You'll recognize this portion of scripture as the judgment God gives regarding the result of Israel spying out the promised land. God decrees, from Numbers 14:21-23; " But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, none of the men who have seen my glory and signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give their Fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it."
There is danger in seeing the glory of the Lord and His signs yet refusing to allow them to shape your revelation of God. “Put me to the test” means we demand to see God work before we trust Him; always doubting and questioning Him and His word. As NT believers, from Luke 4, we learn; “ It is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to test”
We get a better understanding of what that looks like when we see how Satan tempted Jesus. He took him onto the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and said “if you are the son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest youstrike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered, “ It is written you shall not put the Lord your God to test.
Psalm 18:30; 119:140 and Proverbs 30:5 all declare God’s word has been tested and proved. Every word is flawless one translation reads.
In this temptation, Jesus is pushed to doubt His place and the Fathers care. Sin would have moved Him to a place of self preservation, in other words, to do something God had not instructed Him to do from a place of insecurity and fear. It is the same temptation we face when we meet circumstances beyond our control. Is His word strong enough to sustain us through these circumstances? Our answer must be an unshakeable and resounding YES!
I’m sure we all have, in different times and seasons, been guilty of putting God to the test. First Corinthians 10:6tells us that Old Testament events have been written not to condemn us and leave us hopeless but rather as “examples for us” that we might not desire evil like they did. If we hear His voice, we don’t harden our hearts and refuse to believe what God is saying. Our admonition is Hebrews 3:12 ~
“Take care brothers, let there be in any of you an evil unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day as long as it is called “today” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (note: Satan tried to reason with Jesus using the word of God. It’s always good to know your motivators as you rightly discern the will of God).
Just remember - there were those who did see God’s glory and His signs and believed His word. They obeyed Him and entered the promised land. Numbers 14:24 "But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring him into the land...."
There is hope for us in this one word ~ Today. Today, we can refuse to test Him, choosing to allow His glory and His signs declare His goodness and faithfulness to us. Today we can choose to believe and simply obey.