Job 12-15, Psalm 138
For anyone who has ever been involved in an automobile accident, there is generally those 1-2 seconds just prior to impact which seem to occur in slow motion when you realize you are powerless to alter your outcome and you simply brace for impact. This occurred last summer as our car was hit on the passenger side where I was sitting and another time when my car hydroplaned and began spinning. Faith by definition in Hebrews 11:1, is "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The question we must all ask ourselves is whether our faith is in God or in what He might do for us? Does our faith rest on His ability to accomplish our will by His strength or does it rest on His will for our lives? Do we make statements like, "I know that God will see me through" or do we say, "Even if this does not turn out as planned, my faith in God will not change"? In 1956 when Jim Eliot, missionary to the Auca Indians, died at their hands being speared to death, His wife Elisabeth returned one year later with their child to reach the Auca Indians. Her faith was in God, not her husband, not the ability to alter the outcome of what transpired.
The suffering of Job was much worse than any man and much worse than any of us could even imagine, yet we read his words in 3:15-16, "Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him...He also shall be my salvation...". Despite his circumstances and despite some of his questioning and complaining, Job's faith was firmly planted on God. Despite the fact that Job's body was covered in painful boils, with the loss of all of his possessions and all of his children, with his friends nonstop accusations of him, Job takes a stance for faith. In the book of Daniel we read of the event when King Nebuchadnezzar commanded all of the people to bow down and worship the gold image which he erected. When he is told that Daniel's three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego refuse to worship his image, the King becomes furious and said in Daniel 3:15, "...But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?" We see their response in Daniel 3:16-18, "...O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." The faith of these three men rested on God alone, not on His choice to save them or not. I'm sure as they were tossed into the furnace it must have seemed like slow motion as they were powerless to alter their own outcomes, with their fate completely resting in the hands of their God.
For those of us who live now with the truth of the Gospel message, our faith should be secure since we trust in Jesus' promise of eternity. Life on earth may not turn out like we planned, but life in heaven will be better than our minds can comprehend. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Our faith must not rest in believing that we can get God to do what we want Him to do, but in believing and trusting in that He will do what is best for us according to His will for our lives. Jon Courson said, "Even if the affliction doesn't go away, even if the problem continues, even if the solution doesn't come, faith says, "Though You slay me, I will still trust You because You were slain for me. You gave up everything because You love me. Therefore, I embrace whatever You decide to do. You see things I don't. You know things I can't." That is faith. Faith in Him, not our circumstances. As we go through life praying for this and that, may we never forget that He is worthy of our faith despite our circumstances.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: