Saturday, 17 October 2009

Can I trust God?

Since starting my studies at Bible school, I have been virtually inundated with lessons from the Bible. While I have been gaining a lot of factual knowledge, much more importantly, I have been blessed by being able to apply what I have been learning to my own life.

In my class on the Pentateuch, I was particularly gripped by one question that kept cropping up: “Can I trust God?” It has been amazing for me to see how often this is the question that is asked in the first five books of the Old Testament.

It starts with the very first human beings, Adam and Eve, to whom God had given just one commandment: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16b-17). Everything else was allowed for them. But, as we learned in class, once Eve was temped by Satan, she doubted the sovereignty and majesty of God, the holiness of God, the goodness of God, the motive of God and the integrity of the word of God. Eve’s problem was that she now doubted the only One who could help her! Both she and Adam chose to believe Satan’s lie that God was trying to keep something good back from them and therefore ate of the forbidden fruit. Immediately afterwards, they realised what a terrible mistake it was not to trust God. It changed their – and our – lives on earth forever bringing sin and pain and a threefold death (physical, spiritual and eternal). If only they had trusted God!

Later, we see Abraham, who in many ways was a great example of faith, asking himself the same question: “Can I trust God?” He demonstrated great faith by following God’s call to the Promised Land, but once a famine hit the country, he decided to take matters into his own hands and flee to Egypt, showing that he did not believe God would take care of him. Once in Egypt, he felt compelled by fear to lie about the identity of his wife, again without entrusting the matter to God. And he repeated this same sin later in his life. But God was taking care of him all the time. As he grew old and his wife Sarah bore him no children, both he and Sarah again did not trust God, but instead devised their own plans to have children through their handmaid Hagar. But God had earlier promised him that his children would be as many as the stars in heaven. And God kept His promise. Sarah gave birth to their son Isaac when she was 91 years old and Abraham was 100 years old. Nothing is impossible with God!

And then when we move on to Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and read we story of how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt back to the Promised Land, we see how God miraculously intervened on behalf of His people to show Himself as mighty and glorious, but again and again, the people of Israel forgot what God had done for them and murmured and complained. How could they not have trusted God in simple matters when they had seen His mighty hand work wonders among them over and over again?

But then it comes down to us, you and me. Have we ever asked ourselves, “Can I trust God?” If we are Christians, maybe we would not say it out loud, but we show it by our thoughts and actions. How many times has it been true in our lives that we thought that God could or would not take care of us? How many times have we tried to take matters into our own hands without trusting God? And how often have we seen our own plans ultimately fail only to realise that it would have been better to trust God? Surely, if you know Christ as your Saviour, you will have experienced God’s love and power and goodness in your life. From my own life I can say that God has been good to me beyond measure, despite the fact that I have often failed Him. I cannot understand why God would want to shower His goodness on me, all I can say is that He is an amazing, wonderful and faithful God! And yet, there are times when I struggle to trust Him, when I ask myself this very question, “Can I trust God?” But every time I ask myself that question I must come back to the answer, “Yes, totally and absolutely!” Who else can I trust if not God? I can see God’s faithfulness to His children all through His Word and all through my own life as well as in the lives of others. May we learn to trust Him more and more for the praise of His glory.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psalm 42:5)


gb said...

Dear Michael,
Thanks for sharing valuable thoughts about trusting God. It is the very basic foundation for every Christian in His walk with God. I would like to add few thoughts to it. The Bible emphasizes the fact that "Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust". At times, due to our lack of faith and confidence or doubt in God we step out of faith act on our own and then learn the lessons through hardships. Yea, as God is gracious and faithful, He is not casting us away but still working on us compassionately despite our failures. I have been struggling for a while about the same issue trusting in God, which you mentioned. Recently, God has drwn my attention through His word (Mark 12-26)and build my faith, I thank Him for His everlasting love. Here Jesus spoke with the fig tree and later Jesus told His disciples "Have faith in God,I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him." According to Hebrews 11:6, we know that "and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him".

Michael said...

Amen, brother! Thanks for the additional thoughts!