Monday, August 29, 2011
Faith or presumption?
"By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned." (Hebrews 11:29)
If the Israelites can run through on dry land we can too. So said the Egyptians. They really believed that they could. But we know better. They were not the people of God. So their faith was not real faith.
But often God's people have the same presumption. God's children say, "Let's go do the right thing and all will end well. " Not so. In Deuteronomy 1 God's people tried to take Canaan but also without real faith. God earlier had told them that they should conquer Canaan. But now Moses told the children of Israel that since they had been disobeying God by complaining (v. 27), not submitting to authority (v. 26), and not trusting God in their trials (v. 32) that God was not going to allow them to enter the Promised Land. So they "repented" (v. 41) and decided to go do the right thing and conquer the heathen for God anyway. But they "went presumptuously up into the hill." (v. 43) So they were "chased" by the Amorites and destroyed" and "wept before the Lord" but God would not hear them.
What's going on here? God's children thought that they had faith. But actually they were presuming on God. We also can do all the things that God tells us to do. Pray the prayer of faith, anoint with oil, take time out for spiritual disciplines, warn the heathen, preach, be instant in all seasons, finance God's work, reprove the works of darkness, forsake not the assembling of ourselves together, and ten thousand other things that God wants. But all is done presumptuously and without faith if we are harboring sin, walking against light, not single minded (Mt 6:22,23), or as the children of Israel, complaining, begrudging our authority structure, or not trusting in God in all circumstances. Or it may be that God doesn't want what we want and we need to listen to Him. Unless we do things God's way in order to have true faith our end result will also be a disaster like the Egyptians assaying to cross the Red sea or Israel going up and being smitten before the Amorites. Sure, God in his mercy may hear us and forgive us, but our work may be hindered or even lost. (1 Cor 3:13-15)
-Phillip (First published on 12-29-2007 on my old blog)