John T. Willis

Sunday, September 01, 2013

God Proves A Person--This is a Heart Issue

The Bible clearly teaches that God does not TEMPT human beings to lead people into sin. James 1:13-16 describes this concept in detail: "No one, when TEMPTED, should say, 'I am being TEMPTED by God'; for God cannot be TEMPTED by evil and he himself TEMPTS no one. But one is TEMPTED by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved." At the same time, God DOES TEST or TRY or PROVE a human being. The major Hebrew words for "test" or "prove" are bahan, nasah, sarap, haqar; and the major Greek words for "test" or "prove" are peirazo, dokimazo, apodeiknumi, paristemi, sumbibazo. Here are a couple of key texts to make this point. 1. Psalm 139:1, 3, 23: "O Lord, you have SEARCHED me and known me. You SEARCH OUT my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. SEARCH me, O God, and know my heart; TEST me and know my thoughts." 2. Psalm 17:3: "If you TRY my heart, if you visit me by night, if you TEST me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress." 3. Psalm 26:2: "PROVE me, O Lord, and TRY me; TEST my heart and mind." Passages like this demonstrate that the words "prove, try, test, search" are synonyms. The background of these terms is the refining of metals in a furnace. Here are couple of texts which emphasize this point. 1. Proverbs 25:2-5: "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to SEARCH things OUT. Like the heavens for height, like the earth for depth, so the mind of kings is unsearchable. Take away the DROSS from the SILVER and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness." 2. Jeremiah 6:27-30: Yahweh says to Jeremiah: "I have made you a TESTER and a REFINER among my people so that you may know and TEST their ways. They are all stubbornly rebellious, going about with slanders; they are bronze and iron, all of them act corruptly. The BELLOWS BLOW FIERCELY, the lead is CONSUMED BY THE FIRE; in vain the REFINING goes on, for the wicked are not removed. They are called 'rejected silver,' for the Lord has rejected them." Job 18:1-11 also presents a lengthy similar picture of refining precious metals. The human heart is like a precious metal. But all metals contain dross or alloys. Thus, God gently but powerfully applies fire to refine the heart and lives of all true human followers of God. Share YOUR insights and beliefs and shortcomings and problems and experiences with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis