Posted 09 May 2013
Psalm 106, verse 24-25 struck me this morning. Here is that reading:
Psalms 106:24-25 (NLT)
24 The people refused to enter the pleasant land,
for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.
25 Instead, they grumbled in their tents
and refused to obey the Lord.
The Psalm refers back in time to when the Hebrew people left Egypt (the Exodus) & saw the amazing power of God divide the Red Sea for them to pass through. Only a few days later (unbelievably!) they had “forgotten” that display of God’s power & favour towards them, & were now grumbling about the wilderness they were passing through.
The phrase that caught my attention was ‘… they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them’.
How often do we doubt God’s goodness towards us, even after a display of His commitment to us?!
Even though God has promised time & again ‘to never leave us nor forsake us’  & ‘to prosper us & not harm us’ , yet we STILL do not believe Him. It’s as if we hardly dare hope that God might want us to prosper. It seems as if somehow we are more “comfortable” with Him NOT caring for us! Perhaps we think we don’t DESERVE to be looked after by God. In effect we sort of say, “if you only knew what I was really like God, then you wouldn’t want to help me!” But, of course, God DOES know EXACTLY what we are like – warts & all! And the truth is, that despite our best efforts to reject God’s help & assistance, He STILL persists, all of our lives, to offer His love, kindness, care & council. What amazing patience God has with his creations!
Perhaps the real source of the trouble, SELF-DOUBT, rather than “God-doubt”.
I wonder if the issue is not so much that we don’t believe God & His promises, but rather that we DOUBT OURSELVES; our motives & “true” natures. But we simply MUST remember that God KNOWS our true natures, through & through. Nothing disqualifies us for God’s grace, because that grace IS undeserved; that is the definition of grace: UN-DESERVED FAVOUR.
God chooses to lavish His undeserved favour on us; He wants to help us. Yet, in spite of His continued promises & words of encouragement (recorded for us in the Bible) to simply believe in His benevolence, more often than not we “throw it back in God’s face” by reacting today (in the 21st century) just as the Hebrew people did during the Exodus (circa1440 BC), with the conclusion: ‘… they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them’.
There is a rather chilling consequence outlined in Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary, in response to our continuing doubt regarding God’s motivation of wanting to do us good:
‘Those that will not wait for God’s counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts’ lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach.’
(Source: Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.)
That sounds a bit “wordy”, but I gather Matthew Henry was saying that if we will not accept God’s words, reassurances & good council (designed to help us & bless us) then we will inevitably follow our own ideas (our council) & that will lead us inexorably away from God’s blessings, & into a condition where we will not have peace of mind, security, confidence, but rather we will have, ‘uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach.’
I think that is a very real danger, especially for those of us who seem unable (or is more accurate to say unwilling?) to accept the “simple” truth that God is ‘for us & not against us’ .
One of two positions.
In the end we have to EITHER 1) accept that God wants what’s best for us (in spite of all our sins, errors, wrong-doings, doubts, etc) or else 2) we reject Him & His motives.
Sorry if that sounds stark, but what else is there?
We either accept the profoundly self-affirming pleasure of simply CHOOSING to trust God; what the Bible says; what other Christians have experienced & “know” about God, or else we stumble over this point, & actually reject that truth.
There appears to be no middle position that we could hold; partial trust & partial mistrust doesn’t seem possible!
There is great power in simply CHOOSING to TRUST that what the Bible says about God (that He is love , that He cares for us  & that God is entirely trustworthy ) is actually true. Once you “come down on that side” of the argument, then there is GREAT peace of mind, GREAT simplicity of faith, GREAT confidence, security & self-worth to be had.
I’ve just found a very good, helpful & uplifting blog about the trustworthiness of God, especially in personal suffering. This lady’s talent is in explaining the “So what?” of reading the Bible, in practical, real terms, during our times of suffering.
Here’s this lady’s conclusion in the 2nd of her 4 articles:
‘The argument of Romans 8 is from the greater to the lesser: Since God is absolutely trustworthy in all aspects of your salvation, you can wholeheartedly trust Him in your present suffering. If He is trustworthy in the big thing, then He is trustworthy in the small things. The promises of God for your salvation in the past, present, and future, are guaranteed, and so you can trust in His promises that He cares for you even now. “Is God trustworthy in your suffering?” The answer is a resounding and eternal “YES.”’
Here are the links to her 4 blog articles. I found them VERY uplifting, & I would heartily recommend that you read them:
1) God in the Storm: Jonah 1
2) God is Trustworthy, Part 2: Is God Trustworthy in Your Suffering?
3) God is Trustworthy, Part 3: Seeing Him as He Really Is
4) God is Trustworthy, Part 4: What Does Real Trust Look Like?
Deuteronomy 31:6 (ANIV)
6 [Moses said,] “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (ANIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Romans 8:28 (ANIV)
28 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….
Romans 8:31 (ANIV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? …
Romans 8:38-39 (ANIV)
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 4:7-8 (ANIV)
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 Peter 5:7 (ANIV)
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
John 16:26-27 (ANIV)
26 “In that day you will ask in my [Jesus’] name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.
27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”
Romans 5:8 (ANIV)
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalms 9:10 (ANIV)
10 Those who know your [God’s] name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalms 111:7-8 (ANIV)
7 The works of his [God’s] hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness.
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