THE WORDS OF JESUS
Creative, Causative, Prophetic, Instructional
“Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
This is a continuing series on “THE WORDS OF JESUS – What Am I To Do With Them?” We have discussed and discovered that the Word of Jesus is the Word of God. (“Jesus and the Father are One”) . I have extracted the words of Jesus from scriptures in an effort to evaluate, study, discuss and understand
- What Jesus really said,
- What Jesus meant by what He said,
- What is the nature of what Jesus has said,
- What He said and what it means to me,
- How I should respond to what He said,
- What I should do with what He said,
- If what He said is literal and if it is really true.
We began this study with the questions, “Do you read the Bible? If so, how do you read and understand the Bible?”
What I am asking is, do you read the Bible as ‘stories’ about people, places and ‘about God’? Do you read the Bible for prophecies? For promises? For power?
Do you read the Bible to learn? And if you read to learn, what have you learned? And most importantly, what do you DO with what you learn?
We have looked at several examples of what the Bible says about The Word of God, and finally, we are asking, “What if the Word of God is true? I mean, what if His Words are literally true in ways we fail to recognize?”
People who personally encountered Jesus testified and reported on the Works He did, and this caused throngs to follow Him, stirred great controversies, created deadly conflicts and gave untold millions a greater hope for a new, vibrant, changed life, full of promise now and eternal hope of a home in heaven with God. The Words Jesus spoke, and the Works Jesus did, changed the world.
I ask again, ‘What if we have been reading and misunderstanding what Jesus meant by and the intentions of His Words? What if we have been misapplying what He taught? (Jesus was always concerned about His disciple’s lack of understanding and ‘lack of faith’.) In Part 2, we considered Jesus’ meaning of ”Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”, and that we need both physical food and spiritual food, ’every word that comes from the mouth of God’, in order to survive and to thrive, both now in this world and in the age to come.
“Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
These words of Jesus, are also found from Deuteronomy 6:16, when God cautioned the Israelites, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah”. Massah is a reference to the place where circumstances gave the Israelites cause for complaining to Moses, and to doubt whether God was present in their need (testing God); and, it was a sign of unbelief and of challenging the ability, dependability, the provision and sovereignty of God.
The consequences of putting the Lord God to the test can be severe. In this case, God was merciful. But in a similar and subsequent event years later, Moses and Aaron were denied entrance into the Promised Land because of their disobedience to God at Kadesh Barnea. God had instructed Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water for the grumbling Israelites, but he disobeyed by striking the rock twice (Numbers 20:12). Because the Israelites had failed to believe and obey the Lord, their arrival into the land “flowing with milk and honey” was postponed until Joshua led the younger generation out of the wilderness by the command of the Lord.
There are volumes being said in this short, terse statement by Jesus, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’”.
“ON ONE SIDE OF THIS COIN”
- Do not challenge the Lord your God, for it is a sign of a rebellious and ungrateful heart.
- Do not question the sovereignty of the Lord your God, for it is a sign of pride and arrogance.
- Do not doubt the Lord your God, for it is a sign of unbelief.
The Psalmist warns, Do not be a “stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
“The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle.
“They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law.
They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. In the sight of their fathers, he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan”. (Psalm 78:8-12)
“He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light.
“He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
“Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
“He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed.
Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?”
“Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power.
“Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind; he rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings. And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.
“But before they had satisfied their craving, while the food was still in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and he killed the strongest of them and laid low the young men of Israel.
“In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror.” (Psalms 78:13-33)
Again, James instructs and warns, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8
“ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN”
These few words spoken by Jesus are prophetic and instructional. They have been spoken to you, and are meant to be active and will come alive, through you!
Jesus’ words are causative and creative. “They shall accomplish the very thing which He purposes, and they shall succeed in the things for which He sent them”. (Isaiah 55:11).
When beset with trials and temptations, when faced with lack, need or want, speak the Word of God and repel the devil, negate his attacks and temptations. Be steadfast and completely dependent on God, in faith. He will not fail you. He will deliver you!
- This is what Jesus really said,
- This is what Jesus meant by what He said,
- This is the nature of what Jesus has said,
- This is what He is saying and what it means to you and me,
- This is how you should respond to what He said,
- This is what you should do with what He said,
- What He has said is literally true. Depend on it!
Your Brother and Friend,
This is the promise to all of God’s children – First to the Jew, then to the Gentile. This is THE WORD OF GOD for you:
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.
If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:1-6