Tempting God



Brothers, see that you do not tempt God. Someone may ask: ‘What does it mean to tempt God?’

I will answer this question by mentioning one of the temptations Jesus bore while He was in the wilderness. Matthew wrote: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:5-7). As we can see, the devil tried to induce Jesus to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple by quoting a passage of the Scripture which assures divine protection to those who trust in God. Certainly, Jesus was a man who did trust in God with all his heart and knew that He was protected by the angels of God continually, but He did not consent to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple and resisted the devil by quoting the passage of the law which commands us not to tempt God. Therefore, if Jesus had thrown Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple He would have tempted God and He would have broken the law.

But how does the devil try to induce the children of God to tempt God? In many ways, and he often uses the Scripture to tempt them. For instance, while there is a tempest on a sea or on a river he may try to induce a believer to walk on the water because Jesus commanded Peter to come to Him on the water; or he may try to induce a believer to walk in the midst of the fire because God protected the three young Jews (Shadrach, Meshac and Abed-Nego) from the fire which was into the burning fiery furnace; or he may try to induce a believer to pick up poisonous serpents because Jesus promised that those who will take up serpents will be protected by God (this is what actually takes place among some churches in the United States of America). In all these cases, it must be said to the devil: ‘It is written: You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’

On the contrary, if in particular circumstances God commands (through a word of wisdom) one of his children to pick up a serpent (God commanded Moses to reach out his hand and take a serpent by the tail), or to walk on the water (Jesus commanded Peter to come to Him on the water); or to walk through the fire, then the matter is completely different because he who obeys that specific order of God does not tempt God. But I say it again, there must be a divine revelation (and when a believer obeys such commands of God the gift of faith is manifested).

Finally, I want to say that if a child of God believes that God is able to heal him and he expects to be healed of his sickness, he does not tempt God because he obeys the Word of God which commands us to trust in God with all our heart and to call upon Him in the midst of all our distresses. Therefore, if a brother who is sick refuses to send for the doctor, but he calls for the elders of the church so that they may pray over him the prayer of faith, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, as James says (James 5:14-15), he does obey what God commands him to do, and the elders of the church must pray over him in faith so that God may heal him. They must not send him to the doctors, but they must pray over him. I have said these things because I know that in many Churches some pastors, who don’t have the necessary discernment, call good evil, for in their opinion those who trust God with all their heart so that God may heal them are tempting God! This is one of the devices of the devil, who makes every effort to induce men not to trust in God. According to some pastors, if a brother is sick and close to death (that is, if the doctors say he’s done for) then he does not tempt God by trusting in God with all his heart for his healing, but as long as his sickness can be cured by the doctors he must trust in the doctors for his healing and not in God, lest he tempt God!! Unfortunately this is what happens among the Churches of God.