Grace And Standards Versus Vanity And Confusion – Part 1

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The extraordinary nature of the fight between good and evil can leave anyone spellbound. Just this week I happen to come across an article that put forward that Scientologists hold it to be true that “God is a lie.” One Former Scientologist disclosed that “When you reach the top of The Bridge (OTP 8) you will be told that God is a lie for LRH (L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder),…” But what can be further from the truth than the belief that God is a lie! Evidence saturates our world that is as blatant as the sun at midday that God exists and that belief in Him is essential to our happiness and success.

The “WWF” Fight between belief and unbelief has been going on for centuries, and what is crucial about this fight is that every single individual has constant “belief advertisements” and “unbelief advertisements” presented to him or her every single day. God is constantly revealing His grace and His standards while satan is constantly presenting vanity and confusion. Think about it. When Naaman heard that there was someone who could cure him of leprosy he decided to give it a try — he was excited to get healed from this dreadful disease! When Naaman’s wife’s little maid told him he would be recovered if he went to the prophet in Samaria, Naaman was empowered and believed, but when Elisha sent a messenger to him saying: Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean (2 Kings 5:10)” — immediately unbelief statements from satan started to cloud his vision. Unbelief advertisements began to say “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:12) then within seconds unbelief took root as rage. The same excited Naaman is now profusely angry and wants to head back home. Thanks to the challenge and wisdom that God allowed Naaman’s servants to speak at that very moment, they said: “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13) These questions pricked the conscience and refocused the belief system of Naaman and so Naaman took a step of faith into the Jordan and by faith dipped seven times and was healed.

Another interesting story that illustrates the WWF Fight between belief and unbelief presents itself in Judges 4. A powerful woman of God – Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth sent and called Barak to let him know the good news that God was going to provide deliverance. Her exact words to Barak were: “Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.” (Judges 4:6-7) Immediately Barak’s unbelief challenged God’s promise in verse 8. He seems to conveniently forget that God is the One who promised deliverance! Listen to what Barak says: “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.” (Judges 4:8) Thankfully Deborah believed God would do what He said He would do and went with Barak and the battle was won.

Unbelief and panic were rife in the Israelite camp as they gobbled up the morning and evening threats of the humongous giant called Goliath. Even when God inspired David to go and rescue the Israelites from Goliath, their pus-filled unbelief was oozing out (1 Samuel 17:24-25) – “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.” Even David’s brother challenged David’s faith and positivity by saying: “Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle” (1 Samuel 17:28). Even Goliath himself had his piece to say to David. Goliath said to David: “Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” (1 Samuel 17:43-44) Belief in God never disappoints. Drawing from his past experiences and his present faith in God, David moves forward with five stones and a sling and the mighty power of the Holy Spirit radiating throughout his entire body.

Sennacherib was another upstart who thought that by planting seeds of unbelief in the ears of God’s people he was going to destroy them. He sent a letter detailing his progress: “Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?” (Isaiah 37:11-13) But letters from men are just letters from men, nothing more. Finality and power belong to and exist always in God! After Hezekiah prayed to the Lord then came the Lord’s response: “Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 37:23) “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.” (Isaiah 37:33-38)

Another off-the-chain example of the fight between belief and unbelief is found in Luke 1. Zechariah was given the auspicious privilege of having Gabriel deliver a message directly from the throne of God to him concerning his first born son. Zechariah concentrated more on the fact that he and his wife was very, very, very old. Zechariah’s “unbelief advertisement” causes Gabriel to pull out all the stops and say, “… I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.” (Luke 1:19-20)

Another wrestling match between belief and unbelief took place when Jairus’ daughter died just as Jairus was waiting on Jesus to go to heal his daughter. After Jairus’ daughter died the “unbelief advertisement” could not resist the urge to comment. Luke 8:52-53 tells us: “And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.” But the “belief advertisement” record states: “And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”
(Luke 8:54-56)

When food was no where to be found in the desert except for a little boy’s five barley loaves and two small fishes – belief and unbelief came nose to nose.
Unbelief said: Never! there is not enough food here for over 5000 people.
Belief said: Make the men sit down.
Unbelief wanted to say: Make sure the little boy gets food first!
Belief said: When Jesus prays and blesses food there will be too Much food! (John 6:1-14)

I have to try and stop myself because there are soooo…… many examples of the WWF Fight between belief and unbelief throughout the Bible. Acts 12 presents the case of Peter locked down tight in jail with four quarternions of soldiers to keep him chained until after Easter. After God’s angel rescued Peter and Peter gets to the door where they (his fellow church members) were praying:
Unbelief said: Thou art mad
Belief said: Listen people, Peter is at the door.
Unbelief said: Let us pray some more while the answer to the prayer is knocking at the door.
Belief said: Nothing is impossible with God. – (Acts 12:1-14)

*** All Bible texts quoted above are from the King James Version, unless referenced differently.

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