Life of tests and examples in Bible II
Word of God:
8 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
9 on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23: 8-10)
1.A test of sacrifice
Trials can test our sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord? Are you clinging to the possessions and thoughts of this world? Or dearest thing that you hold precious.. The Lord leads us to the point of total surrender. God tests the level of our willingness to sacrifice for Him. Abraham was tested this way:
7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8)
Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac. I am sure Abraham was sad and disturbed and confused. When Abraham was about to kill Isaac, God intervened and provided another sacrifice.
Why would God do that (ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac)? It was for Abraham. Abraham himself didn’t know how much he can give up for God until that test. Now we call Abraham is father of faith! God blessed him with many blessings.
I believe this is one of the greatest picture of Christian life. You see, Christian life is about putting God in the driver seat and putting God in charge.
2.A test of humility
Trials can test our humility. Lord humbles us by allowing us to go through seasons of trials. Lord wants to have the mind of Christ who humbled Himself to be a human and became obedient even to the death of the cross. Mosses went through times of trials as well:
12 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.2 And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. (Numbers 12:1-3)
Moses was criticized by his siblings because he got married to African women. But Bible said Moses was very meek (humble) man. It is interesting that criticism and humility are mentioned together. So here is the question:
When you are criticized, how do you respond? Do you respond with anger or humility?
3.A test of endurance
Trials can be a test of our endurance. How much are we willing to endure for the Lord? Will be give up easily from following the Lord? The life of Paul is an example of endurance
24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)
The fact is if one of those happens in your life, you will most likely to give up. Let say, you are going to Lowell to serve in the homeless shelter and you got into a car accident on the way. Or you were walking around a sketchy place and got mugged, or hurt by very people you were trying to serve.. I think you would say “This must be not the God’s will” and “This must not be what God wants at this time” You would very easily convince yourself to walk away from the things that God actually wants you to do. Look at Paul here - Paul endured hardship – that is understatement. With all the difficulties in his life, he never gave up, yet he wrote 2/3rd of new testaments in the bible and reached so many groups of people and saved so many.
So the Question would be: How much would you endure for God? Or will you give up when hard time comes?
4.A test of obedience
Trials can test our obedience to God. Are we willing to obey God on things we don’t like or wish to avoid? The Lord teaches us obedience through trials. Our Lord Jesus was the prime example of obedience.
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
You all know where this verse comes from. Within a short moment after Jesus prayed this prayer to God, He was arrested. Within a matter of hours He was crucified and died.
Jesus was obedient until his death.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
This test of obedience that Jesus went through was the true test of love for human kind, patience and endurance of his physical body, faith that God’s will be done, and the ultimate sacrifice that can deliver us from eternal hell into the eternal glory of God.
So the question is: Will you obey God? Will you listen to the godly advises and encouragements and put them to actions?
I am thankful that Jesus passed that test. Aren’t you??
Now his obedience gave us new hope, because he took our sins to the cross and died in my place. And he rose from the dead, so we may also rise from the dead when His kingdom comes.
Conclusions: We have looked at the test of various kinds. And James still encourage us to consider those joy. Because you will come out as most useful, important, beautiful, and valuable person in our heavenly father’s eye. Let me give you a story and I will end my sermon.
There was a lump of clay by the beautiful pond, undisturbed and quite place.
One day, a potter came and tried to shovel out this chunk of clay. And clay said
“Hey, don’t bother me and move me from here, leave me alone. I got a good thing going on. I am happy being next to this beautiful place..”
And the potter said “I will make something beautiful out of you, just trust me!”
And the clay said “I was happy as a clam, but whatever!!”
So, the potter took the lump of clay to his place and start to condition the clay by dashing water while pounding on the clay.
Clay shouted “ouch, ouch, ouch,, stop stomping and dashing water at me. It really hurts!!, Just leave me alone!!!”
And the potter said “I will make something beautiful out of you, just trust me!”
When the pounding and water dashing was over, clay thought that the worst of over. But he looked at himself and said, “hey, I am still a lump of clay, I am not beautiful!! You liar!!”
Then, the potter put this lump of clay on the spinning spindle. And start spinning the clay.
Clay said “wow, wow, wow, stop spinning me, I am dizzy”
The potter start to dash more water and start forming the shape out of clay.
Clay said “What?? More water dashing?? And now you are pushing me into something I don’t want to be. And stop spinning me!!”
This went on for a while.. Finally the spinning and pushing and water dashing was done. And potter place the clay on a table.
Clay looked at itself, “hey, not bad. I look pretty good, I am a beautiful rice bowl!!”.
The potter said, “You are no longer lump of clay, and you going to be my favorite rice bowl”
Clay thought that this crazy endeavor was done and over.
Clay thanked the potter.
After a while later, the potter brought a knife and a chisel to start cutting on the face of the rice bowl. “You crazy Psycho man, stop cutting me on my face!! It hurts so much!!”
Soon clay-the-rice-bowl realized “hey, not bad, I look pretty good. Look at me with this intricate design on my face!!” Clay-the-rice-bowl thanked the potter and said “Ok, potter, I am done right?”. The potter said “I will make something beautiful out of you, Trust me”
Then potter place clay-the-rice-bowl in a smelly and thick liquid solution, which is varnish.
The clay said, “I am suffocating, I cannot breath.. Let me out please.. it smells like a toxic waste” The potter put clay-the-rice-bowl out of the liquid solution. But clay-the-rice-bowl was not happy, drenched with soupy solution, thinking and hoping that this must be it.
Then the potter place clay-the-rice-bowl in a fiery furnace.
The clay thought “It is sooooo HOT!! Let me out!!!.” And thinking that “that’s it, I am going to die here.. I wish I was still at the pond being a lump of clay..”, and said “Hey potter, just kill me now!!”
And the potter said, “Just hold on a bit, I will make you something beautiful out of you”
A little later, Potter pulled clay-the-rice-bowl out of the furnace.
Then he would place him in a fiery furnace again. This went on a several times. Each time he goes in, the fire was hotter and hotter. And each time, clay the rice bowl complained.
But clay-the-rice-bowl could tell that he was changing.
His exterior became hard and started to have the most unique and beautiful color.
One morning, the potter took clay-the-rice-bowl out of the furnace and washed him carefully and inspected him carefully.
And the potter hold him up and told clay-the-rice-bowl, “You are the most beautiful rice bowl that I have created and I will use you in every meal with my collections of other beautiful bowls and dishes. And you will hold the most wonderful food for me and my guests”
We are the clay. God is the potter. I don’t know where you are in your walk with God. God might be spinning you right now that you are so dizzy, or God might be cutting you to bleed, Or God might have placed you in a fiery furnace. I don’t know..
But I do know that God is trying to make something beautiful out of you.
And we just need to trust his promise.