What Does it Mean to Tempt God?

Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” (Acts 5:8-9)

Trying to tempt God is a serious crime in the Scripture. When the devil came to Jesus and told Him to throw Himself off the pinnacle of a temple so that God would be bound to release His angels to bear Him up, Jesus replied:

“It is written again, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” (Matthew 4:7)

The Bible makes it very clear that God is not tempted; “for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13). In fact, the Bible is very stringent against those who try to tempt anyone:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” (Luke 17:1-2).

We are not to be the cause of temptation to sin to anyone; therefore, Jesus warns:

“So watch yourselves.
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)

If we fail to forgive someone and act out our unforgiving spirit, it becomes a cause of stumbling for others and this is a serious crime against God. Also, someone who keeps on digging graves and repeating the past matter is not acting out of love but out of a sinful, alienating spirit.

“He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (Proverbs 17:9)

Therefore, we must be careful in our behavior and attitude (even dressing and eating habits) to not be the cause of temptation or stumbling to anyone.

Now, when it comes to the matter of tempting God, what does that mean? Following are a few things that count as tempting God:

First, the following verses:

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?” (Exo 17:2)

Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. (Deu 6:16)

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.” (Isa 7:12)

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Mat 4:7)

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? (Mat 22:18)

Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” (Act 5:9)

Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (Act 15:10)

We should not test the Lord, as some of them did–and were killed by snakes. (1Co 10:9)

1. To tempt God means to sin with an attitude that God will overlook the sin (e.g. Ananias and Sapphira). It is trying to tempt God to do something against His righteous and holy nature. God never overlooks sin, though He overlooks times of ignorance.
2. To tempt God means to try to provoke Him to anger by saying or doing foolish things with the attitude that “It is His duty to take care of me” and “God cannot do anything against ME because I am something special.” It comes out of taking God’s love and kind mercies for granted.
3. To tempt God means to do things out of doubt and unbelief; to try to see if what God said is really true or not despite knowing that His word is logically indubitable. It is like a child who doesn’t believe it when his dad says that he will be spanked if he does something wrong. The child tries to check if his dad is really serious and so does the very act. This kind of attitude is very serious when we act in the same way with God. No unbelief is permitted in His presence. It invites the chastening rod of God.
4. When one rebels against God-given authority and conspires against God’s anointed ones, one commits the sin of tempting God. It is so because they try to falsely interpret even good actions as wrong and try to paint a wrong picture of godly people before men. This flares up the heavens against their own lives. Do not take the role of God or try to do what rightly belongs to Him. It is He who appoints and He who puts down. Remember David who refused to raise his hand against Saul, though he had turned bad, because He knew Saul was anointed and appointed by God.
5. Tempting God means to try to make God do things in accordance with our will and desire. One may falsely quote scriptures or try various tantrums to provoke Him. Temptation means trying to get someone to do something by trying to excite that person’s passions and emotions on behalf of the goal of temptation. It is only human blindness that makes them think that they can tempt God in this way. It brings judgment on self.

The Bible says: “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.” (Psalm 34:8). To taste means to come and experience. An ignorant person who doesn’t know the Lord comes and experiences Him and knows that He is truly good. He becomes a blessed man since he trusts in Him. However, someone who knows the Lord and then grows irritating, provocative, and lousy with regard to spiritual matters brings disaster on himself. Living in repentance and submission in humility and reverence by living in the presence of God and the fellowship of His Spirit and His Word are necessary for abiding in His grace.

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