An early morning airport run cramps the time I have to chew on what I’ve read this morning, so I dip back into the archives for a “pre-packaged meal.”
The verse that caught me as I was reading was in Numbers 14:
But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed out of the camp.
(Numbers 14:44 ESV)
But they presumed . . .
Swelled up with their own boldness, they determined to pursue their own wisdom, all based on their own will and understanding, and were heedless to the instruction of God. They came up with their own Plan B when they didn’t think God’s Plan A was appropriate. They leaned on their own corrupt understanding rather than heeding God’s perfect determined will. They balked rather than believed.
But without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). And, without faith, it is impossible to walk with God.
Here’s some thoughts about faith from 2008 . . .
So it hits me again this morning . . . faith is the “secret sauce” to figuring out how to walk this Christian life. Maybe some would say, “Duh! . . . everyone knows that!” but as I read this morning I am again convinced that so often we try and make this Christian life more complicated than it needs to be . . . when really, it comes down to the basics . . . to the “pat answers” . . . to just believing that what God has said, He will do.
Psalm 53 this morning reminds that “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ” All creation which encompasses us screams, “God!!” . . . looking at my face as I shave in the morning and being reminded of the wondrous construction of the human body (which prevents me from slitting my throat on a consistent basis when shaving) screams, “God!” And yet the fool refuses to believe . . . and says, “No God!!”
Then I read Numbers 14 and what chaos!!! All the congregation of Israel is lifting up their voices and crying and weeping all night. They are on the edge of the promised land . . . and the spies have come back . . . and 10 have said, “No way can we take that land . . . it will eat us up . . . it is inhabited by giants. And 2 have said, “No problem . . . let’s do it!! . . . If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into the land and give it to us (v.8)” But the people don’t believe it and so they turn on Moses and Aaron, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in the wilderness!” (v.2) . . . and they determine to elect new leaders who will take them back to Egypt. Back to slavery and bondage!! That’s what they choose to do rather than believe in the God who led them out of Egypt . . . the God who appeared on the mount . . . the God who revealed Himself as the cloud over the tabernacle by day and the fire by night . . . and led them to the land He promised. And it all comes down to this, “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?” (v.11) God says, “I don’t get it. When will they believe in Me? . . . when will they exercise some faith?!!”
And then the oasis in this desert of all this faithlessness . . . my reading takes me to Romans 5 and the spring of living water in this tapestry of foolish unbelief . . . “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) Romans 4 demonstrates how Abraham was justified by faith . . . Abraham believed God . . . his faith was accounted for righteousness . . . he is the father of all who believe . . . and of those who walk in the steps of faith . . . therefore it is of faith . . . just as Abraham “did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (4:20-21) There it is . . . fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised — that’s faith.
That’s the faith that would have allowed a generation of Israelites to enjoy the “land of milk and honey” rather than wander for 40 years on its outskirts and then perish in the desert. That’s the faith I exercised when I trusted in God’s Son for the salvation of my soul — the faith that resulted in my justification and peace with God. And, that’s the faith I need to exercise as I try to walk this Christian pilgrimage. I have access by faith into God’s sustaining, empowering grace and it is what keeps me keeping on as I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 5:2) I just need to believe it . . . and act on it.
And, I hear Jesus words in Mark 9:23-24 this morning saying to me, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” . . . and I respond, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
By His grace. For His glory.