Ezekiel 21:13 A Coming Test

Boy testing

Testing will surely come. And what if even the scepter, which the sword despises, does not continue? declares the Sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 21:13 

When a person is in school, he knows that there will always come a time of testing. It does not matter what age or what level of schooling, testing will always be a part of the schooling.

The purpose of testing is to find out where a person stands in what he was supposed to have learned. It is a process of asking whether the student has learned anything or not. If the person fails the test, he must retake the class to work on actually learning the information. If he passes the test, he is able to move on to the next level.

God told the people that there was coming a time of testing. It was a time to test their hearts to find out if they are really following Him or not. Everything was showing that they were following idols and that they were failing the testing and would be judged accordingly.

Very few people like to be tested. When people hear that a test is on the schedule, they begin to get worried and filled with high anxiety. They question whether they are ready or not. Many start to cram for information to pass it.

Just as God tested the Israelites, He will test people today. He will test whether the person is following Him or not.

It is easy to say that one believes in Jesus and God, but it is another thing to actually follow and obey God in everything as one believes in Him.

The only way a person can know if he is truly following God is by testing. God has to reveal what is in the heart to know the level of commitment to Him.

Throughout your life God will allow times of testing to help reveal where you stand with Him. These are to allow you to know if you are passing the test of being willing to obey and follow Him with all of your life.

Every time you read the bible or hear a sermon, you are being presented with something to build you more like Jesus. Ask yourself if you are learning and passing or are you failing to learn and failing.

If you fail to learn, you will begin to fall back and may be rejected. Strive to learn to obey and follow God with all your heart. Be like Jesus, not this world.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will obey God with all of your life; that you will learn what God is teaching you; and that you will pass the tests God places on you. 

Isaiah 48:10 The Refining Process

Blacksmith fire

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 

Refining something is working to make something better. It is a process of getting out everything impure and worthless to increase the value of something. This can be a slow and tedious process, that is repeated over and over, again and again, until the refining is complete.

Most people do not have what it takes to completely refine something to near perfection. They get satisfied with a few impurities, because it is too much work to purify it any more. They give up too early in the process and accept imperfection as good enough.

In this passage God tells the Israelites that He had refined them. He put them through a furnace of affliction to make them better, to refine them.

Affliction is rarely seen as something good or worthwhile. It is often seen as trouble and worthless. God sees it of high value. The purpose of affliction or trouble is to refine a person.

The refining in people is making them more like Jesus. It is the process of drawing them closer to God, to lean on and focus upon God more and more.

When things start going bad and there is great affliction, most people start to complain and get angry with God. It is hot and painful, with a severe burning. They do not want to go through it. They see absolutely no good or purpose in it.

The one who truly believes in God and is following Him with all of his heart will turn to God during the affliction. This turning to God is not to complain or get angry, but to seek His will in the situation. It is to learn from God in becoming more like Jesus.

Just as God worked in the lives of the Israelites to refine them, God will work in your life to refine you. He wants only the best for you and in you. He expects only the best from you and will strive to get it.

There will be times when God will put you in the furnace to burn out imperfections and sin. These can be imperfections of actions, thoughts, desires or words. Anything that goes against God in any way is an imperfection or sin, including not obeying what He tells you to do.

As you go through the furnace, learn from God and allow Him to change you. Become the image of Jesus to this world.

I pray today that you will know the salvation of Jesus; that you will seek God’s will while in a furnace; that God will give you His peace during times of affliction; and that you will grow to be more like Jesus every day.

Job 23:3 Sometimes God Is Silent

Guy at sunset

If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! Job 23:3 

Finding someone who does not want to be found can often be very difficult. It is easy for a person to hide in this world. This is even with the high technology of tracing someone through cell phones or credit cards. If one really wants to hide, it is possible.

There are times when some people want to just be alone. They go into hiding in various ways. Often stopping the normal things that they do. Other times they move to a new location to bring on anonymity.

Job had the problem of trying to find God in everything that was occurring in his life. Everywhere he searched, he was unable to find God. He wanted to talk with God about what has happening. Yet, during all of this God was silent and staying hidden, out of sight.

God is outside man’s physical realm of seeing, touching or hearing. With this being the case, if He does not want to be found, no one will be able to find Him.

There are times when God is silent. He chooses not to speak or reveal Himself openly. This usually occurs during a time of testing. He is testing someone to see how faithful he is to Him and how much he trusts Him.

As a believer is going through a harsh testing, God is standing back and watching what will happen. Too often, a person gives up on God, because he does not understand what is happening and loses faith in God. He no longer fully trusts God.

If a person holds on to what he knows about God, he will realize that God is faithful and will always be there, even when not seen or felt. God will not and cannot go back on His promises.

Just as Job held on to his faith in God, you must also hold on to your faith in God when going through a difficult time. God may be silent, but that is when He has His eyes on you and is proving how you will react to your situation.

Do not give up your faith in Him, but know that despite how it looks or feels, God is right there by your side. He will never leave or forsake you, though He may be silent for a time. Keep searching for Him and He will be found in the right time.

I pray today that you will have a personal relationship with God; that you will know His promises to you; that you will trust God in every situation; and that you will hear God’s voice every day.

Job 18:21 A Bad Implication

Shipwreck

Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who does not know God. Job 18:21 

Generalizations of people happen on a regular basis. Because someone is something specific, other rules ‘must’ apply to him also. This is where racial prejudice usually comes in. Because a person is of a certain color, then he must be like something bad or especially good.

People are often categorized according to one or two things in their lives, rather than looking at their entire life. It is easy to judge someone with just a little bit of evidence, but that does not mean that the judgement is correct and accurate.

Bildad chooses to talk about how the life of a wicked man is. In this chapter he describes one who is abandoned by God and people and loses everything. It is a picture of total hopelessness and destruction. Job was going through total loss and destruction, but it was not eternal. It was not because of his sins. It was God testing and proving him.

It is true that in the end the wicked man will be completely abandoned by God and destroyed. He will lose everything in the end. However, that ‘end’ is when Jesus returns to judge the earth. That loss is when he is finally cast into hell with the devil and all others who have rejected Jesus.

While a person is still alive on this earth living in sin does not mean he will automatically prosper or not prosper. There are people who reject Jesus today that are living very well, by earth standards. They are not being rejected and have everything going for them, at least it appears that they have it going for them.

However, when Jesus returns, if they have not chosen to follow Jesus, they will lose it all. They will be rejected and destroyed in eternal punishment.

Believers today may be tested and proven by God, but that does not mean God has abandoned them.

You may be going through a time of testing and proving. Stand strong and true in your belief in God. Do not waiver or give up. In the end you will not lose everything, but will gain everything.

When Jesus returns and finds you faithful, despite the struggles on this earth, He will invite you into heaven for eternal life. Be careful how you judge what others are going through and what you are going through.

I pray today that God will reveal His presence to you; that you will see God’s hand in all you are going through; that you will know God’s peace in the midst of any trials; and that you will be proven faithful to God.