“… Until the word of the Lord tried and tested him.” Psalm 105:19
No man receives God’s approval until he has been tried and tested by the word and the instruction of the Lord.
Excuse me, if you have not paid attention to any of the lessons, please pay attention at this point.
God will test your obedience.
One of the things that are so marvellous to consider in the scripture is the fact that God just likes to test people’s obedience. This He does to reveal the state of Man’s heart. He wants to expose the hidden intents of our hearts. He will give you His word and then give you time to prove it.
God tested and proved Abraham several times.
“By faith Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. And he who had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son,” Hebrew 11:17.
Jesus Christ also was not spared.
“THEN JESUS was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil.” Mathew 4:1.
It is clear from the scriptures that before God approves any man or use him greatly, He puts such a man through several and rigorous testing. And most times the person being tested does not know he is going through a test. The test of obedience comes along, and entwines with normal life’s encounters.
He can use different ways to test your obedience. It was just the delay of Samuel’s coming that God first used to test Saul’s obedience. Little did Saul realise that Samuel’s delay was a test of his obedience and approval for an enduring kingship and reign over Israel.
“And just as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came! Saul went out to meet and greet him.
Samuel said, What have you done? Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines were assembled at Michmash, I thought, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord. So I forced myself to offer a burnt offering.
And Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly! You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God which He commanded you; for the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever; But now your kingdom shall not continue; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince and ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:10-14
Another opportunity was presented Saul to prove his obedience to God but he blew it again. With benefit of hindsight from Saul’s confession “…because I feared the people and obeyed their voice”1 Samuel 15:24, I came to understand that it was possible that the people just gathered, sat him down, and advised Saul saying:
“See this commandment the Lord gave you is too harsh and hard. How can you see beautiful and good things like these and want to destroy them. Spare them! Spare them!! As a matter of fact, part of them we will use in sacrificing to the Lord”
But unknown to Saul, even all the things the men were saying was a test of his obedience. It is as if to say, look if you truly determine to serve God, when you face a little opposition, would you still stand or melt?
I want to say it again; your own obedience will be tested. Then it will be revealed what kind of person you really are. Whether you truly want to do the Lord’s will or a little discouragement and slight opposition will make you agree with what is in your heart.
Dear friend, the test of your obedience will reveal who you really are at heart.
I will conclude this chapter with a song and prayer I learnt some years back. I sing it each time I perceive my heart is getting sick and cold towards God.
Keep my heart, steadfast before you Lord
Eager to hear your voice, and follow
Keep my heart, yearning to know you more
Able to hear your word, and obey
Keep my heart, following in your direction Lord
Keep my heart, Holy and light
So innocent and undefiled
King of Love, Lord most high
So beautiful and bright
Morning star, Keep my heart!