Points to Ponder: Faith is a Song AND Dance
Points to Ponder
Faith is a Song AND Dance
Do you actually believe on the things you say and sing about God? Faith is an easy thing to claim you have, until you find it's the only thing you have.
Consider the Israelites. Moses had led them through the midst of the Red Sea on dry land. Then they watched from the shore as the walls of water came down upon the pursuing Egyptian army (Exodus 14). The past was now behind them; their powerful enemy completely vanquished. They looked forward to the journey ahead, to the Promised Land. They were psyched! So they sang a victory song. Notice some of the verses and the confidence they proclaim.
"The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him. You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation". Exodus 15:2, 13 (NKJV)
They praised God's awesome power. They knew He had personally redeemed them, defeated their powerful enemy, and was now guiding them to His "holy habitation". They had faith and solid confidence that God had a place reserved for them and He was ushering them there to take it.
They continued to sing of their faith, how their reputation as God's people would precede them.
"The people will hear and be afraid", they sang.
They named some of the formidable nations they would encounter along the way. They are psyched up for a victory march.
Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; By the greatness of Your arm They will be as still as a stone, Till Your people pass over, O LORD, Till the people pass over Whom You have purchased. (Exodus 15:14b-16)
Then, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their "Ra Ra! Yea God!" victory song, they began to whine to Moses and Aaron:
"Oh that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger". (Exodus 16:3)
How often do our glorious praise songs and confident proclamations of God's provision soon turn to whining reflections on the past? Slavery always looks good when freedom gets tough. Following God by faith is no cake walk. Often there's no cake - and a lot of walking!
Outside the beautiful land, which God had promised, ten of the twelve spies who checked it out returned with dismal news. "We can't do it". When the two faithful spies, Joshua and Caleb, tried to remind the people of God's promise and power, the majority rose up to kill them. (Numbers 13-14) What happened to "the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away"? Remember that song? It was one of the wilderness' greatest hits.
That cost them another forty years in the wilderness because of their lack of faith, and their disobedience. That entire generation had walked through the Red Sea on dry ground - and sang a song about it. Yet when it was time to take THE STEP of faith, the one for which God had been training them all those years, they stopped looking at God's power and became focused on their own. THEY, not the inhabitants of Canaan, "melted away".
We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.
How many of you have the training, the experience of walking with God through the wilderness and prevailing by a Power which is not your own? How many of you have been seasoned, toughened, and have gained the wisdom and perspective which comes from trusting only God through impossible situations? And yet there comes a step-THE STEP (maybe several to come) for which all of this has trained you.
Are you going to fold now? All the praises and prayers, all the testimonies of God's power, all the professions of His unfailing love-will you now look at your situation and say that it's stronger than the Lord?
Forty years later, when Joshua prepares to lead the people into the land, his two spies encounter Rahab the harlot. She helps them hide. She already had known about them.
"As soon as we heard (about you Israelites and what you had done) our hearts melted; neither did their remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God..." (Joshua 2:11)
So, all along - for forty years - the nations were full of fear and dread, just like the song said in Exodus 15:1-18.
We sing some powerful songs with powerful claims. Perhaps we could learn a lesson in this. He IS Lord. He is who He says He is; and He keeps His promises. We should listen to what we say and sing, and dare to BELIEVE ON IT.
Because a believer's primary purpose is to glorify God, He will not call you to do anything for which He will not also equip you. Are you as ready to dance to the tune as you are ready to sing it?
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.