Why Do I Doubt?

Christians make decisions believing that this decision must be God’s will.  Sometimes, however, doubt sets in and off we go on an emotional roller coaster ride.  What seemed clear and unmistakable is now questionable.  Why does that happen?

The scripture tells us repeatedly that the just shall live by faith.  Our culture defines faith as a wild leap in the dark.  W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines faith as a firm persuasion or conviction brought about by hearing. 

People form convictions based upon what they are listening to.  Christians are to become firmly persuaded or to form convictions based on what the Bible says.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.   

I know a young man who decided to try sky diving.  I remember him saying that as he left the plane, his body was crying out; what have you done to us?  It is easy to make a decision about doing God’s will.  It is altogether something else to actually take those steps.  Just as the young man said his body cried out against his actual jump from the plane, so the Christian’s natural man (indwelling sin) cries out against our spiritual decisions (Romans 7).  The remedy for us is to abide in Christ by walking in the Spirit.   Walking in the Spirit is letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly.  Letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly gives believers confidence.

A part of the Christian’s armor, as listed in Ephesians 6, is the shield of faith.  The apostle Paul instructs us in verse 16 as follows:  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  If we have doubts about our decisions concerning God’s leading in our life, we should check   our shield of faith.  Are we listening, understanding and obeying God’s word?  The shield of firm persuasion and conviction will enable us to stand by our spiritual decisions.

God has promised in His word that if we ask anything according to His will, He will do it.  We need to check our motives.  Is it God’s will we are seeking or is it our own will we are seeking?  Be honest.  We can convince ourselves of anything.  

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?  Luke 11:9-13

When we have doubts, it could also be that our faith is being tested.  Remember that testings do not add to our faith, testings reveal and refine what faith we have.  Do we need to be in the Word?

Note: God’s word is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).  The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture (II Peter 1:21 ).  The Holy Spirit will draw us to God’s word.  Satan will drive us away from it. When we have doubts, are we being drawn or driven?  It ultimately depends on how we respond to the doubts.  

……..let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….….

Who Is In Control?

Years ago, while in graduate school, I taught Sunday School kids who came to church on the bus. The church I attended at that time had a bus ministry that brought several hundred kids and some adults to church. The first graders, although they had not been taught much about the Lord and His word, caught on very quickly. They learned that we were trying to teach them about God, Jesus and the Bible; therefore, the answer to every question we asked them in review was God, Jesus and the Bible!

A simple truth: The answer to every question we have in life has it’s answer in God, Jesus, and the Bible.

When it comes to answering the question poised above as title of this article, most Christians answer with confidence; God, Jesus, the Bible, just like the first graders!  Are we answering this way because we know it is the expected answer or are we answering this way because it is evident in our lives?

Do we compromise ourselves to relieve persecution?  Do we bow the knee to God’s enemies to regain lost favor?  Do we talk more about Satan’s opposition than we do victory in Christ?  Do we rush in to relieve pressure that God has imposed on others?  Do we unwittingly shield and protect loved ones and others from God’s chastening? 

When trouble pursues us, when persecution comes, when opposition rushes us, what do we do?   Do we meet it with emotion of our own, do we meet it with an exchange of our own wrath, or  do we meet it with some magnificent self-conceived manipulation of our own? 

If we know that God is in control, then we should be able to see God’s hand in suffering and we should be able to rejoice in the midst of trouble and opposition.

When trouble and opposition come it is an opportunity to participate in what God is doing.  It is an opportunity to demonstrate that we know He is in control by remaining calm, by being submissive to His will and by being obedient to His word.

Note:  Read through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekial looking for the faithful remnant and looking for what God asked them to do as He poured out the fury of His wrath upon Israel for their transgressions and unbelief.  Observe that Israel’s enemies were but instruments in God’s hand to accomplish His purpose.

God Knows Where the Wicked Hide

II Chronicles 18

  • Ahab is the king of Israel.  Israel as referred to here is the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom.  The Northern  Kingdom is religious but disobedient.  Their kings habitually practiced that which was not pleasing to God.  They were more influenced by the heathen cultures around them than they were by God’s Law.  They engaged in religious ceremony but they did things their way.  King Ahab did not practice that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.  
  • Jehoshaphat is the king of Judah.  Judah is the Southern Kingdom consisting of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah.  Often the Kings of Judah did that which was right in the sight of God, but not always.  Jehoshaphat had been blessed of God for his obedience, but making a league with King Ahab was foolish.  It was dishonoring to God and it nearly cost him his life.
  • Micaiah the son of Imla, was God’s prophet.  He was hated, pressured, outnumbered, mocked and punished for his faithfulness to God’s message, but he never wavered.
  • Ahab’s four hundred prophets were “yes” men who told the king whatever he wanted to hear.
  • God is always in control.

Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.

 And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria.  And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him (Jehoshaphat) to go up with him to Ramothgilead.

And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramothgilead?  And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.

 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.

Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear?  And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.

 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?

 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla.  And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

 And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.

And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.

 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.

 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good.

 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.

 And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear?  And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.

 And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?

 Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.

And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?

Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.

And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?  And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.

 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him.  And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?

 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.  And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.

 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.

 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?

 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.

 Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;

 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.

 And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the LORD spoken by me.  And he said, Hearken, all ye people.

 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.

 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes.  So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.

 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.

And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.

For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.

 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

 And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.

God is Sovereign

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. 

Daniel 4:17