If you don’t deal with your doubts, you will be given over to a spirit of grumbling. You will live that way and die that way because your doubts cannot simply be suppressed. They must be pulled up by the roots!
Just three days after Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, they encountered a new test. They had been singing, shaking their tambourines and testifying to the power and strength of a mighty God. They were boasting that He was leading and protecting them — and then they arrived at Marah, which means “waters of bitterness.”
This was an example of how God just keeps allowing us to encounter crisis after crisis until we finally get the lesson He is trying to teach us. If we keep refusing to learn it, a time comes when He gives us over to our own bitterness. “And they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. . . . And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” (Exodus 15:22, 24).
On Sunday they were having a great time — singing, dancing, praising! But by Wednesday they were in trouble; another crisis, and they were falling apart. How could they lose their confidence so quickly? Because they had never had any! They had never had that foundation truly built under them.
So again they failed the test. They had learned absolutely nothing from their previous crises and again they missed an opportunity to shine forth the greatness of their God. They even began to take His goodness for granted. They had no food, so He sent them manna from heaven. He dropped quails out of the sky, piling them up outside the camp three feet high. But not a word of thanksgiving was heard. Instead, the people turned to greed and hoarded up all that God gave them. And then Israel became stiff-necked!
What a shame it is to go from crisis to crisis and learn nothing in the process. It carries with it a curse and you will be given over to a spirit of murmuring.
“Ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (James 1:6-7).
Many Christians sit in the house of God and murmur and complain, as if God doesn’t hear them. But God does hear our murmurings — accusations that He does not care for us, insinuations that He has let us down.
God warned me not to give voice to nagging doubts and fear — not to my wife or friends or colleagues. He said to take those doubts to Him and ask Him to heal my unbelief.
Israel spent forty years in turmoil and there was a lot of backbiting, complaining, jealousy and bitterness. What a miserable existence the Israelites led while still claiming to be the children of God.
You must come to a place where you learn to trust Him. When you do this, you will have dealt a deathblow to all doubt, fear and unbelief.
Where do you start? First, look right into the mirror of God’s Word! Consider your actions over the last thirty days: Have you been complaining? You may answer, “Well, I’ve complained a little but I haven’t complained against God.” Oh, yes, you have! No matter who heard your complaints, they were all directed at God.
Everywhere I turn in the Bible, I read, “Trust Me and I’ll see you through! Just commit your ways to Me.” What does that require? Simply that you stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. You may ask, “But what if nothing happens?” That response alone reveals doubt and fear.
Dearly beloved, turn to God and tell Him that you choose to trust Him and wait for His victory. Let God make you a testimony to the world, a witness to His faithfulness. Love Him with all your heart right now and give Him all your problems, all your faith, and all your trust.
“They that carried us away required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:3-4).
The people of God were in the hardest place of their lifetime and as they were carried away, their captors required a song of them. Yet, all they felt was depression, despair and hopelessness.
Multitudes of Christians are in the same position today, trapped in adverse circumstances. As the devil comes at you with an old temptation, you may be on the edge of giving up, thinking, “I can’t make it. I’ve prayed and cried but this old bondage is going to haunt me forever.”
When Israel fell into Babylonian bondage, their captors implored, “Sing for us! Play for us! We’ve heard all about you and what your God did for you, so show us your joy in Him.”
If this demand was made in mockery, I believe it also was a pitiful plea. The gods of the Babylonians had left them empty and without hope. But the songs of the Israelites had made an impact on them. “The God of these people can open a sea; His fire comes down from heaven; He stands against their enemies. There must be something to this God of theirs.”
People who can rejoice and keep their faith in the darkest of hours are a real testimony to others who have the same struggles. Others take notice of believers who testify, “God, I believe You, no matter what is happening in my life.”
The world is shouting to us, “We are not impressed by the Red Sea opening or the blind receiving sight or the lame being healed. No! The miracle we want to see is your faith in the darkest hour of your life. You face hopeless situations with a smile of joy, singing praises to God. That is what speaks to us.”
Today people want to be everything but a servant. In fact, their pride is repelled by the idea of servanthood. A popular Scripture is, “Thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:7).
What is Paul really saying here? He is explaining that a son who has been taught correctly knows he is legally the king’s heir with all the rights that accompany the position. But he loves his father so much that he chooses the role of a servant.
Paul said in Romans 1:1 that he was “a servant of Jesus Christ” and James called himself “a servant of God” (James 1:1). And Christ, the very Son of God, “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).
A servant has no will of his own; his master’s word is his will. The cross represents the death of all my own plans, my own ideas, my own desires, my own hopes and dreams. And most of all, it is the absolute death of my own will.
Jesus told His disciples, “My [fulfillment in life] is to do the will of him that sent me” (John 4:34). In other words, “I wait to hear every direction from My Father.”
John wrote, “As he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Every true Christian must be willing to say, “I really want to do His will.” But we can miss it if we set our hearts on something that we want, something that looks good and sounds logical, but is not God’s will. One of the biggest traps Christians fall into is chasing a good idea that is not from God.
Can your desire survive the cross? Can you walk away from your dream, die to it? God knows what is best for you so cry out to Him, “Father, if this is not your will, it could destroy me. I give it to You so do it Your way, Lord.”
“I want nothing in my life to hinder what God wants to do in me.”
God is forever bringing His people to this point because before He can bring about His best in us, He must do something deep within us. He wants to give us His victory, but He also wants our complete devotion.
The first six chapters of Joshua describe the glorious work God did among His people. Israel had just been freed after 400 years in bondage. The people had emerged from forty years of wandering in the wilderness and now they were at the border of Canaan, the land He had promised them years before. And so they crossed over — and then what happened? Immediately Joshua turned to the younger generation of men and separated them unto God. Scripture uses the word circumcised to describe their preparation, but the deeper meaning is, “They were made ready.”
Joshua took this action because now that they had crossed over, they faced the thick, impenetrable walls of Jericho. Taking this enemy would be impossible for the ragtag Israelites. God was telling them, “I have blessed you these recent years and you have experienced My incredible riches. However, your work is not yet finished.”
How did the Israelites prepare for this next battle? They didn’t sharpen their swords and shine their armor. Instead, the preparation took place inside their hearts. God commanded them to circle the city singing songs, praying, and waiting on Him. Finally, He had them raise up trumpets and issue a single blast. In an instant those mighty walls came tumbling down!
Joshua and his men then performed mighty exploits, defeating their enemies, inheriting greater lands, and seeing victories as never before. In the same way, I believe the Lord wants to pour out His Spirit on us in amazing ways. He wants us to believe that He wants to do it all; in short, He wants us to possess an unwavering faith.