I was reading Deuteronomy last night (I know, who does that?!), and I was struck by something. Deuteronomy 1:19-33 describe the people of Israel's refusal to enter into Canaan, the land promised to them by the Lord. This was because they were afraid of the people there, even though Moses had assured them that "The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place" (Deut. 1:30-31 ESV). This is followed up by a tragic statement of Moses: "Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God, who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go" (1:32-33).
What struck me is how, despite our typical willingness to criticize the Israelites, I am often guilty of unbelief as well. I am often guilty of doubting God. Specifically, I am guilty of doubting His promises of protection and not experiencing the comfort His sovereignty should bring. My theology is sound. I've had training in it. However, what I affirm with my lips I seem to deny with my lifestyle. When I'm afraid to speak up for Christ or to minister in certain areas or to really, truly die to myself every second of everyday, is it not because of unbelief? Is it not because I don't trust God enough? Is it because I love the world (1 John 2:15) and so am afraid of letting it go? May God reveal my heart and purify it!
As the passage from Deuteronomy shows, it is possible to see and experience the greatness of God and then still doubt Him. Am I guilty of this? May God forgive! Praise Him for the grace that is in Jesus!
I might be the only believer guilty of these things. But I doubt it ;). As such, I hope this post will help us all to reflect on our hearts, ask God to show us the sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1), to resolve to die to ourselves every second of everyday (in the power of the precious Holy Spirit), and to praise God for His incredible patience and love. May we also be unafraid to be honest with each other about our struggles (something I also struggle with). Finally, may our ultimate prayer be for God to glorified in everything. May that be our true, consuming desire.
Grace and Peace,
Curtis J. Dupree