Staff Corner – Greg Spires - Teaching Pastor
Is Seeing Believing?
The people of Israel saw the Lord and His mighty works. When they left slavery in Egypt, they did so because of the extraordinary plagues God unleashed on their captors. When they escaped from Egypt’s military, God provided a walking path right through the middle of the Red Sea. When they needed water, God gave it. Every single day God provided food for them in the wilderness. God also traveled with Israel as a pillar of cloud during the day and a column of fire at night.
In addition to the daily miraculous presence of God, the people of Israel saw God descend on the mountain to give them His covenant Law through Moses. The presence of God on that mountain was described as smoke from a furnace and earthquakes. Being near God was like being next to an active volcano!
If a person in Israel wanted to see the miraculous presence of God on any given day, all that person had to do was get out of bed and walk out of his tent. There, on the ground, would be food for the day. He could then lift his eyes and see the giant column of cloud lifting to the sky. Another day, another miracle!
We would have expected that when it was time to invade the land, God promised Israel, they would have eagerly done so. But when Moses sent 12 spies into the land to view it, ten of the spies came back and discouraged Israel. Even though they saw the powerful and miraculous work of God, and His presence, every single day without fail, they were worried about the military and physical strength of the Canaanites.
They saw God every day, and they doubted Him. They saw the Canaanites once and trusted their strength!
It is interesting to compare the faith of Israel with one Canaanite: Rahab. When two spies visit her, she tells exactly two stories she knows about God. In Joshua 2:10-11, she says, “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”
The people of Israel saw God's mighty hand every day, yet they doubted whether He could defeat the Canaanites. On the other hand, Rahab heard just two stories (one of which was over 40 years prior!), and she unwaveringly believed that God would defeat all of Israel’s enemies!
We may not like it, but we see this throughout the Scriptures: Seeing is not believing. However, by believing, we can see.
In Ephesians 1:17-18, the Apostle Paul says to the Christians in Ephesus that he prays, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”
Like Israel, we have God’s miraculous presence every single day. As Christians, the Holy Spirit lives within us and never leaves. When we pray, God always hears because Jesus is our High Priest in God’s presence. But more than all that, we know the grave is empty. Jesus’ resurrection far exceeds in glory and power the Red Sea, Mount Sinai, the Plagues in Egypt, manna, or even the conquest of the Promised Land.
If Israel should have believed God, we should even more since Christ is raised!
So, what are we going to believe today? Will we believe that power is found in money, success, political influence, or popularity? Will we believe that peace is found in having all the comforts, leisure, and luxuries our hearts desire? Will we believe that happiness is found when we achieve our dreams, goals, and hopes for the future? It is easy to believe all these things because these are things we can see.
Or will we believe that Jesus is raised from the dead, reigns over all of creation, and will one day return to usher in the glory and power of His kingdom? Will we believe that power, peace, and happiness are found in living our life for Jesus and not the empty pursuits this world offers?
Joshua says it best in Joshua 24:15, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Joshua 2.
Praying with you,