Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Question of Faith

We're all faced with frightening things from time to time, and reading in Joshua made me think:
Did the Lord just tell him to "Be strong and courageous" or was the command directed to us all? He tells Joshua that over and over again in Chapter 1, and in the middle of it he adds, "Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." What a fantastic encouragement. He would not give anyone orders if it were not possible to carry them out. The only question that still remains is - was that exhortation for everyone who believes God, down through the ages? Or, are there those, so damaged mentally or physically, that faith wasn't meant for?

We do know that God desires none to be lost, and saves all who call on His name; and we are told that we are not tried beyond what we can bear. We are further encouraged in the New Testament: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:10-11) Each according to their measure of faith, can be strong because "the Lord your God will be with you."

Jesus asks his disciples (us?) "where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25a) And, many times he healed people and told them, "your faith has healed you." (Luke 8:48) Reading the other day, I was struck by the faith of Mary, noticing at the wedding celebration (John 2:3) that their friends had run out of wine and were about to be greatly embarrassed, she simply tells Jesus about the situation, confident that he can take care of it. And, what great faith, on being told by an angel that she would have a child by the Holy Spirit, which would have been a terrifying situation for a young girl in that time. But, she said, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Luke 1:38 And we also have the encouragement of that great chapter on faith, Hebrews 11.

Back in Joshua, Chapter 3 - the priests were to go ahead of the people - demonstrating in a living visible way, their trust in what God had told them. They were to walk right into the river, in expectation and faith that there would be a way opened. I like that he had leadership going ahead of the congregation, modeling a walk of faith that the rest could follow. Taking God at his Word = belief. Before they had been following a pillar of cloud or fire through the desert, and now they were following their leaders in obedience to God's command. As we
("A royal priesthood") are to be listening to the Holy Spirit, and checking that our leaders do as well.

I don't know where this post is going, only that I do wonder about our various capacities for hearing from God and walking in faith. We know though, that the final faith required is that anyone who would be saved must trust in God's Messiah, Jesus, and follow him. Romans 3:24 and 5:11.

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