Forcing a Test
The devil tempted Jesus to jump down from a pinnacle, saying, "Is it not written that God will give His angels charge over You that You do not hurt Yourself?" Jesus answered, "It is also written, ‘You shall not force a test on God’" (Matt. 4:5-7).
The New Covenant protects true servants of God from accidental ingestion of poison and from poisonous snake bites (Mark 16:18). But putting God to the test by willingly drinking poison or allowing yourself to be bitten by poisonous snakes would indeed be forcing a test on God. From time to time, certain religions have practiced these things, but they usually become extinct after a time!
The puffer fish, caught off the coast of Japan, is served in fine Japanese restaurants as a delicacy. This fish at times contains a virulent poison that cannot be detected until after the person who eats it dies. People who order puffer fish realize they are taking a chance, but they continue to eat it anyway.
When disciples of Jesus Christ eat what they know is not good for them to eat, they are indeed forcing a test on God. When believers smoke marijuana or cigarettes, which they know are unhealthful, they are forcing a test on God.
When a person goes out on a limb and charges goods and services he cannot afford, saying, "I did it in faith that God would provide," he is forcing a test on God. Even many churches do the same thing by expanding their buildings in so-called faith and forcing a test on God because they do not have funds available to pay the bills. The Bible says owe money to no man (Rom. 13:8). This principle should be adhered to as much as possible. People need houses and cars, and in our modern society, it is nearly impossible to pay cash for such expensive items. However, people would have a lot less trouble if they did not run up bills, but would live within their means.
Take time right now to examine your motives and determine if you are forcing a test on God in any areas of your life (Jer. 5:25). Are you going out on a spiritual limb, knowing it will not hold you, and trusting God to make sure the limb does not break? Are you spending money you do not have, hoping God will give you the money to pay your debts? Think, think, think! Then act wisely, with God’s wisdom and not your own (Matt. 6:33; Prov. 3:5-6; Psalm 21:2).