Luke records that Jesus was led by the Spirit around in the wilderness and for forty days he did not eat and for forty days he was “being tempted by the devil.”
“9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 10 for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ 11 and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” Lk 4:9-12
The devil’s toolbox is small but his tools have a myriad of uses for evil. The temptations Jesus endured those forty days must have been many, but the three that are mentioned point to three broad areas the devil targets in a man: Tool 1 is to get a man to satisfy his natural needs; Tool 2 is to get a man to satisfy his want for material and lustful things in the world; and Tool 3 is to get the man to exalt himself and make himself an equal to God by pride. These compare nicely with Genesis 3:6 and 1 John 2:15. Look these up on your own and see for yourself the parallels there to the temptations here which Jesus went through. To this writer, it adds weight to the words of the Hebrew writer that Jesus “was tempted in all ways that we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).
The purpose of this writing is to zero in on the third temptation of putting God to the test. What was involved in the temptation? The devil tempted Jesus to test God by throwing Himself from a great height and the devil even quoted Scripture to add force to the validity of the temptation. The devil quoted Psalm 91:11 which is about the servant or minister of God who trust in the Almighty. Though it’s true that Christ trusted in God, no doubt!, the devil’s use of Scripture must ALWAYS be considered suspect and even unworthy as much as when he deceived Eve in the Garden.
Jesus bypassed the opportunity to correct the general truth that the Father would be watching over the welfare of His Son, as we saw in the deliverance from Herod’s attempt to destroy the infant Jesus, but instead accepting the premise and putting God to the test, Jesus pointed to another truth that trust or faith in God should guide our actions. Jesus trusted the Father and wasn’t about to throw Himself from the temple. He said to the devil, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test!” These words are less a reminder to not risk our lives and are more of a reminder to trust in God’s Word as it is written. Don’t listen to the devil or any messenger of the devil who will pervert Scriptures to advance their carnal goals. Such test are tantamount to not trusting in God.
We must not test God. One such test is to ask if God will save me even if I am not baptized? When Jesus said to make disciples and baptize them (Mt 28:18,19), and that those who believe and are baptized will be saved (Mk 16:15,16), then to not be baptized is to test God. Jesus said do not test God. Will God be pleased with me if I add musical instruments to my worship? When Jesus sang to the Father, and the disciples sang to the Father, and when the only music exemplified in the New Testament church is singing, then to add musical instruments is to test God. God has told us what He wants. To add something more or to take away from what God has said, without getting an answer from heaven, is to test Him. It is not a small matter that this test of adding musical instruments into the solemn and holy worship to God has proven to be extremely divisive from the time in the 7th century they were first added by the Catholics and up to our own time.
If we know the character, particularly the faithfulness and goodness of God, then we will do His will. No testing of God is advisable. I say this in love. Dan Mayfield