Do You Believe God?

The Living God posed a question to me:

“Would you behave any differently if you were truly convinced that I AM?”

I immediately knew He was not asking me if I believed IN Him (whether He existed or not), but rather if I BELIEVED Him…

Did I believe He was Who He said He was?

Did I believe He, alone, was God?

Did I believe He was actually running things, that He was in charge, that He was in control?

And, as a result of that belief, did I live accordingly?

The words caused me to weep as I knew that He was obviously not pleased with me, or He wouldn’t have asked me the question. I set about rectifying that.

To BE…LIEVE or NOT to BE…LIEVE; that is the question.

Every man, woman and child can be associated with one of just two groups, based on his or her reaction to any declaration that begins with, “God says…” (or, if you prefer, “Thus saith the LORD”), “It is written…” or “Jesus said…”.

Group 1 – By far the largest and most popular group is comprised of those individuals whose responses range from “Nonsense!” or “You are a nut case!” or “There is no God!” to “Did God really say…?” or “Was it actually God that said…” or “He may have said that, but what did He really mean?” 

Group 2 – It is easy to identify members of this group, as they are the ones who respond like hungry laborers to a dinner bell, and thirsty travelers to a cup of water.

While a person from Group 1 is busy determining if he or she can even be in general agreement with such a wild claim, a person from Group 2 responds with, ‘Whether I agree or not, if God said it, that settles it. Hopefully I can get onboard, if I am not there already.’

Jesus, speaking to His disciples:

“And He said to them, ‘Does one bring a lamp to be put under a basket or under a bed? Should it not be put on a lampstand? For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and nothing secret that will not be discovered. If a man has an ear to hear, let him hear.’ And he said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear; that measure in which you are measuring is measured to you, and it is increased to you who hear. For whoever has it, it shall be given to him; and whoever does not have it, from him shall be taken even that which he has.'” Mark 4:21-25

This passage has been explained to mean all kinds of things over the years, where “not hiding your lamp” has something to do with being religiously courageous, and where “taking heed what you hear” is some kind of warning about being cautious about which church you attend, and where “it will be given to him who has” is a justification for heaping up treasures unto yourselves here on Earth…all so you can get more!

Jesus had just explained the parable of the Sower and the Seed, revealing to them the Seed is the WORD of God. The WORD of God is the LIGHT; the light of truth, the light of men, the light of the world.

He told His disciples, the lampstands (Who were you thinking the lampstands were?), that their ears were given to them for HEARING that WORD of God. He told them everything would be revealed, so HEAR it!

He said that the ATTENTION that you pay to that WORD is the ATTENTION that the WORD will pay to you! The seeds sown in the good ground are those who HEAR the WORD and RECEIVE and YIELD fruit: thirty fold, sixty fold and a hundred fold!

It is all about the hearing…

“But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.” Deuteronomy 29:4

And why is hearing so important?

“The heart of this people has become hard, their hearing they have dulled and their eyes they have shut, lest they shall see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand in their hearts and turn to me and I would forgive them.” Acts 28:27

Do you hear what I hear?

“Whoever has an ear, let him hear…” Matthew 11:15, Mark 4:9, Mark 4:23, Mark 7:16, Luke 8:8, Luke 14:35, Revelation 2:7,11,17,29, Revelation 3:6,13,22

What did Abraham hear? God told childless Abraham that he would have an heir:

“…your son who proceeds from your loins, he will be your heir…Look into Heaven and count the stars, if you can number them. So your seed shall be”. Genesis 15:4-5

What did he do with what he heard?

“Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23

Note what is NOT written…

  • It is not written that Abraham first checked with his wife…
  • It is not written that Abraham first had long discussions with God in order to find a compromise between the ludicrous and unreasonable claim God was making and the more pragmatic, logical and scientific approach that could be taken by Abraham and his wife…
  • It is not written that Abraham first doubted God, but eventually came around to believe, only after years of study…
  • It is not written that Abraham first discussed what he should believe with his priest, pastor, counselor or psychiatrist…
  • It is not written that Abraham believed that God no longer spoke directly with men, not like He did back in Bible days, but now He chose to work through doctors, scientists and credentialed experts…

As I reflect on the words men speak and witness the lives they lead it is apparent that they do not believe God regarding much of anything. And, from their actions, they certainly don’t believe that He is in control.

