Don’t Gamble (Play) On God
Satan tempted – tested – God; Satan was playing God’s power. Today’s sermon teaches not gamble on God. Do not test God. Do not play with God.
My key verse:
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” – Matthew 4:7 NKJV
In our key verse we see a direct response from Jesus to Satan in which Jesus says, “you shall not tempt the Lord your God. Let us focus on the word tempt. ‘Tempt’ can be better understood as ‘test’. In other words, Jesus is telling Satan not to ‘test’ God. From this statement, from the words of tempt and test, I come to the thought of gambling. I feel that we can understand this statement even more by substituting in the word gamble – don’t gamble on God.
Understanding our relationship with God
To gamble: gambling implies that there is a game of chance. This also implies that there is a risk; typically that risk is either winning or losing something. When we professed our faith in the Lord, we entered into a personal relationship with God. This is a relationship that is built on having faith in God. This cannot be a relationship where you feel that you’re taking a gamble (a risk) on the Lord. You cannot enter into a relationship with the Lord, and be questioning Him the whole time.
To better understand what I am saying, let’s take a look at the relationships that we have. When we date/court somebody, we’re hoping that somebody is the one, right? When we sit across from dinner table with that somebody, learning about that somebody, we’re hoping that their values mesh with our values – we’re hoping they’re the one. There is a risk involved in the game of dating and courtship because that person could certainly be the one, but there is also a really good chance that person is not the one for you.
Let us understand that God is indeed the one and only. What do I mean by this? God is the only one that can completely wash away, and cleanse you of your sin – nobody else can do this for you. God is the only one that can bless you, provide for you, and make a way for you – nobody else can do that for you. The Lord is the only one that can save you! You see, the Lord has already shown His hand to you – He’s shown you all of His cards. You cannot enter into a relationship with God and be doubting Him!
Putting God to the test
Yet, there are some who still wish to play the dating game with the Lord. There are still some who wish to put the Lord to the test, like they would do someone else when they date them. Some folks like to play games when they’re dating or in a relationship with somebody. The game used to be, how long do you go before calling him or her; if they didn’t call you in ‘x’ amount of days, they don’t really like you. Nowadays, if he or she doesn’t text you every day, they don’t like you. In my opinion, these are very silly games to play but we play these games because we want to see how much he or she likes/loves us. You see, we’re gambling – hoping that this person doesn’t break/crush our heart.
We try this very same thing with God – we try to put God to the test. We say to God, “if you do this, I will believe in you.” Have we not done this before? We say to God, “if you give me this or that, I will believe in you.” Instead of walking out on faith, we, the ones that have professed our faith, look to God and ask the Lord a ton of hypothetical questions. God tells us to take that step of faith, and we ask, “what if something jumps out of the woods and grabs a hold of me?” Don’t you gamble on the Lord! There is no risk in that step that the Lord wants you to take! Why is there no risk? Because you have no chance of losing when it is God telling you to take that step!
You see, we cannot be as Satan when Satan was tempting God, yet we sit back and try the Lord as Satan once did. Satan said (Matthew 4:3), “if you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Do we not do this? Satan was testing God’s power; we will do the absolute same thing. We look around at all the evil in the world and we say to God, “if you’re real, why do you allow evil to persist?” We don’t stop there, we say to God, “I’m a good person, why do I suffer such terrible things?” – we be looking for money and blessings to pop out of thin air, testing the Lord’s power.
You see, we cannot be as Satan when Satan tempted God! Satan took Jesus to a high point and said to Jesus (Matthew 4:6), “if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. God shall give His angels charge over you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Satan’s test was a test of whether or not God really cares. Satan wanted to play a game of chance, “put yourself in danger,” is essentially what he tells Jesus. “Let’s see if God really loves you,” is the gamble/test that Satan plays here.
