By Elizabeth Marks
"Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying 'Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!'" (Isaiah 7:10-12)
Have you ever wanted a sign from the Lord just to make certain it was the Lord guiding you? I think this is perfectly natural, don't you? We tend to want to deal only with the things we can see, hear, touch, feel, smell, etc.
In the above verse from Isaiah, we see Ahaz is doubly blessed by the Lord. First the Lord spoke to Ahaz. That in it self is a wonderful blessing. We can see from Ahaz's response that he actually heard the Lord. Second, the Lord says, "Ask for a sign," as if to let Ahaz know He will accommodate whatever was necessary for Ahaz to know for certain the Lord was on his side. But sadly, Ahaz responded, "I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!"
Let me ask you this, if the Lord tells you to ask for a sign, isn't that like giving permission? If the Lord says it's okay, then isn't it okay? Why then would Ahaz say no? Unfortunately, for Ahaz, he was harboring pride in his life that made him unable to receive the blessings God offered. You can read more on Ahaz in 2 Chronicles 28:16-27.
This idea of "testing the Lord" isn't anything new. We see several examples in the Bible about it. Let's look at a few.
The first one that comes to mind is the story of Gideon. He was called by God to defeat the Midianites, but Gideon wanted to know for sure it was really God calling him to do this, so he asked for a sign. Actually, he asked for two signs. Judges 6:39: "Then Gideon said to God, 'Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.'"
God honored Gideon's requests and gave him the signs and proceeded to be with Gideon to overcome and defeat the enemy.
The second example is Matthew 14:28-30: "And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!'"
This one is not so much a sign, as it is a confirmation. Peter wanted confirmation from Jesus that it was really Him. Notice he asks for the impossible (let me walk on water to you), knowing that only Jesus can cause the impossible to be possible. Also notice that Jesus honors the request and Peter gets to walk on water!
The third example is found in Malachi 3:10. The Lord says: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.'"
God is telling the people that if they will obey His instructions He will take care of them. God even instructs them to "try him" on this one. Why would God say "try me" if He didn't mean it?
Oh, by the way, God never says anything He doesn't mean.
So what do you think? We've looked at four different examples of "testing or trying" the Lord. In each case, the Lord was open to being tested by man and He honored each one, except in Ahaz's case because of his own stubborn refusal to listen to the Lord.
Is the Lord leading you? Do you need a sign of confirmation? Don't be afraid. Ask and you shall receive, for this is what Matthew 7:7-8 says: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Lord, thank you for dealing so tenderly with us. Thank you for helping us to trust more fully in you. Thank you for allowing us to test you when necessary. Thank you for your Word. In Jesus' name Amen.
All Scripture taken from the NKJV
ELIZABETH MARKS, Author of ThinkOnIt Devotions, has a heart for encouraging believers with God's Word. Please visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com for her devotions, Bible studies, book reviews and more.