“Test Me Not”

The world always cries for freedom. In my country for example, our history is filled with cries for freedom- Cry of Pugad Lawin, Dagohoy Revolt, EDSA Revolution, etc. But too much freedom is dangerous, it can be disastrous. The book of Exodus offers an eye-opening story that freedom without discipline is deadly, and that true freedom is having the right boundaries- not the total abolition of them. Exodus narrates that true freedom is found in loving the most Worthy Person.

Philippine’s national hero, Jose Rizal, once wrote a revolutionary book that gave way to the nation’s freedom from Spanish shackles- that book was Noli Me Tangere which means Touch Me Not. But the ultimate Hero of the universe, hundreds of years before, in Exodus, He said “Test Me Not”– authoritative command that frees humanity from the worst form of shackles in the universe.

Tonight, we will continue our series in the book of Luke. We are now in a familiar passage entitled The Temptations of the Christ but we will focus on one phrase tonight which is “You shall not put God to the test.”

Too much freedom led them to question freedom and test the freedom-giver/ the Liberator.

Here’s the story:

9 The devil led [Christ] to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”
12 Christ answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”

What does it mean to test God? How do we know we are testing God? What areas do we unconsciously put God to the test?

Using the Inductive Study Method (OCIA), we will explore this passage.

Observations:

  1. This happened before Christ officially began his earthly ministry.
  2. He was weary and tired of spiritual activity of fasting.
    1. Humanly speaking, he had all the right to feed himself or make “a little mistake” after all those 40 days of holy activity.
    2. Here is a man who did not fail us. In his success, we succeed. While in Adam’s fall, we failed all; In Jesus’ victory, we gained the victory.
  3. Satan used Scriptures to tempt the Christ.
  4. Satan’s strategy is to do the thinking for us.
  5. Our mind is where spiritual battle happens. Thought patterns are key.
  6. Rephayim is present day Wadi Refayid (Wadi means dry valley)

 

Correlation:

  1. He quoted Deuteronomy 6:16- during Christ’s time, there was no NT Bible yet. The only Scripture they had was the Old Testament.
  2. Deuteronomy is a book of recollections/ repeating of commands (Deu means 2nd or two). It recalled the events of Exodus 17:1-7
  3. To better understand Christ’s quotation, we have to revisit Exodus 17:1-7
    1. The Narrative of the Israelites
      1. Scholars say they are almost 2.4 Million + Egyptians and other races who joined
        1. The original group of Israelites—Jacob’s family who went to Egypt—numbered just seventy people (Genesis 46:27). In 430 years the vigorous and healthy Hebrew race increased to 2.4 million.
      2. They were in the wilderness called Sin.
      3. They say, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
      4. They quarreled against each other
      5. They want to go back to Egypt, to their former masters. 
    2. The Narrative of Moses
      1. He thought he will be stoned (v.4)
      2. He cried out to the Lord (v.4)
    3. The Narrative of God
      1. He said, “Pass before the people.”
      2. “Take with you some elders”
      3. Take your staff with you which you used in the Nile
      4. He said to Moses “I will stand with you”- You and me against the world
      5. Stand on the rock of Horeb, strike the rock and water will come out of it
    4. The Result
      1. Moses obeyed in the sight of his leaders.
      2. He called the place MASSAH (Testing) and MERIBAH (Contending)

Interpretation:

  1. Testing God means repeating the mistakes of Israelites in Rephidim/ Desert Sin.
  2. Testing God is to forget all His past miracles to our lives.
  3. Testing God is to fight against our God-given leaders- Moses
  4. Testing God does not steal His ability to make Himself great in the end. 

 

Application:

  1. What is Your Rephayim?
    1. Where are you thirsty, impatient, grumbling? Where do we forget God’s miracles to our lives?
    2. Where are you tempted to go back to Egypt? Complain? Is the Lord among us? No?
  2. Where is your Massah?
    1. Where do you test God? Where does Satan test you? “Lord I’ll follow you if…”
  3. Where is your Meribah?
    1. Where do you fight against your Moses? And neighbors?
  4. How do you respond to Rephayims? What should we cry out when we are in Massah/Meribah?

The Gospel

In the past, all men failed in life’s testings- Adam failed, David failed, Solomon failed, the nation of Israel failed- but thankfully, there is Someone who never failed.

He was hungry, thirsty and tired just like the Israelites. He was in the wilderness too- just like them in Sin. But He never failed. He never tested His God. He never grumbled nor forgot His Father’s goodness.

In Christ, we have the ultimate freedom:

a.  Freedom from our Rephayim/ testing- In Him, we can no longer grumble because He gave us the greatest sacrifice and the greatest gift. It’s freedom from grumbling because in Him, we have been provided for all our needs- reconciliation, reconnection and eternal life.

a. Freedom from condemnation because He became sin for us even He is perfect. He was bruised and killed for our transgressions. In Him, we will end our life as if we have always obeyed, as if we are perfect and have passed all testings that have been given to us. In Him we are declared perfect.

b. Freedom from our Egypt – the ultimate freedom is not the absence of masters but having the right master, the right boundaries, the right form of slavery. True freedom is not going back to Egypt, but travelling and dwelling in the Promised Land of Rest.

 

Posted in: Contemplations

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