Guest Author: Arun Chacko
Sometimes I get super excited when I read through the amazing stories in the Bible, like the story of Samson taking down 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey! When we read stories like this, it almost seems like a fairy tale or a myth, but the truth is that these things actually happened. Some times when I read through these stories, I can’t help but want to be in the story myself. But, as great as this sounds, it is so easy to fixate on the people themselves and get caught up in the numbers, and miss the point. It is imperative that we understand these men are not great because of the great things they accomplished. They are great because of the great God they put their confidence in. They are just normal people like us, being led by the same God!
When we think of these people, we often remember the great outcomes of their individual stories. However, we don’t usually think about the struggle and the process that led up to the great outcome. For example, all of Israel rejoices because David kills Goliath! All the nations are blessed because Abraham trusted in God! Noah and his family are saved because of the ark! All of these endings sound great, but have you ever tried to put yourself in their shoes during the process? Not at the end of the story when everything works out and when God comes through, but before that. During the process of doing what God leads them to do, it is often very uncomfortable and illogical. Go back and read through any story and imagine what happens if God does not come through at the end.
God made Abraham the promise, “through Isaac your descendants shall be named.” But now, Abraham is climbing up mount Moriah after God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Let’s pause the story here and see what he is going through. We have to remember that it takes Abraham and Sarah 25 years to make Isaac. You’re talking about months and years of failure, and then finally he is born. Then they raise him up in a godly manner for about another 25 years. Now, it looks like Abraham is about to kill a 50-year investment! Do you feel the discomfort? Do you see how illogical this is? If God does not seriously come through and save Isaac, Abraham will be forced to have a nice little chat with his wife Sarah when he gets home, and I promise you that she will not be using her “six-inch” voice!
All of these great stories from the Bible follow a similar trend. God leads his people to do these tasks which seem really difficult, uncomfortable, and humanly illogical. We see this all throughout the Bible with Abraham, Noah, Daniel, David, Samson, Gideon, Jehoshaphat, Jesus, the apostles, etc.
I heard this quote recently, and I found it to be very insightful:
Does your life set the stage for God’s Glory? In other words, if God does not seriously come through for you, would you look like a fool? | Nate Bramsen
Can you imagine what would have happened if David slung the stone and missed Goliath? What if Noah spent 120 years building the ark and the rains never came? What if God didn’t stop Abraham when he was about to sacrifice Isaac? But as we know from history, God ALWAYS shows up and saves the day, and God always gets all of the glory! Each story has it’s own beautiful ending.
Do you do things in life based on your comfort level? Do you always act and make decisions based on human logic and reason? I struggle with this, because being comfortable is so much easier and safer. I also like to be logical and reason through things, because I want to be able to give an answer that makes sense from a human perspective. The problem with this approach is that when God calls you to go fight a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey (supernatural), you are going to ask him for a machine gun (natural). At the end of the day, even if you do take down a thousand, YOU get all the glory and God gets none! We usually focus on the beautiful ending, and rarely think about the difficult, uncomfortable, and many times, illogical process that led up to it!
God does NOT lead me in the paths of comfort, or human logic, or the paths of least resistance for my namesake. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for HIS namesake! (Psalms 23:3)
When we examine these characters from the Bible, and look at the things God has led them to do, we realize they did not act based on comfort. They acted solely based on confidence. Not a confidence in themselves or in the people around them, but a complete confidence in the great God they follow!
Was Abraham completely confident in God? Surely he is only human and must have doubted at some level? But look at the following verse:
He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. WE will worship and then WE will come back to you.’ | Genesis 22:5
This verse blows my mind! Abraham knows he has to kill Isaac, but at the same time he remembers God’s promise. Abraham knows for a fact that two people are going in for the sacrifice, and that two are coming back! He doesn’t know all the details because he can’t see the future, yet he says it with confidence because it was God who made him the initial promise.
If you are a follower of Christ, you are saying that you trust God with your future in heaven for all of eternity, forever and ever! Are you willing to trust him with the next few decades of your life here on earth? You might not be able to see your future clearly, but thank God that we can see HIM clearly! That’s all we need. Remember, the sheep does NOT need to know the path in order to reach the destination; it just needs to know the shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd! Let us learn to put our confidence in God by fixing our eyes on Jesus, and experience the true comfort that only comes from Him.