NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passages: Deuteronomy 6:16-25, Matthew 4:5-7

Discussion Questions:

  • When are we most tempted to test God?
  • How is testing God a faith issue?
  • Why is faith an essential quality for trusting God?
  • Food for Thought:

Sometimes believers give God specific ways He must respond to their prayers. They will even seek a confirmation from God, saying, “God, I will know it’s what You want if a cardinal lands on the fence three times.”

That may sound a bit humorous, but some of us will test God that way. We dictate the specificity of our prayers. But God is faithful. We don’t need to test Him or dictate how He should respond. We simply need to ask Him for what we need and trust that He can handle things the way He chooses. Remember what He has done for you in the past; He will do it again.

Read Matthew 4:5-7. When we’re afraid, we often long for God’s presence and protection. Satan would like nothing more than to use those fears to undermine our faith in God. This is what Satan attempted with his second temptation directed at Jesus.

With the first temptation, Jesus responded by quoting Scripture. Satan tried using Scripture to his own advantage. He used Psalm 91:11-12 to challenge Jesus to put God to the test, to make Jesus prove Himself. If Jesus jumped off the top of the temple, the Father would miraculously rescue Him in front of all the people gathered there, and they would see clearly that He is the Messiah. If Jesus wanted to be recognized as their Messiah, this was a quick and easy way to do it.

God does protect as promised in Psalm 91, but we don’t need to knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way or find ways to “force” God to act. Jesus didn’t need a test to prove God’s faithfulness, nor would He shortcut the path laid out by the Father’s will.

Jesus responded to this temptation by quoting Scripture, and He acted on the command in Deuteronomy 6 not to test the Lord. Jesus didn’t need to test God, for He knew that God loved Him and that God was with Him. He didn’t need to prove that to Himself.

In the book of Deuteronomy, God had already performed miracle after miracle in His care and provision for the Israelites, yet they failed to believe God could provide them with water. How many more signs would they need? What else would God have to do? They expected God to prove Himself one more time by providing water. They put God to the test.

Are we any different? We should be able to look back over our lives and see God’s faithfulness. Time and time again, the Lord has provided for our needs. And, yet, when we face the next new crisis, we’re tempted to put God to the test. We may not say it out loud, but essentially we are saying, “Prove yourself one more time, God!”

The command is simple: don’t test, but instead trust. Immediately after the command, “Do not test,” the Israelites were told to “carefully observe the commands of the Lord your God.” God wants to bless us, as He wanted to bless the Israelites, but we can only experience those blessings as we trust Him and obey His Word. No test is necessary when we’re living fully in obedience to Him.


YOU is committed to providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit You.Lifeway.com.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources