Friday, August 01, 2014

Spiritual tests

test tubes - a chemical test
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 17:1-15

"You have tested my heart…" - Psalm 17:3

We're not told exactly what kind of a test David was facing here, but he is definitely in some kind of a dilemma. The beginning of his prayer ("Hear a just cause, O Lord…") sounds a little bit like the preamble of a lawyer setting out to convince God of the rightness of his case.

He asks God to vindicate him (Psalm 17:2). [Vindicate: to clear of accusation, censure, suspicion, to support, justify set free, rescue.] He needs protection (Psalm 17:8). His foe is cunning and sneaky as a hunting lion, and he needs a stronger warrior, more skilled than he is, to fight for him (Psalm 17:11-13). He recognizes that this experience is a spiritual test: "You have tested my heart…" (Psalm 17:3).

Spiritual tests can come in many ways. Sometimes God tests us:
  • By asking for a great sacrifice. He tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1,2).
  • By leading in a difficult way. Moses reminded the Israelites that their wilderness journey was a test (Deuteronomy 8:2).
  • By giving choices. Solomon's dream, where God asked him "'What shall I give you?'" was a test (1 Kings 3:5).
  • By proposing hard tasks. "'Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?'" Jesus asked Philip. "But this He said to test him" (John 6:5-6).
  • By permitting temptation—for it is a test of faith that, if passed, produces good results (James 1:2).

Have I, have you considered that the difficult circumstances we're facing right now, or the sacrifices we're being asked to make, or the choices we're contemplating, or the hard tasks ahead of us, or the temptations all around us might be spiritual tests? As we recognize what's going on, we can rally our defenses. First and most important we can call on God for His presence, protection, and help, like David did here.

Dear God "Uphold my steps…. hear me, O God … Show Your marvelous lovingkindness … Keep me … Hide me… Arise O Lord" (Psalm 17:5-8,13). Help me to pass this spiritual test. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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