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Faith Toward God (35)


In our last broadcast, we saw that reasoning or wanting to make sense of things, reliance on the opinions of experts, trusting in our vision and abilities, as well as in man and in military prowess, erode and remove our trust in God. These factors give us a similitude of something to put our confidence in; but they are unreliable, and unable to help, or even give us, a proper direction in life. Indeed, we saw from the word of God that vain is the help of man, armoured tanks, high-level security apparatus, and even trusting in our own abilities. Man is limited in many ways, and to depend on our own limited abilities or another mans, is foolhardy, when Gods offer of trustworthy help is available. God is limitless and inexhaustible in what He can do. Why trust a man who cannot stop himself from falling sick? The faith of many-a-Christians have been ruined because of dependency on these forces that are no forces at all. It is like a blind man being led by another blind manboth of them will fall into a ditch; both the helper and the helped will be disappointed if they dont turn to the One true Helperthe Lord God Almighty! Reliance on reasoning, the opinion of experts, the trust of man or of men, our own abilities, the abilities or military prowess of nations, and our sight, makes us unable to depend on God, for they kill our faith in God, and get us to turn away from God unto earthly things. When we look at the accounts of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, and eventually, into the land God had promised them, we see that it was simply by trusting God that all these tasks were achieved. Had Moses decided to take on the challenge of freeing Israel on his own, he would have failed. Indeed, when he was forty years old and strong and able to fight, he tried unsuccessfully to free Israel in his own strength and ability, but he failed woefully, and became a fugitive from the law. But at the age of eighty, when he was not as strong and agile, God had visited and empowered him, and as he depended on God, so was he able to bring about two million Israelites out of Egypt! If Moses had given a thought to the obstacle which the Red Sea posed in the path of Israel during the Exodus, he would never have left Egypt, because he would have had to think about the cost of bridge-building, which would have included human and material resources necessary to accomplish the task. And if you add into the mix, a two-year stay in the wilderness, then definitely, another set of planning for many more years to come would have kept Israel in Egypt for ever. How much do you think they would have needed to feed two million people for one day, and then one month, and then one year, and then two years? And if they had chosen to work and earn the money for the Exodus, they never would have been able to do itnot even in a million years! Thus, in Hosea 12:13, the bible says, And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. Please note that God did not say that it was by a military General that Israel came out of Egypt, neither was it by an astute politician, nor was it by a man who was favoured by the Egyptian Pharaoh. Indeed, it was by a man who as a fugitive from the Egyptian justice system, but who had metamorphosed by Gods intervention into a prophet, that Israel came out of Egypt. It was not by any mathematical calculations, or scientific analysis, or social studies; it was by the strong hand of God! It was simply faith in God that got Moses and Israel out of Egypt. It was faith in God that enabled Israel to cross the Red Sea on dry ground, without having to build a bridge; it was by faith in God that the nation of Israel was fed and kept alive in the wilderness for forty years, where there were no farms, no supermarkets, no shops, no banks, and so on! In Deuteronomy 8:4, this is what God said about their stay in the wilderness: Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Friend, God said to them that their clothes did not get old for a period of forty years! Neither did they develop swollen feet, even though they were on foot in a terrible wilderness for forty years! One wonders what we can hope to achieve therefore, by planning our lives, rather than hand it over into Gods able hands, to keep!

Well continue from where we left off in our last broadcast, as we move on to consider historical antecedence, as a faith killer. Many people are unable to put their trust in God because they have never heard or seen what God is telling them to have ever happened. Thus, in the absence of historical antecedence, men will not believe the word of God. And yet, in Isaiah 48:6-7, God said, Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them. And in Isaiah 42:9, He said, Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Brethren, we serve a God Who always does new things. For example, before Namaan was cured of leprosy in 2 Kings 5:1-19, there was no leper ever cured in Israel or anywhere in the world. Until Isaac was born in Genesis 21:1-2, it had never been recorded anywhere that a 90-year-old woman had given birth after having conceived of child by her husband who was 99 years old at the time of conception; neither was a virgin ever found to have been pregnant without any human involvement, before Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 1:18! If we expect to have seen or experienced or even heard of something before we can believe it, then, we would never be able to trust God. Indeed, we would never be able to put our faith in Him! Mary, indeed, made a statement to the effect that what the angel from God was telling her had never happened before. In Luke 1:31-38 the angel told Mary, And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? [In other words, there is no historical antecedent of a virgin ever conceiving without human involvement!] And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. [Elizabeth had been certified barren by the medical practitioners of her day, which is why the angel used the term, she hath also conceived a son in her old age who was called barren. And even though it may be historically or medically impossible for a person who has been certified barren to conceive, the angel of God said,] For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Please let us note here that we are not talking of dreaming up things and seeking to force them into existence; no! We are talking about God giving you a word about something that is about to happen which has never before occurred! Many people are unable to trust God in the absence of any historical antecedenttheir faith was ruined because what the word of God told them had never happened before, so, they were unable to trust God. Our faith must be the attitude of Mary, when she said, be it unto me according to thy word. This statement by itself, is a statement of absolute trust in the word of God!

