This week’s installment comes from one of my former teachers at Duke, James Crenshaw (read my wonderful interview with him HERE). In his A Whirlpool of Torment: Israelite Traditions of God as an Oppressive Presence, Crenshaw writes the following:
“The fundamental assumption lying behind divine testing is that God lacks a certain kind of knowledge, that is, precisely how men and women will act in trying circumstances. OF course, such ignorance arises from human freedom, which is itself a gift from the transcendent one. Therefore, the divine act of self-limitation has created the necessity for such testing. On the other hand, humans can use adversity as a crucible within which character is shaped. This is why the psalmist we have quoted above [Ps 26:2] openly invited God to pose a test, confident that he would emerge victorious. This devout believer actually welcomed the refining fire, for he was certain that the test would be fair. Not all instances of divine testing were of this order” (2-3).