God’s Fury and Unbelief

“Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? …Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people” (Psalm 78.19-20)? It’s one thing for a believer to grapple with questions of unbelief; it’s altogether different for the unbeliever who mocks God. Unbelieving people, especially those given light for so long, suffer because they are unbelieving. The LORD is furious with people who are unbelieving in this way.

We think about Israel’s deliverance through the Red Sea and are bewildered that they could not trust God to provide them bread and water. But be careful about judging Israel. Aren’t you condemning yourself in doing so? We are no better than Israel.  The only thing that keeps us anchored is God’s faithfulness not our own. We might say that our own unbelief engenders the wrath and fury of God to a greater degree because of the greater light we possess.

 

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“I’ll Believe It When I See!”

We don’t really want to call unbelieving people wicked even though God plainly states that they are.  The reason that we don’t is that we have been and are sometimes even now unbelieving.  We participate in the same sin that will consign people to eternal misery in the Lake of Fire.  But God’s words and actions speak with more authority than our emotions. It’s wicked because God says it’s wicked and God shows it’s wicked.

God Says It’s Wicked

Unbelief makes God furious because it is a lack of trust (Psalm 78.22). John says that what God says is greater than what men say.  “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (1 John 5.10).  So, it is pretty wicked to call God a liar by not believing what He has said.  You say, “But I didn’t mean to call God a liar!”  But God says that you have called Him a liar, whether or not you meant to do so.  God says unbelief is wicked.

It’s far more wicked when a child of God has an “I’ll Believe It When I See It” attitude.  The reason this is true is because we believed God to save our eternal souls but don’t believe that He is also able to freely give us all things.  You cannot worship God if you cannot praise Him for future deliverance which you have not yet experienced while undergoing a present trial.  Either you believe what God has said or you don’t. It is wicked because God says it is. Second, it is wicked because God shows it is.

God Shows It’s Wicked

God may not bring a plague upon us after allowing us to partake in fleshly pleasure; however, He is still offended by our unbelief.  Our Father is deeply wounded when His children run to the world for satisfaction because they believe that He cannot satisfy.  They run to food, sex, and entertainment like never before. Shouldn’t we at least consider that a Coronavirus is a demonstration of God’s displeasure with our wicked behavior?

“I’ll Believe It When God Says So!”

Psalm 78 says that the Lord was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation.  So, the text needs some reflection.  What if we believe in God?  What if we trust in His salvation?  The result will not be fury but compassion.  The kindling will be love not anger.  Isn’t that what we want?  We walk by faith and not by sight.

Day after day, moment by moment, Israel had to depend upon the LORD.  They didn’t view that as a good thing.  I’m afraid we are the same way.  When my boys were babies, they couldn’t provide for themselves.  They were utterly dependent upon our care.  But they were not overwhelmed by fear.  They simply cried in anger when they were hungry …cried in anger when they needed to be changed …cried in anger when they were not happy.  They cried in anger …a lot.  But we heard their cries and met their needs.  When they grew, they became a lot more gracious about expressing times of hunger, discomfort, and unhappiness.  However, we still meet their needs. They don’t live in fear that we won’t meet their needs.

If that is true on a human level, how much more so with our Heavenly Father?  We depend upon God in the same way that our children depend upon us.  When difficulties arise, we run to Him.  We expect that He will show Himself powerful and see us through.  If we writhe in discomfort, we cling to Him all the more until He notices us.  As with Job, our attitude must be, “Though He slay me, I will trust in Him!”  Easy to say; hard to live.

Are you discontented?  Are you struggling under the weight of some trial?  Are you questioning the fact that God is powerful enough to help you?  Do you believe that He is able to comfort you?  Perhaps we are like Jonah, sitting under our gourds of self-sufficiency muttering, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”  (see Jonah 4.9b)

  • Does the mercy of God run out?
  • Is there any circumstance or situation when God is unable to deliver?
  • Why do we lack confidence?  Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
  • Why are we doubting?
  • Don’t we have the promises of God?  Have you prayed the promises back to Him?  Are you resting in those promises?

It’s not whether or not life is difficult for you right now.  The real test for us is whether or not we are trusting in the promises of God right now.

If you are a child of God, then hold tightly to the hem of His garment.  Don’t let go.  Keep your confidence in Him.  Believe His Word.  Trust His Word.  Faith is the victory.  Your faith saved you; now live in peace.  According to your faith it shall be to you!

 

 

 

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