“…The word of the Lord tested him.”
This psalm recounts the faithfulness of God during the days of the patriarchs. After mentioning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Psalmist reminds us of the struggles Joseph faced after being sold into slavery by his own brothers. We know he experienced betrayal, beating, false accusations and imprisonment. Each trial he faced was a means by which the Word of God put him to the test.
We face similar experiences that put us to the test. When we face heartache, confusion, difficulty or disappointment, we are essentially being put to the test by the promises of God. We are left to decide if we will trust in the scattered array of emotions we face, or in the ever changing experiences of life, or in the unchanging promises of God. Down through the ages, saints have faced extremely difficult experiences. Some have allowed these to undo their faith and even sideline them from their Master’s service. Others have chosen to cling to the promises of God, allowing them to provide comfort and direction, as they continue following Christ. There is little question that we will face trials in life. It is important that we realize, the promises of God can stand the test of trials. God will be faithful to His word, and His promises will carry you through till the end.
“Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you”
Not everyone who speaks is telling the truth. A salesman may tell you what he thinks you want to hear, rather that what is factual. A friend may tell you what they think is kind, so as not to hurt your feelings or damage the relationship. This principle is important to grasp, especially as it relates to those who claim to have the answer to spiritual questions. Just because a person showed up in Judah wearing a white robe, carrying a staff and speaking loudly, did not mean he was a prophet. In the same way, just because a person has an opinion about eternal life, godliness or spirituality, does not mean their opinion is valid. The litmus test used in Scripture to determine if a person was truly a prophet was the Word of God. Paul wrote,
1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
During my years as a high school teacher I wrote, administered, and graded a lot of tests. One common form of testing was to use a “scan-tron.” Before grading the test I would make an answer key, all other tests would be compared to this one. It was the standard by which all answers were compared. When it comes to determining the validity of someone’s claims about Christ, life, death, eternity, godliness, sin tolerance, righteousness, etc. we need to use the Word of God as the answer key. It is not what I think that is the highest standard, but rather what God has revealed in the pages of His Word.