It would cause shivers to go through every member of the class.! Yes, it was that day again called “Oral Defense”. That fateful day when the professor would ask you to stand and begin to fire questions at you about the material that had recently been covered in class. No notes were allowed, one just had to count on his/her ability to recall the information in a second! We would not know when that day was going to come, we needed to be ready.
I think it is true that not many of us are fans of tests (unless you are weird!) be they the academic variety or the ones that God often gives us. Yes, you read that correctly, God gives us tests. He wants to know (and he wants us to know) how we are doing in the life of faith. Based on the result of that test, He will give us increased responsibility in the matters of serving Him.
There is a false notion floating among the people of God that He will not give us more than we can handle. I actually think that He does so He can know how much trust us. There is an interesting story that relates this very truth in the Old Testament. The King’s name is Hezekiah. This story is mentioned in the books of Isaiah and 2 Kings but this little detail is given in the 2 Chronicles, chapter 32, verse 31. Here is what the NIV says,
“But when the envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him (Hezekiah) to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” It was as if the King was sitting in the classroom and the professor told him to stand up and answer the questions put forward. I don’t think that Hezekiah heard God say that this was a test but he was put in a situation by the sovereign Lord of his life where it was obvious what was happening.
In Hezekiah’s case instead of humbly talking about the greatness of God and how the Lord had been so faithful to him, he showed the Babylonians everything that he had as if to say, “Look at what I have done, look at the riches that I possess!” In the midst of God blessing this man with more years to exalt His name and extend His fame, Hezekiah was all about himself.
Wow! I believe there are times in life when God puts us in situations where our integrity and our faithfulness to Him are tested. Moments when we are alone and an impure thought crosses our brain, times when it would be better for our career if we took advantage of people and situations for our benefit.
However…we would have failed the test that God gave us. We failed to answer the question correctly, we did not study as we should have. Now, we believe in God’s grace to restore us and to use again for His glory, like He did with Peter after his denial of Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God for His ability to restore us. His grace is amazing!
I have seen it happen to many people in ministry, there is a before and there is an after. There is that time when they spoke out in anger when grace was the proper response. What can we learn from Hezekiah’s experience?
- Keep daily appointments with the Lord. Keep your heart fresh with Him, let His Word was over your heart to make you clean again.
- Always remember from where you came. I was a nobody when Jesus came into my life. I was going nowhere fast without Him. Everything I now am, and everything I now have I owe totally to Jesus love and grace!
- God always gets the Glory! I remember a missionary coming to our church who said, “Never touch the glory! Make sure God gets all of it!
Are you ready for the test? It may come even today!
Pastor Bill Finch