Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible… And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.1
God delights in his people taking these risks. He enjoys when they trust him to fulfill his promises. Let’s look at a couple biblical examples. First, Joshua and Caleb as the Israelites were ready to enter into the promised land. After the spies had returned from entering the land dissension arose. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.” But 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.”2 They were scared. They saw giants who were bigger than them and their God. Their faith wasn’t strong enough to carry them into action and take the land.
Do you live this way? Are you afraid to take on the giants in the land of your inheritance because you don’t believe God can deliver them into your hand?
It is easy to do. We like comfort, security, and stability, and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with these things, but if they become an idol and you trust them more than the living God, then we have a problem. The Lord wants people who walk with him and listen to his voice. “But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.'”3 The lord is not far off. He draws near to those who seek him and speaks to them. He has spoken through his Word, but he continues to speak through his Spirit. It’s the Spirit who guides us into all truth.4 It’s the Spirit who comforts us.5 It’s the Spirit who helps and teaches us.6 But I’ll leave those things for another post.
We see this same faith in Jonathan. Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.”8 When the Philistines asked them to come over, Jonathan knew that God was with him and he struck down many Philistines that day. He stepped out, gave God a place to work, and God responded by giving him victory. David does the same.
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”9 He stakes his life on God showing up and once again he does! David combines his strength and skills learned throughout life with his unshakable faith in the one true God. He doesn’t simply sit doing nothing waiting for God to show up. Using what he has been given, he steps forward and allows God to show up in powerful ways.
Do you sit waiting for God to do something while living safely and comfortably in your own talents, skills, possession, and power?
I challenge you to find the giants in your life. What vision has the Lord put in our heart? Are you willing to sacrifice your wealth and comfort for the sake of something greater? They may be colossal enemies or average evils, but the important thing is to listen to the voice of God, step out when he asks, and give him an opportunity to show his power. Do you pray large prayers? Start. Do you dream big dreams? Start. Do you plan to bring light to darkness? Start. Only when we make the decision to ask for more will it come. God loves and respects us so much that he doesn’t force these things on us. We must earnestly seek and ask.
- Hebrews 11:1-3; 6 ESV ↩
- Numbers 13:27-33 ESV ↩
- Jeremiah 7:23 ESV ↩
- “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13 ESV ↩
- So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. Acts 9:31 ESV ↩
- “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 ESV ↩
- Numbers 14:24 ESV ↩
- 1 Samuel 14:6-11 ESV ↩
- 1 Samuel 17:45-47 ESV ↩