By David Stahl

Our life is nothing more than test. Now many Christians would disagree with me on this one and say our life is to glorify God or worship Him and they would be correct, but if we are not obedient to God in what He wants for our lives all of our worship and all of the glory we give Him would not touch one act of obedience to God.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  God is testing those good people to see their reaction.  Why do we suffer if God is all knowing, well our life is a test. Suffering teaches us patience, obedience, mercy, and compassion.  Our life is nothing more than is a test and God is watching to see how we react; not to watch us suffer for suffering sake, but watching us to see HOW we react, what we will say, what we will do.  In the Book of Exodus we read where God was testing the Children of Israel. Time and time again. God did miracle after miracle for the Children of Israel in the wilderness and their reaction was always the same.  In the Book of Numbers we read, “And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5And the people spake against God, and against Moses, “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.”  (Numbers 21:4-5)  Time and time again they would say,  “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.”  Have you ever been hungry?  Time and time again they would rail on Moses (but really railing on God) about the situations and circumstance God has brought them in to. How quickly they forgot about the great miracle of the parting of the Red Sea.  How quickly they have forgotten about the taskmasters of Egypt.  These situations were not to see them suffer, but God was testing them to see if they have learned anything.  In Exodus we read where God came through again and rained bread from heaven.  What a great miracle, again God jumps through the hoop for them when they cried.  Again God saved them from the circumstance and situation that He brought into their lives.  You know God desires not to deliver us, oh no God desires to develop us.  Spiritual growth and development requires development and not deliverance.  Now if God has to keep delivering us from situations and circumstances in our lives He knows the plan He has purposed for our lives is in jeopardy of being lost (we will walk always from Him) so he picks us up and plants us in another field so we can continue to grow at some lesser level only to replant us in the same field some day.  We never get past the present test in God until we pass it.  God told Moses,  “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”  (Exodus 16:4)  What a wonderful miracle, “bread from heaven.”  I cannot remember how many sermons I have heard preached on this verse; how God feeds his people from His own hands, etc., but please notice why God gave the Children of Israel the “Manna” (which means “what is it”), not to fill their bellies or to satisfy their hunger, oh no, but  “that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”  God gave them a miracle to test them.  Say, our life is a test. God fed them every day (except on the last day of the week they collected two portions)  to see if they would be obedient to His words.  Who would think God would do such a thing?  Anybody who can see the hand of God working in their lives. The bread from heaven was a particular provision and exercise in the people’s training.  It was their test of obedience.  Later on in the Book of Exodus the Children of Israel would swear to God, “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.”  (Exodus 24:7)  God knew if they could not be obedient to daily gather bread from heaven to feed their hunger how would they be able to fulfill their words, “All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” God was testing them with a miracle because God knows obedience does not come from spoken convictions and intentions obedience comes through testings, for everybody even Jesus.  In the Book of Hebrews we read of Jesus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;”  (Hebrews 5:8)  Again why do we suffer, to learn obedience. Jesus first learned obedience at the hands of Joseph and Mary as a child.  Make no mistake my friend Jesus was given a name above all names not because He was God’s Son, oh no but because,  “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’  (Philippians 2:8-11)  One of the objects in our training program of life is to train us in obedience.  This is the very basic element. If  there is no obedience then there will be no victory.  Obedience is a must!  It is one thing to say, “all that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” and quite another thing to do it.  Words are important, but words are much cheaper than actions.  God is not after lip service; He is after a life that will be willing to march to His tune.  He is gathering together a people who will serve Him in reality. He wants people who will do His will, rather than those who simply talk about doing His will. There are people who pray about doing His will and that’s all they do pray about it.  That is not what God desires.  He desires a people who will actually do that He says to do; who will, in fact, take upon themselves to obey the word of God.  That is what He is after.  How does God get this arrangement?  People are not born with it. They must be trained to obey. Obedience is not something that is automatic.  Remember it is only a test of our obedience! There is the need of learning obedience.  We have to LEARN to obey.  When one is born again of the Spirit of God, it would be just lovely if God somehow dumped into us that quality of total and unquestioning obedience.  But that is not the way it happens. How did Jesus learn?  Did God say to Him, “Let’s sit down together and I’ll tell You how to be always in complete obedience?”  Oh, no.  “yet learned he obedience by the things which He suffered” is the servant greater than the Master?  Learning obedience is a life-long process, but here is the good news, as we learn the easier learning becomes.  We see this process moving in our children. the more they learn the easier other things are to learn.  We teach them to tie their shoes and when they master this skill they now can now learn some day to tie a surgeon’s knot.  So too in God.  The more we learn obedience in areas in our lives the easier it will become to learn obedience in other areas.  God’s principle have they be in the physical or spiritual realm are the same they must be learned to achieve the goal God intents.  And God is after us being obedient to Him the first time He speaks.  Oh He will speak again and again if he must, but we will lose some of the original intention God had for us in His speaking.  Yes Jesus needed to learn obedience to such an extent that it became a perfect thing in His life BEFORE he began His public ministry.  If we are to have a public ministry we too will need to learn obedience.  Jesus went to school He did not sit in a classroom in Jerusalem, but He went to school, His Father’s school of the Spirit.  And yes Jesus learned through situations and circumstances. The difference between disobedience and obedience may be narrower than a cell split in two, but the results may be worlds apart.  At time God needs a perfection in obedience that can split a cell in two.  he needed that in Jesus’ life and He needs that in our lives.  Perfect obedience is not understood by many, let alone knowing the price it will cost through experience.  Jesus knew and He learned, he paid the price and is the servant greater than the Master?  Keep telling yourself life is only a test, it is only a test and God is looking for obedience in us the first time He speaks.