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How Far Will We Trust God?

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Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were definitely in the hot seat. The king had just given them an ultimatum—bow down or burn up! We know the story. We know the outcome. But have we given thought to their total commitment to God's will, and have we thought about how far we will trust God?

Three Little Words That Said Volumes

Notice their answer to the king; “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace… but if not…” (Daniel 3:17-18 Daniel 3:17-18 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
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).

“But if not…” These three words spoke volumes about Daniel's friends' commitment to God's will. They knew God could deliver them, but they did not know if it was His will. What they did know was that, if God did not deliver them then, He would deliver them in the resurrection.

When tests and fiery trials come upon us, we pray for God to intervene. And when we pray, we are to ask for God's will (Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
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). But when God's will is different than our will, how do we handle it?

God Will Test Us and Allow Trials to Come on Us

Scripture is full of examples of God's people being tested. God says that it is through many trials that we will enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22 Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
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). Peter tells us to rejoice in trials so that our faith can grow, which will help us make it into God's Kingdom (1 Peter 1:6-9 1 Peter 1:6-9 6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
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).

God has to know our hearts, and tests and trials help Him know what is in our hearts. The Bible says even Christ learned obedience through His trials (Hebrews 5:8 Hebrews 5:8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
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).

God Himself tested Abraham. God knew that Abraham had an immense love for Isaac. But did Abraham love Isaac more than God? God had to know.

Think how much Abraham wrestled with the possibilities and questions during that three-day trip. Needless to say, he did not sleep well those nights.

But Abraham accepted God's will, even though his will was different. Abraham even concluded that God would resurrect Isaac so His promises would be fulfilled (Hebrews 11:17-19 Hebrews 11:17-19 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from where also he received him in a figure.
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). God let Abraham go as far as lifting the knife to kill Isaac before He intervened. How far did Abraham trust God? All the way.

Sometimes we think we do not have exceptional faith like Abraham. But there was a time when Abraham's faith was not this strong. Several years earlier Abraham was worried that the Egyptians might take his wife, Sarah, from him because of her beauty. Instead of putting his total trust in God, Abraham was not totally honest about his relationship to Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20 Genesis 12:10-20 10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that you are a fair woman to look on: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save you alive. 13 Say, I pray you, you are my sister: that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you. 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that you have done to me? why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why said you, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold your wife, take her, and go your way. 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
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). Abraham did not trust God totally—he thought he had to deceive Pharaoh to save his wife. Yes, even the “father of the faithful” was weak in faith at times. But God worked with Abraham, and his faith grew. God works with us so our faith can grow too.

Similar Trials, Different Outcomes

All of us have been tested in keeping God's Holy Days. Many of us have lost jobs over the Sabbath. As a result, some have gotten better jobs; some have not. So why does God give one person a better job, and allow another person to be out of work for long periods of time because of their obedience?

To answer that, we must remember that each of us is unique. We all come from different walks of life. God wants to mold us to be like Him, and to do that requires different intensity and length of tests and trials, depending on our individual circumstances.

Some of us may spend a long time living with limited income to learn to really depend on God. Money and the accumulation of goods can become a stumbling block, and thus a trial, for others.

Often there are things we need to learn in our trials (Hebrews 12:11 Hebrews 12:11Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.
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). We need to ask God to show us what we need to learn, so we can develop more godly character.

At times God is quick to intervene when we are new in the faith. He does this to encourage us. As we grow, God sometimes delays and limits intervention to strengthen our faith. As Paul said, “…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4 Romans 5:3-4 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
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).

Joseph spent two years in prison waiting on God to deliver him. Yet, whenever bad things happened to him, Scripture records, “But the Lord was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:2 Genesis 39:2And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
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, 21). When we are in trials, let's be patient and remember that God is with us. As James said, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4 James 1:4But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
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).

God's will is for us to make it into His Kingdom, and that may require more tests for some, more severe trials for others. Our eyes tend to focus on the present, while God's eyes focus on the future. God's will is for us to learn from the experience, while our will is for the trial to end quickly. We need to place our total trust in God and wait on Him. As Isaiah said, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 40:31But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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).

Satan Wants Us to Doubt God

Some trials are very hard, seemingly too hard to bear. Some of God's people have lost loved ones, while others have lifelong health problems.

