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Well? What does God say about it? Most men say it’s tempting God to ask for a sign – but then most men think they’re going to float on a cloud playing a harp for eternity. So what IS tempting God, and it is wrong to ask Him for a sign?
Mark 8:11-12 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
What was wrong with them asking for a sign?
When the Pharisees asked for a sign, it was called tempting God. But what about Gideon? Remember the fleece that was to be wet, then dry… (Judges 6:36-40). Gideon required several signs to believe. So why wasn’t HE condemned for tempting God?
Or what about Abraham? Even though God made promises to him in Genesis 15, Abraham wanted more proof! He said “Lord GOD, whereby shall I KNOW that I shall inherit it?” (Genesis 15:8)
So why were the Pharisees condemned, when Gideon and Abraham – and countless others – weren’t? Is God a respecter of persons after all? What is the difference?
Matthew 11:21-22 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
The Pharisees were among those He was condemning in this scripture. THESE are the people He said were tempting Him. He condemned them for tempting God because they had already seen HUNDREDS of signs! They had seen all they could possibly need to believe, but WOULD NOT BELIEVE!
THAT was tempting God! Abraham didn’t do that! Gideon didn’t do that! Once they had SEEN reasonable proof, THEY believed! But the Pharisees and ancient Israel – the two groups who are condemned for tempting God more than any other, WOULD NOT BELIEVE no matter WHAT proof they had.
Hebrews 3:8-12 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
That “evil heart of unbelief” was a heart which had seen miracle after miracle – and refused to believe! Not one that sincerely hadn’t seen proof that Jesus was the Christ or that God does indeed exist! But one that knew the truth and WOULD NOT believe! The Pharisees KNEW Jesus was the Christ… but they REFUSED to acknowledge it! (John 3:1-2).
Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
When the Israelites, after having seen the ten plagues in Egypt, after having crossed the red sea, after seeing Pharoah drowned, WHILE THEY WERE EATING BREAD FALLING OUT OF THE SKY(!), when THEY said “Is the LORD among us, or not?” (Exodus 17:7), it was tempting God! They didn’t NEED any more proof that God was among them!
Matthew 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
So why would it have been tempting God for Christ to jump? Because BOTH HE AND THE DEVIL KNEW FULL WELL THAT HE WAS THE SON OF GOD! Neither one of them needed any more proof!
Christ would have been tempting God to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, because He KNEW God would keep His word and protect Him if He tripped over a rock. So did the devil! It would have been tempting God for either of them to demand a sign to prove it. And since it is a sin to tempt God, had Christ jumped to prove God one more time, He WOULD have died on the rocks below.
So, what is the difference between asking a sign from God, and tempting Him?
You must be the judge of that. You know exactly how much proof of God’s existence YOU have seen. You know how many miraculous, unarguable miracles YOU’VE seen, and YOU and only you know whether or not you’re being stubborn because you don’t WANT to believe!
You must ultimately make the decision of whether or not it is a sin for you to ask for a sign. But considering the spiritual Sahara we find ourselves in today, I doubt that God would mind showing you some proof, if you’re willing to go out of your way to get His attention.
And all this, of course, assumes that you are already in the process of cleaning up your camp, as Deuteronomy 23:12-14 instructs, and as I write about so often. If you are living in a state of open rebellion and trying to force God to accept you on your terms, then attracting His attention to you is definitely a bad idea.
But that disclaimer aside, by all means; prove God. Test him! See if He is willing to stand behind the promises He made to you! If not, NOW IS THE TIME TO FIND OUT! And if so, why would you want to go another minute without proving it!