Believing

A pastor once was preaching and he made the statement:  "GOD SAID IT, I BELIEVE IT, THAT SETTLES IT!"

A little girl in the congregation raised her hand and when acknowledged she said, "Pastor, you're wrong!"

The surprised Pastor said, "What do you mean?  Why am I wrong?"

The girl answered, "Pastor, if God said it, then that settles it, whether you believe it or not!"

What do you believe about God, and what about all the promises we find in the Bible – do we believe, really believe that all these promises are true and real and that we can apply or appropriate them for ourselves? There is only one answer. . .yes we can!

There are passages in the Bible some people find hard to believe. . .the story just isn't logical, so they have tried to justify it with their own interpretation. I can understand that. From a logical perspective many of the Biblical stories are impossible – beginning with the story of creation, which confounds our scientific knowledge, and people living 800-900 years, and a bush that burns yet isn't consumed, and a million people walking on dry land through the Red Sea, and twelve foot thick walls (Jericho) come down because men marched around and then shouted. . .it's all just too much for our logical, educated minds to accept. It's hard to accept because we cannot grasp the might and majesty of our God.

We go about our day, we work, we eat, we play with our children, we watch TV, but we don't ever see a burning bush. We pray for relief from some calamity, malady, or affliction, and sometimes we see those prayers answered. . .and then Satan whispers, "Was that God? Or was that just a coincidence???" And we listen, and then there's doubt. Did God really promise that He will never leave me or forsake me??

To believe in ALL God's promises we must first believe in His Holy Word – the Bible. If you don't believe that "all scripture is God breathed" (2 Tim. 3:16) and that "prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God…" (2 Peter 1:20-21), then of course you have no foundation for believing anything written in the scriptures.

Jesus said our faith must be as that of a little child. Children have much less trouble believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. They believe because we have told them so. Little children are much more receptive to the words "Jesus loves me, this I know, 'cause the Bible tells me so". It is only as we mature, get educated, and allow our faith to be filtered by worldly logic and teaching that doubts in scripture come creeping in. It took me a few years to unlearn worldly views and to have confidence in what the Bible says – regardless of how illogical or impractical or even nonsensical it may appear to that world view. God said it – that's good enough for me.

As a Biblical teacher it is sometimes my sad duty to say that "I don't know why ____________". If God wants us to know something – He makes it clear to us. He has made it plain that we aren't to know – or understand – everything about our lives nor everything about His thoughts. (Is. 55:8-9; 1 Cor. 2:9) I often have to remind myself that while study of the scriptures is an imperative from God (2 Pet. 3:18) there is no verse or passage that says I must understand all that is written in His book.

So which of the promises of the Bible can we appropriate? How about Jeremiah 29:11?  It says God has a plan for me to prosper. Should I interpret that to mean I will get rich if I believe in Him? I think not…read the whole passage in context. God is promising the Jewish exiles in Babylon that He will return them to Jerusalem where His plan is that they will prosper. But even for the exiles prosperity doesn't equate with monetary wealth. So am I saying that verse is no more applicable for our lives than the parting of the Red Sea – certainly not!!

When God caused Jeremiah to write down these words for all eternity, surely He was not just conveying a sweet story for our entertainment. The lesson is that God does have a plan for all His children to prosper – to have hope and a future. But our prosperity is in Him; our future is our adoption by Him into His kingdom. Verses 12-14 define conditions for the promise – that we pray to Him, that we seek Him. Many of God's promises are conditional on our submission to Him, our obedience to His Holy Word, and our acknowledgement and confession of Christ's work on Calvary.

There are also unconditional promises, the one over-riding one of which is, "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:8) Jesus confirmed this with His promise, "…and I will be with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:20) The opening words of John 3:16 says that "God so loved the world". The world – that's you and me, all of us. There's no provision, no caveat, no conditions – God so loved the world. We are loved by God, like it or not, and that's a promise you can believe.

Believe in that one promise of His love and the rest just kinda fall in line.
Read also "Because God Has Said".
 

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