Don’t test God.
That’s what Jesus says to the devil.
The devil said to jump off the temple wall. He said that God had promised to send angels to catch people who were falling.
Jesus says, “It is also written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
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Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:16. But he left out part of the sentence. There Moses writes, “Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah.” So let’s keep going.
Deuteronomy 6 refers back to Exodus 17.
The Israelites were on their way from Egypt to Mount Sinai. More accurately, they were on their way where God was guiding them. They didn’t know where exactly they were going, they just knew that they were following fire and a cloud. They discovered that they had come to a place where there wasn’t any water. So they grumbled and quarreled. With Moses.
Moses tells them to trust God. The God who brought them out of Egypt. The God who made a path through the sea. The God who had given them food, with very precise instructions that showed them that he would provide for them if they trusted.
But trusting wasn’t what they did. They grumbled.
And Moses said, “why do you put God to the test?”
God was testing their faith in him. He was giving them an opportunity to trust Him. But rather than trusting, they were creating a test for him: give us water or we will question whether you are really God.
And the place was called testing, Massah. And forty years later Moses says to the people, “Don’t test God like at Massah.” And several centuries later, Jesus says to the devil, we’re not supposed to test God like at Massah.