God reveals Himself through the pages of Scripture. He shows His character and the ways He deals with people. One of God’s most common approaches is giving His people tests:
- Exodus 20:20—And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”
- Psalm 66:10—For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
- Job 23:10—But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Why Does God Test People? To Know Them!
The Old Testament makes this clear if we understand two Hebrew words:
- Nacah is the Hebrew word for “tested” or “proved,” and it means, “To test, try, prove, tempt, assay.”
- Yada is the Hebrew word for “know,” and it means, “to know,” but, like ginōskō, it is describing intimate knowledge: “Adam knew (yada) his wife, and she conceived and bore a son” (Genesis 4:1).
David used both words when asking God to “test” him to “know” his heart:
- Psalm 26:2—“Examine me, O LORD, and prove (nacah) me; Try my mind and my heart.”
- Psalm 139:23–24—“Search me, O God, and know (yada) my heart; Try me…see if there is any wicked way in me.”