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Bible verses about Tempting God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 23:19   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The scriptures are clear with regard to clean and unclean meats, but does this verse actually say that meat and milk should not be eaten together? No, it does not. Then what does it say? It says that God's people should not seethe a kid in its mother's milk. "Seethe" is an old English word for "boil" or "stew."

Why would anyone ever consider cooking a young goat in its mother's milk? Why did God bring this to the Israelites' attention? Why would they even think of doing such a thing? Even if they did, what would be wrong with it?

According to various Bible commentaries, the pagans of that era and of that area had a fertility rite, which involved boiling a kid in its mother's milk and sprinkling the broth as a magic charm on their gardens and fields. They did this in the hope of increasing the yield of their crops. Here is what The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge says about Exodus 23:19:

The true sense of this passage seems to be that assigned by Dr. Cudworth, from a MS. comment of a Karaïte Jew. "It was a custom with the ancient heathens, when they had gathered in all their fruits, to take a kid, and boil it in the dam's milk; and then in a magical way, to go about and sprinkle all their trees, and fields, and gardens, and orchards with it, thinking by these means, that they should make them fruitful, and bring forth more abundantly in the following year. Wherefore, God forbad his people, at the time of their in-gathering, to use any such superstitious or idolatrous rite.

God was warning His people against following this heathen custom. It actually had nothing to do with the dietary laws.

If we were so inclined, would it be permissible for us to boil a kid in its mother's milk? It is not likely that we would want to, but if we did, we would be "tempting" God (Deuteronomy 6:16; Malachi 3:15) and breaking one of His laws, one that is just as binding today as those regarding the holy days and tithing.

Finally, is it permissible to eat meat and milk products together? Yes, of course! In fact, God has always allowed it. Our Elder Brother—our example in righteousness—Jesus Christ, mixed the two in a meal prepared for Him by Abraham and Sarah, hundreds of years before Moses:

Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. . . . So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate. (Genesis 18:1, 8)

Is it likely that Jesus Christ would have broken one of His own laws in the presence of His human servants?

Staff
Milk and Meat


 

Numbers 12:5-9   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

They were very severely rebuked for challenging the authority or the office of Moses because they were tempting God by doing it. They were in effect saying, "God can't control Moses. He's off doing his own thing." They were really calling God into account for what Moses was doing, which they thought was wrong. Nevertheless, Moses was still the one that God was working through.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 2): God's Pattern of Leadership


 

Matthew 16:1-4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Who asked for a sign? Who asked for a miracle? Those whose hearts were farthest from Him, the unbelieving, the hecklers, the critics. These people cared nothing for the real Jesus, so they occasionally became the objects of His scathing denunciations. He calls them "hypocrites" for asking for a sign.

Those who ask for signs or seek miracles, who put out the fleece like Gideon did (showing a glaring lack of faith), are actually casting insults on the Word of God. They are calling it into question. They are profaning His name, calling Him a liar because, if He says He will do something, and it is impossible for Him to lie, He will do it!

This can be very sobering. It brings to mind an advertisement that used to appear on television every once in awhile featuring a stern-looking woman dressed in a gown, who said, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!" and then thunder pealed! God, surely, takes our immaturity into account, but it is not nice to call Him into question. That is tempting Him. If He says He will do something, He will do it, according to His will. Therefore, calling for a miracle often characterizes carnality, not spirituality.

The next question, then, has to be, "Will not God work a miracle in answer to a prayer?" He makes a great many promises, such as healing, which is indeed a miracle. Will He perform a miracle for us? Yes, He will. But if we search His Word, we find more than a dozen qualifications for answered prayer, not just a couple. Some of them are of major importance, some of lesser importance, and He does not require that every qualification be met perfectly. Even so, divine healing in response to answered prayer is not automatic.

Whether or not God grants our request seems to boil down to three broad areas—four, actually, but three of them fall on us. One is the way we are living. A second is the understanding involved in the request. The third is the attitude in which the request is made. When those three are combined with God's will, the answer becomes clear: He will do it. However, He will do it in His time and in a way that will give credence to His Word, to His truth, to His purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is God a Magician?


 

Mark 16:17-18   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Of the gospel writers, Mark is the only one to record this account. These verses are similar to both Matthew's and Luke's versions of Christ's commission to the apostles (Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:36-49). However, only Mark includes the "signs [that] will follow those who believe." Are they commands for the followers of Christ or promises? In particular, does Jesus say Christians should handle snakes, or does He promise to protect them if they are bitten?

Many in the church believe, and it may well be, that Christ was speaking only to those God has called to preach the gospel. After all, in verse 15, He had said to the eleven remaining disciples, "Go into all the world." Combine this with the fact that we can see examples of the apostles fulfilling these signs in the New Testament and a case can be made for this view.

A snake bit the apostle Paul while he was on the island of Malta, and no harm came to him (Acts 28:1-6). However, he did not go looking for the snake in an effort to prove his faith. The snake bit him unexpectedly, in front of others, and God protected him as promised.

Luke writes that "the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name" (Luke 10:17). He also records in Acts 5:12, ". . . through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people." It is quite possible that this section of Mark applies to the apostles and perhaps is further limited to their lifetimes, that is, the first century. A slight problem with this conclusion is that Mark 16:17 says, ". . . these signs will follow those who believe." It would appear that these verses apply to all believers, all Christians, regardless of when they live.

