How many times have you been in a situation where you were waiting on God and He seemed to be moving at a snail's pace or not moving at all? Then when God does move, He asks us to do something that seems ridiculous, or maybe to others it looks absolutely bonkers? This month we are going to look at faith from a different perspective.
Have you ever tried to understand Bible stories in a new light by looking at them from today's vernacular? If not, then let's look at a few stories that might make
you laugh at how God stretches our faith. After all, this is the faith portion of the Faith News Niagara website.
Deuteronomy 34 outlines the death of Moses and tells us how the people mourned his death; it also mentions that Joshua was filled with the Spirit of wisdom.
Then in the first chapter in the next book God says to Joshua, "Joshua, Moses is dead!" I can picture it now; Joshua is standing before God in a dumfounded daze, his eyes are squinted and his brow is furrowed while his head is tilted slightly as shakes his head, "God, I already know that Moses is dead, we mourned his death already. Why are you stating the obvious?"
Then God goes on to tell Joshua to be strong and of good courage, but He says it three times and then says, “Do not be afraid or dismayed.” God also repeats himself to Joshua by saying that He will be with him.
When Joshua tells the Israelites about God's plans, they repeated what God said to Joshua: God is with you, be strong and of good courage.
Do you think Joshua got the point yet? Why do you suppose it had to be repeated over and over again to remember that God is with him and to be strong and of good courage? It's because in the following chapters the Israelites were about to take the first part of their promised land. Jericho was first on the list, and God was going to do it in such a way that required them to be strong and of good courage to do it the way God said to.
Here is what it looks like in today's language. “I gave you the Promised Land already, now go get it. In order to get it I want you to stand in the river with the Arch, and the water will stop flowing and the land will dry up for you so you can cross. Walk around a fortified city once a day for seven days and keep quiet, don't say a word. While you are marching have the priests blow seven trumpets. On the last day walk around the city seven times then when you're done I want you to shout as you blow the trumpets.”
Now do you see why Joshua needed to be strong and to be of good courage to trust God? This is a huge exercise in Joshua's faith muscles. I bet a few people thought Joshua was nuts! This took a lot of courage to do as God asked of him.
Have you ever been asked of God to do something that just doesn't make sense in order to be healed, prosper, or grow spiritually? Think of the story of Joshua and be encouraged. I know personally I've felt compelled to sow and sow without seeing any signs of reaping. I have felt compelled to worship with singing and dancing right in the middle of trouble which didn't make sense to me. I have felt compelled to thank God and sing worship songs while waiting for breakthrough. Have you ever felt this way?
What about the story of Elijah, when he was told to stay with a poor widow and her son in 1 Kings 17:7-16? Elijah needed food, and was told to stay with her and she'd take care of him.
Check out Joshua Ray’s book "Your Church Won't Teach You This: Get the Inside Scoop on Interpreting the Bible" on amazon.com. For further reading about renewing the mind Joshua will be publishing a book series on amazon.com called “Renewing the mind.” Watch for his book release this month.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Faith News Niagara and Joshua Ray are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.
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“God are you serious? This isn't funny to me. I'm going to look like an idiot if I do this thing you are asking of me.”
He gets to her place and he sees that she is poor; she's “broken because she is broke.” He must have had a least a single thought come to his mind, “are you serious God? She is so poor that she is going to die of starvation, and I'm going to die with her!”
Elijah asks her for food anyway. Can you image the woman looking at him like he's crazy? "Are you nuts? Here I am gathering sticks to cook my last meal before I die of starvation and you want me to give you my last meal? Ain't nobody got time for that!”
Remember the story in Matthew 14:13-21? The disciples told Jesus that He should send the crowds away so they can go to the village and find something to eat. What did Jesus say to them?
“You give them something to eat,” was His reply.
Here is what their response would have looked like today; “WHAT!? You want us to feed them? Oh sure, we have 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Since there are 5,000 people here each one can have a crumb and one fish scale each. That'll do it! Or maybe we can have fish soup with a piece of bread the size of a pebble.”
In the book of Acts 9:10-19 Ananias was told to go to the house of a man who was on a murderous spree, killing Christians for the sake of religion. Oh, and let's not forget the fact that Ananias is a Christian walking into the “lions den.” What was Ananias' response? “Oh…ummm…Jesus? I just want to remind you, that this guy is killing your church and I might go to prison. You are aware of this, right? You do see what's going on with this guy, right?”
When it comes to faith, oftentimes it crosses the boundaries of human reason. I often wonder if God is getting a chuckle out of stretching our faith and seeing how we respond sometimes. I know I've said, “God are you serious? This isn't funny to me. I'm going to look like an idiot if I do this thing you are asking of me.”
In retrospect I know that if I don't do what He asks of me I will feel like a fool for not doing what He said in the first place. I would regret missing out on an exciting and adventurous life or I might probably miss out on a huge blessing that He could see coming my way.
As I get older, I've reasoned that it is better to do the faith stretching act that God requires of me simply because He has a purpose for everything He asks of me. In the end, God loves me and He is not doing it to make me feel bad, but He is doing it for my own good. I've come to agree with Paul when he says, “I choose to please God and not man.” It just seems rational to respond to the One who has my best interest at heart and not care what others think of me. After all, nobody can do for me what God can do for me.
If you are still waiting on God and nothing seems to make sense to you at this point, don't fret because God is always on time. God is always moving at the right pace to put things in place to grow your faith. Sometimes moving slowly is in the same category as asking us to do something beyond our human reason; it still serves the purpose to stretch our faith. So, as you wait, go rejoice and take time to smell the flowers!