“And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.”
The multitudes were following Jesus. At this time, the Bible says the number of men alone was about five thousand. As Jesus looked upon the masses of people, he asked Philip where they might acquire bread to feed the people. The Word of God then gives us this comment regarding the question to Philip: “And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.” Jesus did not ask Philip where bread could be found because the Lord needed Philip’s counsel. The Savior knew exactly what He was going to do. The question was a test for Philip, and the rest of the disciples as well. Jesus wanted to teach them something about themselves. It was a test of their faith. How did Philip think this need would be met?
This reveals one of God’s purposes in the things He allows us to experience. We find ourselves often in situations that seem impossible. Why does God, in His wisdom and providence, put us in such predicaments? Sometimes He wants to prove us. Will we trust Him completely for the outcome? Will we, by faith, ask Him to supply? Or, will we fret and complain? Will we behave like we have confidence in God or act like God does not exist? Will we turn to the world and the arm of the flesh as our sufficiency? So often in these circumstances, we fail the test. Rather than turn to the Savior and rely on His wisdom and provision, we fall apart and fail to see that God has a purpose in our problems.
There is something that God has in mind for the affairs of our lives. There are no accidents or coincidences. He is above all, over all, and working all things together with purpose. It would do us well to keep this in mind. The next time there is a need that we cannot meet, or a problem too big for us to solve, perhaps God wants us to see how we will behave in our trial. He already knows what He wants to do, and He already knows what we are going to do. But we need to see our response. We do not really know how real and active our faith is until it is tested. We can think our faith is strong; when in reality, it may be practically dormant. Then God allows a storm to come, to let us see where we are in our spiritual progress. It is seeing how we respond in times of adversity that we accurately assess our walk of faith.