In Matthew 4, Satan tempts Christ in various ways. At one point, he tries to get Jesus to throw Himself off the roof of the Temple, saying, "For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge concerning you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone'" (verse 6). Here Satan twists Psalm 91:11-12, which says, "For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone." God is promising protection to His people here, telling us that He will place His angels about us. He is not telling us to attempt to hurt ourselves in a deliberate effort to see if He will come through for us.

Interestingly, the next verse tells us that we will "tread upon the lion and the cobra" and that we will "trample underfoot" the "young lion and the serpent" (verse 13). Again, within the context of Psalm 91, God is promising His protection.

When Satan attempts to persuade Christ to jump off a building to prove that He truly is the Son of God, He answers the Devil, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God'" (Matthew 4:7). Certainly, Jesus knew that God's angels were all about Him, but He also knew not to test God deliberately. Christ was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16, where hundreds of years earlier, He Himself had said this very same thing to the Israelites.

In Deuteronomy 5, through Moses, He had rehearsed to the children of Israel the Ten Commandments. Then, in chapter 6, He told them to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might" (verse 5). He further told them to teach God's ways to their children, fear Him, stay away from other gods, and do "not tempt the LORD your God" (verses 7, 13-14, 16). As Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 show, God's blessings would flow to them if they were obedient—blessings that include the promise of protection.

In Luke 10:17, the seventy that Christ had sent out returned with great joy, amazed that even the demons had been subject to them. Jesus responds:

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (verses 19-20)

Protection is promised here, not a command to flaunt their God-given authority. He specifically instructs them "not [to] rejoice in this" because it was not of their doing, not a show of faith. It was God's protection pure and simple.

The prophet Isaiah pens words of God similar to these in Isaiah 43:1-3, 5:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; . . . you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. . . . Fear not, for I am with you.

Throughout His Word, God has promised us His protection. He is especially watchful over those He has commissioned to carry out His work, as well as all those whom He has called to make a witness for Him. The Bible is full of examples of His power to deliver His servants from life-threatening situations.

However, He does not guarantee to cover our foolishness when we put ourselves into potentially dangerous situations. He abhors being tempted—tested—as if He needs to prove Himself and His power to us. Psalm 78 shows His distaste for the Israelites' constant testing of Him in the wilderness. The last thing He desires is for members of His church to follow their example of unbelief (see Hebrews 3:7 through 4:2).

Mike Ford
Should Christians Handle Snakes?


 

Luke 4:9-13   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The theme here is protection. Satan quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, which has the same theme. He is quoting back to Jesus the very words that He had inspired, but he does it without quoting the entirety of the two verses. He leaves out one phrase: "in all your ways." Jesus immediately replies, showing him that he had misapplied it: God does not guarantee He will protect us "in all our ways."

Will Jesus protect us in our rebellion? Will He protect us if we are downright foolish? God certainly expects us to do things involving faith in Him, which the unconverted may consider to be foolish or dangerous. But willfully exposing ourselves to any danger, presuming that God is going to protect us, is tempting Him. Man has no right to dictate to God what He should do.

It is as if Satan is saying to Jesus: "Since you are God's Son, certainly He will protect You from whatever danger You may get into. His angels will always be there to help You. You cannot be hurt. Deliverance will always be there. You can trust Him." It sounds good, but it is built upon a presumption.

Some ministers, when they are counseling people on a trial, say, "You just do what I told you, and everything will work out." The implication is that, even if the minister's counsel is wrong, God will smooth it over and make it work simply because he is God's minister and they are God's people. From this temptation of Jesus, we can see that He does not believe that. We cannot tempt God and expect His promises to force Him to rescue us. God may, in His mercy, rescue us because of our ignorance, but that is not the spiritually mature way to think.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)


 

1 Corinthians 10:6-11   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The apostle lists five major sins of the Israelite people here. In essence, though, there was really only one major sin, but the others led to this major sin, which was idolatry. The other sins they committed were just a step that took them into it.

These verses list lust, idolatry, fornication, tempting God, and murmuring. But the Corinthian church had another problem that Paul does not list here. It is something that we have to read between the lines to see. But once we begin to see it, it begins to become very clear. Their problem was a careless presumption that had its roots in pride. They were elevating themselves above their brethren, and their careless presumption that they were all right with God led them to treat their fellow man in a way that they ought not to have done. He is implying that behind this whole circumstance is idolatry. They themselves were the gods they were worshipping.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

1 Corinthians 10:9   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Tempt Christ means "to put to the test; to prove out; to try or to test God's patience." When a person does this, he is trading on God's mercy. Whether consciously or unconsciously, this idea is at the back of our minds: "It's all right. God knows I'm weak. He'll forgive. He understands." Well, we are weak, and God does understand and forgive. But how can we know when we have pushed Him too far? We do not—until we get hit with a ton of bricks!

Tempting God is testing His patience until, from a human point of view, He blows up. Any parent has experienced this on a human level. Kids nag, nag, nag, saying, "Mommy do this. Mommy do that. Mommy you promised. Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" And on and on it goes until, finally, the parent has had it and the wrath of Mom or Dad falls upon the little pest! The parent been tempted to blow his stack. That is what Paul is describing—pushing God to the wall until He can no longer hold back His wrath.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

1 Corinthians 10:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Paul is saying, as we approach Passover, we should not take a leisurely approach to our contemplation of sin, thinking that, "Well, I will be safe if I allow myself to go this far and no further." A person who does this is really in danger. Such person thinks he stands, yet he is in position to tempt God. The only safe course is to have nothing to do with sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

 




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