He would have already known what was in their heart, and if they would kept His commandments.
NKJV - 2 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.
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There's a difference between intentions and actions and my opinion is that God wants to see our actions as it is an establishment of our intentions. Consider a scenario, where I am scared to stand up to my boss about something, but it is a scenario where my heart's intention is to change and to stand up to him this one time. Now, if it just remained an intention it won't establish anything and won't correct me and train me in the ways of the Lord. But, once, I go through that test of Faith, that overcoming of fears, it will be concrete and it will teach me things that would have never happened otherwise. Hence, God's testing it to teach us and to make us learn because things in thoughts and intentions are often not good enough. James 1:3-4 Perseverance in times of trial and testing will result in our spiritual maturity, our completeness Psalm 66:10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. It is develop us and to refine us like silver. It isn't about what we are going to do that God is interested in - He already knows that. The purpose is to be a good Father to us - to discipline and refine us.
My opinion is that as any loving parent God wants the best for and from us but at the same time he doesn't force us. Instead he shows us what leads to the right path at all times and allow us to choose. The verse "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." If we follow his command we can never go wrong and sometimes we trust self too much. The we get into all sort of problems then we go crying... asking "why?" when He warned us long before. We like to see A to Z and if we can't we become doubtful. It won't always be like that. It says in His word He prefers OBEDIENCE than SACRIFICES.... We are not slaves but sons and daughters and God won't just impose upon us. What is faith if it is not tried and proven...? Imagine you have a child and you always carry him around. You never allow him to creep and and learn to make small steps on his own. Yes sometimes that child will fall but he gets up and starts again and learn from each fall. Until he starts walking and doesn't topple over again. God gives that allowance! "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
THE PLACE OF MAN'S WILL God has freely given man the gift of 'A WILL' for him to make & take decisions by himself. Even though God is all knowing, He won't make man's choices for him. It is up to man to make the choice of either aligning his will to God's will or go the opposite direction. God is not like man, who will give you a gift and if you refuse to appreciate or use it as He expects, will go back to collect it. ("It's true that God is all-powerful, but he doesn't bully innocent people. Job 36:5 MSG. Behold! God is mighty, and yet despises no one nor regards anything as trivial; He is mighty in power of understanding and heart. Job 36:5 AMP) Which is why right from the garden of eden, man was allowed to exercise his will, choose to obey God's will and enjoy all the benefits or choose his own will and live by the consequences. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:1-13 NIV) Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I SET BEFORE YOU TODAY LIFE and PROSPERITY, DEATH and DESTRUCTION. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE and DEATH, BLESSINGS and CURSES. NOW CHOOSE LIFE, SO THAT you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NIV) Jesus showed us the most excellent way, total submission or ALIGNMENT of MAN's WILL to God's own Will. Up from that day till the end of time for as many as follow after His step, will reap the benefits of this obedience. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. YET NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS YOU WILL.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:36-44 NIV)
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