I just finished reading Rebecca Brown’s book, Becoming A Vessel Of Honor*, and one of the things that challenged me was the question of whether or not I trust God. Her stories are incredible, to say the least, and the revealed power of God is unquestionable. In one part, she says that God asked her whether she was going to believe Him or, essentially, call Him a liar. That hit home for me, because I often question whether God will do things. I call Him a liar when I don’t act on the truth that He states. For example, if He says He forgives us, and then we act like we’re still under condemnation, then we call Him a liar. More challenging, if He says that He gives us authority and armor so that we can stand against the attacks of the enemy, and we don’t use it or we question if it works, then we call Him a liar. I struggle with this a lot. I wonder if He delivers me when He says He does, I wonder if He will provide when He promises He will, I wonder all kinds of things even though they’re things He promises. So do I believe Him? If I say I believe Him, do I act as though I believe Him? Do I trust His word and live out my redemption, my deliverance, my provision? Ouch. What about you? * affiliate link
“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it will be evident that such overwhelming power comes from God, and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 This is such a simple verse, but it’s pretty profound. We hear all the time that we are jars of clay, fashioned to do the work of God; however, this is another side to the clay. If we were made of something other than clay, say metal or iron or even porcelain, then it wouldn’t be obvious that the things in our lives that happen are from God. If we were made of iron or metal, then we could say (or others might think) that the miraculous things happen as a result of our own power and strength. Conversely, if we were made of porcelain, then it could be claimed that the miraculous things happen because we are beautiful or well-made. But clay pots are simple. Even when they’re painted and decorated, there’s still a simplicity and delicateness about them. They’re not always the ones to stand out, but they are useful and are used for everyday tasks, for serving, and for storing. In the same way, we serve others, we carry the Holy Spirit in us, and God uses us for everyday tasks. Our strength comes from God, and the overwhelming power given, can only come from from Him!
Exodus 16:3 The people of Isra’el said to [Moshe and Aharon], “We wish ADONAI had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!” Before we get to the main point, let’s put this verse into context. God had just finished defeating the gods of Egypt, had lead His people out with all the gold and silver of the Egyptians, and had opened the Red Sea for the people of Isra’el to walk through (and had washed away the Egyptian armies when the sea closed back again). And He had just provided water for them to drink by having Moshe throw a piece of wood into the bitter water, turning it sweet, and then leading them to a beautiful oasis with 12 springs and 70 palm trees. Reading this, it seems incredible and ridiculous that the people of Isra’el would so quickly forget all the amazing things that God had done in order to get them to this point! But, isn’t that what we do? We forget. We forget the ways that God has provided for us in the past. We forget the ways He has rescued us from sticky situations. We forget the miracles that He has worked in our lives. We just forget. We aren’t all that different from these people. I think this story in the Bible is there to remind us that God does provide. It’s easy to think, “Man! These people were ridiculous! They kept doubting and testing God!” But, that’s missing the point. The story isn’t there to make us look down on the people of Isra’el. It’s there to make us examine our own lives. How many times have I seen God meet my needs in awesome (and sometimes miraculous) ways, and then the very next time I have a need, I panic. I forget what God has done, and I start stressing out. Granted, I haven’t seen anything like the Red Sea parting, but I know God’s hand has been in other parts of my life. That’s the beauty of the Bible. We may forget, but it’s there to help us remember. So, what’s the point? The next time a need arises, or the next time when the situation seems overwhelming. Look back at those times when God pulled you through in the past. He’s not going to bring you this far and then abandon you! The Hebrew view of time is to walk backwards into the future, always looking at the past, and using the signposts of God to guide the directions we need to go. We don’t know the future, we can’t see what God is about to do, but we can see where He’s been and the things He’d done in our past. And we can use that to remind us to trust Him. Faith is a verb. Look back and remember. Then move forward with confidence that our God is bigger than any problem we’ll ever face.