March 12, 2015

Don’t measure faith, measure God

Numbers 13:1–33
John 18:25–19:16
Psalm 13:1–6

When the Israel finally got to the edge of the land God promised them, Moses sent some of them to spy out the land of Canaan. He said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.” (Numbers 13:17–20)

They went, saw the land and brought back a branch of grapes so heavy it took two men to carry it. However, they didn’t like what else they saw. One of them, Caleb, quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:30–33)

Joshua and Caleb were ready to take Canaan. The other spies were not. I’m thinking, whose God is bigger?

The NT reading describes the trial of Jesus, or rather one of them. He met with Pilate. Pilate finds no fault in Him and wanted to release Him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus . . . .” (John 19:12–16)

In those days, the people worshiped their Caesar as a god. How foolish. Again, I am thinking whose God is bigger? Their god Caesar would eventually die, but he would never walk out of the grave three days later. Whose God is bigger?

I sometimes think of this question when my faith seems weak. They remind me that this isn’t about the size of my faith, nor the size of my problems. When I feel overwhelmed, I’m need to remember the size of my God.

With the psalmist it was his enemy that made him feel weak and afraid . . .
“Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:3–6) I love how he answered this question even as he prayed.

Now and then I sing, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I . . . .” realizing that no matter my problem, my God is bigger, more powerful, than anything that threatens. He is my strong tower, my refuge and strength. He sustained Jesus in His worst hour. He will sustain me with my puny problems.

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