No matter how hard the trial, God promises that He will not test us more than we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
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). If we are not careful, hard trials can lead us to doubting God instead of trusting Him.

It is Satan who plants the seeds of doubt. When we have these doubts, we must draw closer to God. Otherwise the seeds can take root and can take us out of God's Church! Peter said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
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). And Satan will use a hard trial to try to devour us!

It was Satan who told God that Job only obeyed Him because God had blessed him physically (Job 1:9-11 Job 1:9-11 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? you have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.
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). So God allowed a hard trial to come on His righteous servant. And what happened in Job's mind is similar to what can go through our minds during hard trials.

At first Job's attitude was that God's will be done (Job 1:20-21 Job 1:20-21 20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
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). But as time went on, Satan planted a seed in Job's mind that God was unfair. Does this sound like us at times? We are seemingly strong at first, only to discover that we are weaker than we thought (1 Corinthians 10:12 1 Corinthians 10:12Why let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
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).

Job wrestled with events that happened in his life. Some of his friends said he must have sinned, and he couldn't understand all that had happened to him, since he was trying to obey God. Yes, at times we wrestle with these same thoughts in our trials. We think, “Why me?” But Peter tells us that we should not be surprised when hard trials come upon us (1 Peter 4:12 1 Peter 4:12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:
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). Trials are part of our Christian lives.

We know that Job persevered. Yes, even when he did not understand “why,” Job still trusted God (Job 13:15 Job 13:15Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain my own ways before him.
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). God blessed Job because he endured (James 5:11 James 5:11Behold, we count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
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; Job 42:10-16 Job 42:10-16 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came there to him all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought on him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers. 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.
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). God will bless us when we endure.

God Will Strengthen Us

When trials overwhelm us, we sometimes wish we had not been called, or even been born! Many of God's faithful servants experienced the same thoughts. But God knows us better than we know ourselves. And God will give us the strength we need.

Three different times Paul asked God to remove his “thorn in the flesh.” God denied those requests. Paul accepted God's will, and acknowledged he was made stronger by his infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
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).

Even Christ did not look forward to the horrendous death that awaited Him. With indescribably intense prayer He asked the Father if there could be another way. But He submitted to the Father's will. God sent angels to strengthen Him. God will do the same for us.

Yes, Christ understands what we go through—a lot more than we give Him credit for! And because of this, He makes intercession for us. And He has left us an example to let God's will be done, not ours.

Remember, Christ entrusted His eternity to the Father. We must do the same.

“Lord, Help My Unbelief!”

What if we lose our job over the Sabbath, and then lose our home? Will we trust God to provide? If a sudden tragedy occurs, will we trust God to see us through? What if we come down with a life-threatening illness? Will we seek God's will?

It is easy to answer these questions when we are not in these circumstances. But when hard trials come upon us, we can find ourselves like the father who replied to Christ's question of faith—“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:23-24 Mark 9:23-24 23 Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help you my unbelief.
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).

When our faith is weak, we need to ask God for strength. We need to ask for more of God's Spirit, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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). No, we cannot “work up faith”—it comes from God. God uses trials to help build strong faith. And strong faith will help us to trust God to the end, regardless of these consequences.

Many of God's faithful servants in the past sacrificed their lives for the same things we believe today. They accepted God's will over their will because they had total trust in Him. The same God we worship saved some, and allowed others to suffer, even die (Hebrews 11:32-40 Hebrews 11:32-40 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
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). Their faithfulness is recorded to encourage us. We can also grow in faith so our faithfulness can encourage others in the future.

David—a man who went through many trials—encourages us in Psalms 37:25 Psalms 37:25I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
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, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.”

Let's wait on God when we go through our fiery trials. Let's seek His will, not ours. He has our eternal happiness in mind, and He has promised to never leave us, even when our faith is weak (Hebrews 13:5-6 Hebrews 13:5-6 5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.
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; Psalms 103:10-14 Psalms 103:10-14 10 He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
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, 17-18).

As Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35 Romans 8:35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
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, 38-39).

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
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).

Yes, God's will is for us to make it into His Kingdom. So regardless of what trials come our way, let's put our total trust in Him to make it happen! UN

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