Thursday, February 12, 2009

Testing by Blessing

"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.  And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily"

We naturally assume that all unexpected blessings are heavenly rewards. They are alms from Above, an acknowledgement of God's approval, a kind of inaudible heavenly applause in response to our amiable actions. The nod of God upon the works of man.

But we many times miscalculate God's economy of mercies. What we often perceive as trophies, God sometimes presents as tests. So it was in our text. "I will rain bread from heaven for you...that I may test them." They thought this paradisiacal pastry was to satisfy their stomachs...God planned it as a pop-quiz for their souls. This manna was far more than a meal. This was testing by blessing.

Here was a daily test: "...the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day." They should not gather too little, which would be an affront to the abundant supply from the Almighty! Nor should they gather too much, a display of disbelief in the powerful promise of the Omnipotent to give them each day their due. Neither shortage nor surplus should be sought. And what about you, O my soul? Hath not thy heavenly Father bestowed some unexpected blessing upon you every day? Do I not have food enough, health enough, life enough, family enough, friends enough, and all manner of innumerable mercies falling like manna every morning all around me? And what have I done with them? Have I glorified the God of goodness who gave them? "Or do [I] despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

Here was a weekly test: " shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." Here was Heaven's SAT: Sabbath Abundance Test. God granted six days of sufficient supply, would they trust Him for one day of worship? They were to study for the Sabbath by drawing double on the day before. There was to be preparation for God's day of consecration. The day of rest was also a test. What about you dear reader? Have you ordered and managed the Lord's merciful manna's so as to obediently make ready for weekly worship? Have you prepared your soul for Sunday? Or are you ignoring His ordering of our days with respect to His risen Son? What excuses are we offering in order escape this exam? This weekly day of rest was constructed at Creation (Genesis 2:2), laid out again in the Law (Exodus 20:8), preached by the Prophets (Isaiah 58:13), certified by our Savior (Mark 16:9), and accepted by the Apostles (Acts 20:7). Shall it therefore be nullified by you? He gives you eternity...will you not give Him a day?

But most important, here was the ultimate test. This manna which God sent was but a dim mirror through which they might make out the Son He would send. As Jesus said "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:32-33). And Oh my many have failed this final exam from God! "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). My friend, your life is an essay answer being written within the blue book of eternity respecting to your response to this question: Who is Jesus Christ? What are you writing? What sort of grade will God return upon the living grammar of your goals, the punctuation of your purposes, the sentence structure of your soul? Every day another entry is written that cannot be erased. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..." Have you responded with repentance to this ultimate testing by blessing? Believe now, while blank pages yet to be written remain in the balance of your book! You do not know when your final bell will ring, and your test must be turned in, and what you have penned upon this most eternal exam will forever settle your fate and future. Raise the hand of your soul for help to God in prayer and He will heal you! "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) Jesus Christ is God's greatest gift...and so here is testing by blessing indeed.

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