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Thoroughly Tested

Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
Psalm 119:140 (NIV)

The Hebraic word for test is tsaraph (Strong # 6884). It means to fuse metals, i.e. refine literally or figuratively; cast, melt, purify, purge away, try.

Refining metal was an ancient skill that was well developed long before the time of Abraham. The first metalsmith mentioned in the Bible was Tubal-Cain, a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:22). He was an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. Bronze was formed by mixing copper with tin, and brass was formed by mixing copper with zinc. Iron and other metals such as gold and silver were often hammered or forged into desired shapes by skilled metalsmiths. By the time of Abraham, about 2000 BC, bellows were used to increase the heat of their furnaces, which in turn melted and separated the pure metals from the dross. The refining process there and then was able to produce high quality of gold, silver and other precious metals.

Ancient metalsmiths were skilled in making ornamental objects of precious metals. But Israel was relatively ignorant of metalworking skills until the time of David, about 1000 BC. Recognizing the importance of metalworking, David conquered the surrounding nations and their precious metal mines (2 Sam. 8:11-14). His son, Solomon brought Israel into a greater era of metalworking by importing experts from other more advanced nations (1 Kings 7:13-14).

The Lord describes the process of testing and purifying His people as the melting and refining process in which pure metals are being separated from the impurities in the ores. These tests, instituted by God, are to determine the purity of His holy people and the quality of their godly character. In fact, the Greek word for church is ekklesia – the called out ones.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Pet 2:9-10

This calling of the Church is the same original calling God gave to Israel in Exodus 19:5-6:

'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.

And Israel failed badly in the test given by God, and their result slips were disclosed to the prophet Jeremiah:

"Jeremiah, I have made you an assayer of metals that you may test this My people and determine their value. Listen to what they are saying and watch what they are doing. Are they not the worst of rebels, full of evil talk against the Lord? They are insolent as brass, hard and cruel as iron. The bellows blow fiercely; the refining fire grows hotter, but it can never cleanse them, for there is no pureness in them to bring out. Why continue the process longer? All is dross. No matter how hot the fire, they continue in their wicked ways. I must label them 'Impure, Rejected Silver,' and I have discarded them." Jer 6:27-30 (TLB)

The process of melting and refining are inseparable. As the metal melts, it is being refined. The heat purifies the metal; the dross becomes separated from the purified metal. Depending on their relative densities, the lighter one will float, and the heavier one will sink. If there is no pure metal, all will be just dross – waste metal.

Text The Process
Psalm 66:10 For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.
Pro. 17:3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the hearts.
Pro. 27:21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, and a man is valued by what others say of him.
Isaiah 1:25 I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy.
Zech 13:9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; and each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'
Malachi 3:2-3 "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.

In the story of Gideon, 10,000 were being tested and only 300 were qualified and chosen to fight against the Midianites.

But the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' the same shall not go." Judges 7:4

By what standard and criteria does God test us? In Psalm 105:19, Joseph was tested by the Word of the LORD. The very promise God gave to him was the very test he went through. To believe or not believe God becomes the constant battleground for the soul of man. The Word of God is thoroughly tested and certified Truth. Abraham was tested the same manner.

Let’s take a look at some scriptures to see how God tested His people and also how His people tested Him:


Exodus 16:4
Walk in His law or not
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
Exodus 20:20
Sin or sin not
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."
Deut 8:2, 2 Chr 32:31
To know what is in our hearts
And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
Deut 8:16
To do us good in the end
who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end
Judges 2:22
Keep the ways of the LORD
so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.
Judges 3:1
God uses other nations (people) to test Israel (us)
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan
Judges 3:4
Obey or not
And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
1 Chr 29:17
Have pleasure in uprightness
I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.
Job 7:18
Tested every moment
That You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?
Job 12:11
The ear tests words
Does not the ear test words and the mouth taste its food?
Psalm 11:4
His eyelids test the sons of men
The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
Jer 6:27
Know and test their way
I have set you as an assayer and a fortress among My people, that you may know and test their way.
Jer 17:10
Test the mind
I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
Jer 20:12
Test the righteous
But, O LORD of hosts, You Who test the righteous, and see the mind and heart, let me see Your vengeance on them; for I have pleaded my cause before You.
Dan 1:12
Tested 10 days
Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
John 6:6
Jesus tested His disciple
But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
2 Cor 2:9
Obedient in all things
For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.
2 Cor 13:5
Whether you are in the faith
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified.
1Thes 5:21
Test all things
Test all things; hold fast what is good.
I John 4:1
Test the spirits
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Rev 3:10
Use us to test others
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.


Acts 5:9
Lying to the Spirit
Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
Acts 15:10
Putting a yoke on others
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Psalm 78:18
Demanding the food they fancy
And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.
Psalm 95:9-10
Tested 40 years

When your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.'
Hebrews 3:9-10
Tested 40 years
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.'

When God put us to the test, His Word is being tested. He goes to the test with us.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you." Isaiah 43:1-2

When we pass the test, He rejoices; and when we fail, He grieves. No parents like to see their children fail in school tests. So does our Heavenly Father. He desires to see our result slips marked with excellence and distinctions! The 3 Hebrew children passed the test with flying colours in the fiery furnace at Babylon (Daniel 3).

The tests of God are true blessings in disguise - to purify us and transform us into His likeness, day by day, from glory to glory. Like our school tests, no pass no promotion. Until we pass the present tests, we will not be promoted to do the next level. Jesus passed all the tests at the Mount of Temptation before He began His ministry. It is a journey we must travel on the Way to His Holiness.

Christlikeness is a process we must go through thoroughly, anything less will be an incomplete product. And the Holy Fire of God is burning bright!

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary