Monday, September 14, 2015

Bruised Reed and Dimly Burning Wick

Calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Luke 7:19

Doubt is not Unbelief

Many times when we are down trodden, beaten, worn out, and confused, doubt seeps into our thoughts. Just like any other sin, we don’t want to doubt, yet we find ourselves doubting over and over again. Doubt is part of the law at work in us, waging war against the confidence and trust that we have in God, bringing us into captivity by the law of sin which is at work within us.  Romans 7:23

      Yes, we know doubt is a sin, but how do we identify this sin which seems to have full dominion over us?  From a biblical perspective we must be careful in defining doubt, Doubt is not unbelief, unbelief is a lack of faith, the mindset of someone that does not want to trust God. So unbelief is an unwillingness to trust God while doubt is a weakness in trusting God. The two are not opposites of one another but they are surely not the same as one another. I define doubt this way.

Doubt is the reaction of the natural man because of his weakness and fragilities, when circumstances, fear, and difficult times come, lack the confidence to completely trust God.
Alister McGrath, in his article “When doubt becomes Unbelief” from the Ligonier Ministry website says (the name of the article signifying the difference) says “Unbelief is the decision to live your life as if there is no God.”   But when we doubt we know there is a God, however, we are just too weak and venerable to completely trust Him. That being said we must conclude that doubt is not unbelief!

No One is Above Doubt

     Greatness, or even being used by God mightily does not exempt us from doubt. Many great leaders have in their time of weakness when they doubted. Moses (Exodus 3:11  Exodus 4:1,10-13; Exodus 5:22-23  Exodus 6:12,30; Exodus 14:10-11, Numbers 11:13-15, Numbers 11:21-22, Numbers 13:31-33) Gideon (Judges 6:15, Judges 6:17,36-40) Jeremiah (Jeremiah1:6, Jeremiah 15:10 ) Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 12:12-13, Genesis 20:2Genesis 26:7 ) John the Baptist (Luke 7:19 ) Apostle Peter (Matthew 14:31) yet when we the how God used these men in spite of their doubt we are inspired to levels of faith.   

Consider the Prophet Elijah;
      Elijah boldly accuses Ahab the King of Israel and husband of Jezebel of troubling the people of Israel by allowing the worship of false gods. Then challenges Ahab to find out which was the true God.  “Go get 450 prophets of Baal and 400 female prophets of Asherah (of the groves) and meet me on Mount Carmel. Build two alters, one for Baal and one for Yahweh. The select two oxen of your choice, one the prophet of Baal would kill and lay upon the sacrifice, but not set afire and the other Elijah would kill and lay upon the alter but not set afire.  
     Then Elijah tells the prophets of Baal to pray to Baal for the fire to light the sacrifice. They pray from morning to noon without success. Elijah ridicules their efforts. They respond by cutting themselves and adding their own blood to the sacrifice but the fire did not light.
     Elijah now orders that the altar of Yahweh be drenched with water from "four large jars" poured three times (1 Kings 18:33–34). He asks God to accept the sacrifice. Fire falls from the sky, consuming the water, the sacrifice and the stones of the altar itself as well. Elijah kills the 450 prophets of Baal. 
     Finally, Elijah prays earnestly for rain to fall again on the land. Then the rains begin, signaling the end of 3 and a half years of drought. 
     Surely Elijah believed and seen the work of God right before his eyes. Yet when Jezebel promised that she would do to him what he had done to the prophets of Baal. Elijah flees from her, send is scribe away and falls into depression, because of doubt.  1 Kings 19:1-5 
     How is it that a man like Elijah, confident in battle, great in works, who had just killed 450 prophets of Baal, would doubt that God could change the minds of the people? Or would not be able to protect him from the hand of Jezebel? Does it mean that Elijah did not believe? How could a man do what Elijah and be in unbelief? that's not possible. If fact everything Elijah did before and even after his conflict on Mt

Bruised Reed and Dimly Burning Wick

     In fact we find in the bible that individuals, nations and even generations have all found themselves in doubt. Yet God had not given them up to their own sensualities to practice every kind of impurity Ephesians 4:19 but has remained faithful of the propitiation of Jesus Christ, to their and our own salvation. 
     Yet from a very unusual place doubt in confirmation of our belief. Even in the mist of our doubt there is a dimly burning wick of our faith holding on to the truth of Christ while Satan is trying to convince us to stop trusting God.  Satan knows our weakness and his desire is to get us to curse God and die  Job 2:9  But faith the size of a mustard-seed is greater than doubt the size of a mountain.

     Who knew Jesus was Messiah better than John the Baptist? The Bible tell us that when Elizabeth hear Mary’s voice the baby (unborn John the Baptist) leaped in her womb filling Elizabeth with Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41 yet while all alone in the putrid prison Herod Antipas  weak, hungry, caring the realization that he would die in this cell, the oppression of Satan and darkness came upon him and John doubted Matthew 11:3, Luke 7:20 Jon Bloom writes in his article John the Baptist’s Doubt from the DesiringGod website
The thought of being executed for the sake of righteousness and justice he [John the Baptist] could bear. But he could not bear the thought that he might have been wrong about Jesus. His one task was to prepare the way of the Lord. If he had gotten that wrong, his ministry, his life, was in vain.    But even with his doubts, there remained in John a deep, unshakable trust in Jesus. Jesus would tell him the truth. He just needed to hear from him again. So he sent two of his closest disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  (Bloom, 2012)
     None of us can say we have never doubted, in our time of weakness we doubt, whether it be a loss of a job, or the loss of a loved one. Sickness and the diagnosis of an incurable disease has many great saints to doubt. Let’s make no mistake if you have not already, you will experience a season of want, or successions of failures, and letdowns and you will doubt.  However scripture tells us that we have a savior that will not break a bruised reed, nor extinguish a dimly burning wick, He know our weakness and forgives our doubt, for the sin of doubt has already been paid by the blood of Christ. Isaiah 42:3
Your Brother in Christ