Friday, May 7, 2010

I believe...I think!

Say what you want about Facebook but it can be used for something positive from time to time. A week or so ago a Facebook friend had a wall posting that was a quote from someone else that said "There is a big difference between believing in God and believing God". The more I thought about that the more I realized how much truth was in that simple statement. Many people are quick to say they believe in God. In reality that is the "easy" part. Believing in God does not require much. Sure there is faith involved in believing in God but many who say they believe in God do not really seem to know which god they believe in. Many times you will see a musician or actor get on stage and say "I want to thank God." and the crowd cheers. But if you look at the lyrics to the song he or she sings or you go to the movie he or she starred in you have to ask yourself which god are they thanking? The other half of the statement I just quoted is the hard part - believing God. This requires tremendous faith. Believing God means you understand who it is you believe in. It means you know him through spending time in his word, you spend time praying and communicating with him. However, believing God may be easy sometimes and difficult other times. I never cease to be amazed at how God uses his word and these everyday experiences to teach me about him. As I mentioned in my previous post I am reading through I Kings. As this thought about believing in God verses believing God is in the back of my mind I read the rest of the story of Elijah. Just a day or so ago I read about the faith of Elijah and how he trusted or believed God:

I Kings 17: 1-5-  1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." 2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there." 5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

In verses 3 and 4 God told him to go live in a ravine and let the ravens bring you food. As crazy as that sounds Elijah did what the LORD said according to verse 5. Elijah believed God. Later in I Kings 18 Elijah takes on 450 prophets of Baal and challenges them to invoke their god to send fire to consume a sacrifice. They are unable to do so but Elijah calls on the LORD and after dousing the offering and the altar with several gallons of water, Elijah calls on God to send fire from heaven and he does. The fire consumes the sacrifice, the altar and the water. Again, Elijah believes God. However, (don't you just love that word) just a chapter later in I Kings 19 look at what happens to Elijah:

I Kings 19: 1 - 5-  1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

Elijah saw the mighty works of God over and over and how he provided for Elijah over and over but when a threat against his life is made he runs like a coward into the desert! (and I would probably do the same) It appears as though he is having a Woe is Me moment! Apparently this time he believed in God he just did not believe God. He prayed to God, showing his belief in God he just didn't believe God would protect him from this threat. It seems as though he forgot everything God had done for him up until this point. Elijah is not the only one of God's men who has done this. There is story after story of men who believed God at one time and later they cowered under pressure or tried to do things their way instead of God's. Just read I and II Samuel to see how David believed God early in his life but failed miserably later in life. King Solomon did the same thing and the list goes on and on. If these mighty men failed in this area we are capable of doing the same. If we are to avoid this we need to learn from their mistakes, we need to recall the times when God provided for us and realize that he will never leave us or forsake us. He may allow us to go through the fire to be tested and made stronger but he will always be there with us. We can do more than believe in him, we can believe him.

No comments:

Post a Comment