By Vicki Johanson
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, demonstrations exist concerning people receiving a word from God and then going through times of testing. One remarkable example of this is found in the beginning ministry of Jesus, himself.
When examining the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, we see a pattern emerge. At the moment of Jesus’ baptism, the Bible says that a voice out of heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) Immediately afterwards, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness, where He fasted and was tempted for forty days.
We can gain great insight into Jesus’ testing when we examine the Biblical reference He used to combat Satan in the first temptation. Satan tormented Jesus by trying to convince Him to change the stones into bread. Jesus quoted a scripture found in Deuteronomy 8:3b which says; “Man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” If we read the entire context of the scripture that Jesus used in Deuteronomy 8:3b, a tremendous revelation begins to surface. Deuteronomy 8:1-3 begins by saying, “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. 2) And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3) So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna .., that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” The children of Israel had numerous, awesome miracles take place when God took them out of Egypt. They experienced God’s greatness in the ten plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea, as well as many other undeniable contacts with the God of Israel.
Immediately afterwards, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. In Deuteronomy 8, God tells them why it was necessary to suffer for those forty years. However, not only did they suffer, but God took care of them too. He fed them with manna and quail. He miraculously provided water, and none of their clothes wore out. Deuteronomy 8:15-18 says, “Do not forget that He led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He gave you water from the Rock! 16) He fed you in the wilderness with manna .., that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end. 17) He did this so you would never think that it was your own strength and energy that made you wealthy. Then you would say in your heart, my power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth. Always remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you power to get wealth; that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is to this day.”
God gives us revelations and promises as we serve Him. However, along with those promises, he gives us times of testing. These come first because God wants to know what is in our hearts. However, they also come so that we can know Him better. We learn to trust Him, rely on Him for everything, as we truly seek His face. God wants relationships with his children most of all. He loves us, and He wants us to love Him back. Psalms 119:49-50 says, “Remember the word to Your servant, upon which you have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has given me life.” His words to us give us hope and life. They give us something to hold onto through the trials, but those trials are just as important in building our relationship with Him.
Vicki Johanson serves as the Study Network Director for Global University. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.