Also, regarding historical antecedence, we want to note that God cannot be pinned down to one methodology or to one approach to problem-solving. During the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, we saw that he opened blind eyes in many different ways: at one time, he made mud on the ground with saliva from his mouth and anointed the eyes of a blind man, and then asked him to go to a pool to wash; in another instance, he spat into the eyes of a blind man and asked him what he saw, and when the man said that he saw men like trees, the Lord touched his eyes, and this time, the blind man was able to see clearly; and in yet another instance of opening blind eyes, the Lord asked Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, what he wanted Him to do for him, and Bartimaeus said he wanted his eyes opened so that he could see, the Lord simply said to Bartimaeus, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole, and immediately, Bartimaeus received his sight. Friend, you cannot pin God down to a method. He can do all things, any how He desiresours is to follow His word!

In 1 Timothy 6:10, the bible says, For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. There are many people whose faith in God have been damaged or worse, destroyed, because of their love for money. An uncontrolled desire for wealth has made many so-called Christians to turn away from God and pursue after money. They have so depended on money that they cannot see anything happening if they do not have money. And yet there are a lot of things that God has done without money being involved, even though ordinarily, money would have been used to do those things. In the example of the Exodus which we enumerated earlier, we can see that Israel had no supermarket to go to, no shops to buy from, and no banks to borrow from, yet God sustained them in the wilderness! This is why God said in Matthew 6:33, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. What are all these things? They are the things which those who dont trust God seek after as a pursuit; things like clothes, food, accommodation, etc.; things that we would have said that you needed money to obtain them, but which God in His own way can bring to pass without the agency of money at all, or without money from your pocket. Please let us sound a note of warning here, because many Christians have developed a nature to always wait for handouts or freebies. Please note that while God can bring things our way without the agency of money, it is not something we anticipate without being informed or instructed by the word of God. Thus, if God tells you to get involved in a project which requires funds, and you dont have any, and you go to Him in prayer, and He tells you that that is not your business, then it means that He will provide the funds Himself; but to dream up a project yourself, and say, God will fund it is foolhardy!

This brings us to the role of false teachings as a faith killer. False teachings and their propagators seek only one thing: to turn you away from faith in God, and hence, false teachings are faith killers. In Deuteronomy 13:1-5, God warned Israel to beware of false prophets thus: If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. And in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, the bible warns us as follows: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Brethren, the ultimate goal of every false teaching and false prophecy is to turn you away from faith in God, thus ruining your faith in God. There are people who delight in churches where prophecy is the dealbeware! It is not that prophecy is by itself wrong, but the bible tells us to subject every prophecy to the test: 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Every prophecy, doctrine, and teaching must be subject to the proof of scripture. If it does not line up with the Holy Scriptures, they are to be discarded no matter how logical they may sound!

Beloved, let us be careful not to allow our selfish desires to get the better of us in our exercise of faith toward God. For many have allowed themselves to be misled by men promising them what God has not spoken of, all in the name of faith; when really, what they are doing is to turn you away from faith in God. And this is how to know that they have succeeded:
1. When it is what they say that matters, rather than what the word of God says;
2. When they tell you that without them, you cannot understand the word of God; and,
3. When they make themselves indispensable in your life.
Brethren beware, and remember that with God nothing is impossible; all things are possible; and, nothing is too hard for God. But this does not mean that God will do anything just for the sake of it.

Let us pray!