You Shall Not Put the Lord to the Test — But Abusers Love to
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (Matthew 4:5-7)
A typical devilish tactic right out of the kingdom of darkness is tempting or testing the Lord. It is evil in many ways, and as the Lord Jesus told Satan by authority of Scripture, this sin is forbidden. Of course that was the whole thing Satan was up to there in the wilderness. Tempting the Lord. “If you are….then…”.
You see the enemies of Christ doing the same thing repeatedly as recorded in the Gospels:
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. (Matthew 16:1)
Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? (Matthew 22:17-18)
And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:2)
And there are numbers of other examples of the very same tactic.
The wicked not only put the Lord to the test directly, probably even more often they do this by putting Christ’s people to the test. If you are an abuse victim or survivor, I know that you have had this happen to you and probably frequently. Another name for this tactic is “the set up.” Because that really is what the point of the thing is. To set someone up (the target of the abuser) for failure, humiliation, or some kind of condemnation. It is quite diabolical as you think about it. Subtlety and cunning cruelty working overtime to plan the set up.
Abusers are really masters at this and they can construct a set up amazingly quickly. After all, evil like this is their very nature. They will say something, almost always in front of others, that demands some kind of response or answer, and they do their best to make it a no-win proposition. Whatever the victim says or has to say is going to appear self-condemning.
A very appropriate response is, “You hypocrite. Why do you put me to the test?” If you can do so safely, try it next time the old set up ploy is pulled on you.