We get around and we begin to wonder whether or not God really cares about us – whether or not the Lord really loves us. God loving the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son doesn’t seem to matter so much when it seems the world is beating up on us. We decide to try and give the Lord an ultimatum – “don’t let me suffer if you really love me Lord.” Jesus response to Satan (Matthew 4:7), “don’t put the Lord your God to the test.” Understand this, God loves you! Know this, God cares for you!
You see, we cannot be as Satan when he had the audacity to put the Lord our God to the test! Satan then showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and said to Jesus (Matthew 4:9), “all these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.” Satan was testing the Lord as a Provider – we try to put the Lord to the same test. We begin to feel that because we have believed in Him that we should have all of the wealth and all of the riches – life should be easy. We put God to the test and we say, “Lord I am hoping in a powerful blessing,” yet the whole while we’re trying to peek around the corner to see if God is working on our behalf. God has already done so much for us, but we’re steadily worrying about whether or not the Lord is making a way for us!
Don’t you gamble on the Lord – don’t you put the Lord your God to a test! Satan is a rebel and he doesn’t mind putting the Lord to a test – he’s been doing that since before the time of man. Do not follow in the path of Satan by putting God to a test. We must listen to what Jesus told Satan because there is a lesson in what Jesus said – don’t test God. Don’t give the Lord an ultimatum to see if the Lord is going to do something for you or not – trust in His doings. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation to see if the Lord really cares about you – know that He loves you. Don’t worry about whether or not the Lord is going to provide and make a way for you – look around and see what He has already done for you and know that the Lord will not cease in doing for you. We do not play the odds when it comes to the Lord because God is a true certainty. There are no risks when it comes to the Lord because God simply ‘Is’.
True faith and trust
When we enter into a relationship with God, we must have faith in Him. We should all know that faith is trust, so therefore, we must truly trust in Him. Trusting in the Lord is not like trusting in your girlfriend, your wife, your boyfriend, or your husband. You know, we like to sneak around and check to see who they’ve been texting on the phone or who they’ve been talking to on social media – that’s not really trusting – we can’t be that way when it comes to the Lord. We cannot be playing those childish relationship-like games when it comes to the Lord.
We say that we have faith, right? We say that we believe in Him, right? Let us then truly walk that walk and trust in Him. When the Lord tells you to take a leap of faith, don’t you go asking the Lord a thousand questions – jump – trust in Him! To not fully trust in the Lord means that you don’t really believe in Him which in a way is also very hypocritical in action – you’re simply saying, not acting. Our faith must be full, not half full or half empty – completely full. Our faith cannot be like that of the gambler.
You see, the gambler, when he or she plays the lotto, doesn’t really think that he or she can win the lotto. I know that there was a big powerball number recently, not sure specifically what the number was, but all of those that played the powerball was hoping they could win. The players knew the odds – they had a higher chance of losing than winning but they still played anyway. We are not playing a game of lots when it comes to the Lord. There is no doubt in the Lord because you’re always winning in the Lord.
When you doubt, in the least bit, you’re still not truly trusting in God. I want us to move away from the doubt, move away from having that gambler’s mentality and simply trust in the Lord. Jesus said (Mark 11:23) that we can move mountains IF we do not doubt in our hearts – I trust Him. These past few months there has been a mountain in my path. Instead of saying, “I hope the Lord moves this mountain,” I knew that the Lord would move my mountain. I tell you today that I am watching the Lord move that mountain out of my way and put that mountain into the sea! My Lord is a mighty God. My Lord is an awesome God. I don’t gamble on God, I trust in Him! My life is in the Lord’s hands and I’m not playing a game of odds or chance because I trust in the One who is in control.
When you enter into a relationship with God, know what He will do for you! Jesus said (Matthew 6:30), “if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” In other words, know that God got you! God’s got you, don’t you ever doubt that! You don’t risk losing when you come to the Lord, and when you trust in the Lord. God loves you. God cares about you. God will provide and make a way for you. Don’t you ever pray to the Lord with a, “if you do this, I will believe” prayer – trust and know that God is already doing for you and have faith.