Tuesday, November 6, 2012

FAITH! WHAT IS IT EXACTLY? Part 1

So what exactly is faith?  I mean we have all heard the Biblical definition of faith from Hebrews 11:1,

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance 
about what we do not see."  

And I would agree that this is by far the most meaningful and beneficial definition that any person can hold to.  But in order to help us begin to view Biblical faith in God differently but in total agreement with what Hebrews says I would like to offer the following:


Faith Is Following God's Instructions Even 
When It Doesn't Make Sense!
"By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."  Hebrews 11:8
Can you imagine that conversation between Abraham and God?  Think about it for a second and imagine with me if you would how that conversation went:

God, 'Abraham.' Abraham, 'Yes God I'm listening.'   God, 'Abraham I want to pack up your bags and get ready to move.'  Abraham, 'O.k. God, sure. When will I be leaving?'  God, 'I'll tell when it's time to leave but for now just make sure that you, your family and all your servants are packed and ready to go when I tell you.' Abraham, 'Sure God if you say so. That's no problem.  So where exactly are we going?'  God, 'That's not for you to know right now but once I tell you to leave I will also tell you what direction to go and when you get there.'  Abraham, 'Well I guess that's alright.  How long will it take for us to get there?'  God, 'Not for you to know.  You just keep on going until I tell you to stop.'  Abraham, 'Well if you say so I guess I can do that but let me make sure I understand you clearly. You want me, my family and all of my servants to pack up and get ready to relocate to a place that's an unknown destination, I'm not sure when we will be leaving exactly and I don't know how long it will take to get there.  Is that correct God?'  God, "Yes that's exactly correct. Do you have a problem with that?'  Abraham, 'No, not at all. I was just checking."

So let me ask you from our human perspective does it make a bit of sense to pack for a journey that you are going to take at some unknown point in your life, to go on that journey without any idea how long it will take to get there and without any map or instructions on how to get there?

NO!  IT MAKES NO BIT OF SENSE!

But that's faith in God.  He tells us to do something but it doesn't make a bit of sense to us but we do it anyhow!  Why? Because we trust God and we trust that he can do anything even if it doesn't make sense to us.

I don't think that it made a bit of sense to Gideon to engage in a battle with his enemy numbering 10,000 soldiers when his army army had been downsized by God to only 300 men.
"So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash,the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”  Judges 7:5-24 (NIV)

Really does that make any human sense?  Does it make sense to downsize your army to 300 men and tell them to shout, blow horns and reveal some light from lamps that each man was holding and then as a result then enemy would run around and kill themselves.  Not unless it's God who is doing it.

You see Gideon had faith in God just like Abraham to believe that God would do exactly what he said he would do even when what he said doesn't make a bit of sense from our earthly experience.

So how well are you following God's instructions?  Do you ever get a word from the Lord and then try to redefine it because what you understood from God doesn't make sense?  Why do you think that God gives us instruction that don't make sense and shouldn't work at all?  Why?

Because God is doing something that will prove that he really does exist and can do anything!  That's why!

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