our children from pain and suffering, so too does our Heavenly Father want to protect us from pain and suffering. So by telling us not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He was essentially telling us, that He wanted to protect us from evil and did not want us to know what evil is, for right up to that point, the world was filled with nothing but good. For it is written,

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

So how will man have the knowledge of good and evil if evil was not introduced into the world? So now,

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” Romans 5:12

Because, “the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23

So the very thing that God wanted us never to suffer from, to experience, we chose to let in, and because of that, trials and testing came in. By eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we unlocked the door for Satan to come in and, just like our loving Heavenly Father showed us what good was, Satan started showing us what evil was. After all, we did ask to know. So here was what happened,

“And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.
And Cain said to his brother, Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” Genesis 4:6-8 [AMPC]

The first victims of sin were Adam and Eve’s sons; talk about efficient information transmission. Adam and Eve wanted to know what evil was, and they got to see it, not only in their lifetime, but in their own children, no less. But notice how our Father warns Cain that sin crouches at his door? Cain had a choice, he was told to master that sin and not give in to it, but did he listen? No, he said to his brother what now has become one of the most famous last words, ‘let’s step outside’.

So why do trials come? Trials come because sin is already in the world. Why is sin in the world? Because we said we wanted to know what evil was. Lesson to learn, is it not? Be careful what you wish for. God never wanted us to suffer from the effects of sin, much less trials. But we brought it upon ourselves. And just in case you think that it only happens to us common folk, let the Bible show you proof that sin, and the troubles that come from sin, believes in equal opportunities and social equality.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

What was this big test that was coming up? Yes, he was going to deny that he knew God three times. And mind you, Peter was no ordinary man. Here was a man who moments after this declared,

“And [Simon Peter] said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death.” Luke 22:33 [AMPC]

Wow, big claims for someone who later did this,

“Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.”
But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:54-62

Even before the end of the chapter, Peter had already denied knowing Jesus three times. Talk about a tough test. But why did this test befall Peter? Jesus is very clear. Satan asked for Peter, so that he may sift Him like wheat. In fact, The Message translates Satan’s purpose even clearer.

“Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.” Luke 22:31-32 [MSG]

In fact, so fixated is Satan at wanting to separate us from Jesus that The Amplified tells us,

“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,” Luke 22:31 [AMPC]

Satan has not only asked, but asked excessively, that we may be given up to him, away from the power and keeping of God. Talk about obsession. And here is a secret, the closer we are to Jesus, the more Satan wants us, just like He wanted Peter, just like He wanted Job and yes, just like He wanted Judas.

“And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,” John 13:2

It was Satan that made Judas betray Jesus. For The Message tells us,

“It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.” John 13:2 [MSG]

And how firm was Satan’s grip on Judas?

“Then after [he had taken] the bit of food, Satan entered into and took possession of [Judas]. Jesus said to him, What you are going to do, do more swiftly than you seem to intend and make quick work of it.” John 13:27 [AMPC]

Satan entered Judas and took possession of him. That is how strong a grip Satan had on Judas. And just like Cain, Judas did not master the sin which was crouching at his door and it took control of him and put him through the worst trial anyone could ever go through, which ended up in this.

“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:3-5

Beloved, are you going through a trial? Do you feel that you are being tested? Chances are you are right. You are. But know this. Your loving Father in Heaven did not plan for it. He did not will it. He is not responsible for it. But He will take you out of it. Jesus will ace that test for you; just how and why, He will reveal to us in Part Two. But take comfort that Satan himself acknowledged this,

“So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Job 1:9-10

Your loving Heavenly Father has placed a hedge around you and your household, protecting you from all evil. He never wanted you to experience evil and He never will. Not only that, He has blessed the work of your hands and increased your possessions on the land. So never fear beloved, for your Father hears and He will come and pull you out from your trials.

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