People who would vigorously nod affirmatively when asked if they believe in the theological notion of the Sovereignty of God (a phrase which never appears in the Scriptures, by the way) are the very ones who will turn to anything but God alone to explain the world around them and resolve their problems.

If men believe God to be in charge of anything (if they even acknowledge God to exist), they live their lives as though they believe God must be governing from a galaxy far, far away with His mind clearly on something other than mere mortals. So distant and so removed is He from day to day activities, it is not unreasonable to believe He has busied Himself with other tasks and left the job to someone else. Perhaps He has abandoned mankind altogether? Regardless, it is up to man to solve his own problems. After all, God gave us a mind!

In their minds, the God of all creation, the I Am That I Am, is not all that, at least not anymore. He may have been at one time, back in the old days, back when He interacted directly with men. Back when men may have needed Him. But everything changed, men grew wise in their own eyes and their inventions and imaginings of technology and science replaced their need for God.

And now man is in control of things or, rather, really wishes he was.

What is true is he doesn’t believe God.

For those that want to have their cake (for display purposes) and eat it, too (’cause that’s what cakes are for); for those who do not believe God but need to appear as though they do, there is a sophisticated exercise they can perform:

It is called idolatry, the clever replacement of God, public or private, with idols of one’s own choosing.

This is not your father’s idolatry, mind you. There will be none of that silly bowing before papier maché-constructed faces with plates of fruit. This is much more sophisticated, much better suited to today’s science-based and evidence-based minds.

In this neo-idolatry a nebulous, impersonal god is acknowledged to be in control (perhaps unobservedly and imperceptibly so but, nonetheless, in control) and elects to work indirectly “through people and circumstances.” This god/these gods mystically expand to envelop whatever resources are available and/or necessary. Whether pantheistic or all-encompassing, it is all god’s doing.

It is a rather brilliant belief system as it permits one to believe in any god of one’s own imaginings while still loosely or directly assigning causation and credit to one’s institutions of choice. One doesn’t have to believe God to believe in god.

If the god I believe in (for today, at least) wouldn’t harm a fly, I can ascribe all fly-harming events to the devil or to the {insert object of hatred, here} (e.g., the Left, the Right, the Government, the People, the Russians, the Chinese, the Americans, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, White people, Black people, etc, etc).

As a backup belief, my envisioned god may have just “allowed” a fly-harming event to occur because, you know, that’s how he rolls. Or maybe that fly did something really bad that caused it to deserve such an event. Or it may have just been bad luck.

Regardless, I can go on doing whatever I was going to do anyway and still feel good about my so-called faith (aka, my idolatrous belief system) because I have a trite explanation for events that might otherwise have demanded my serious consideration. 

When things go well, my pet god be praised (along with members of the academy, mom and dad, and whoever else I may benefit from by flattering)!

Typically, when someone suffers an illness, after recovery the expanded god team is sent the credit and praise for this person’s restoration to health. That team likely includes everything and everyone from the medicine bottle and pharmacy to the General Practitioner, the three Specialists, hospital nursing staff and Auntie May’s chicken soup.

When an earthquake and its aftershocks devastate a city, razing most of the buildings to the ground, and a quarter of the inhabitants are killed, and most of those who remain alive are suffering harm in some form or another, physical or mental, all the religious types start in with the fly-harming event explanations (see above)…

To be fair, in order for anyone to have a chance to believe God they would have to first acknowledge what God has said…about Himself…about the world around them…about anything…about everything.

Start at the start. Settle this issue once and for all. You either believe God or you don’t. If you say you do, beware the deceptiveness of idolatry. Don’t replace what God has said with something you feel is more palatable, more believable. And stop making excuses for God. He is Who He is!

God instructed Moses to tell all of Israel:

“There shall not be another god for you apart from Me!” Deuteronomy 6:7

The Psalmist asked:

“Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.” Psalm 113:5-9

Who is in control of all things? In the message God gave to the herdsman Amos we read:

“Is there evil in the city the LORD Jehovah has not done?” Amos 3:6

Just how many gods did you think were running things?

“And He will say: ‘Where are their gods, the mighty ones those upon which they were trusting?’, for they were eating the fat of their sacrifices and they were drinking the wine of their drink offerings; let them arise now and let them help you and they shall be protectors over you. See, therefore, that I AM The Living God, and there is no God apart from me; I am putting to death and I am making alive; I am striking and I am healing, and there is none who escapes from my hands. Therefore I have lifted my hands over Heaven and I have said: ‘I live to eternity.’ I shall sharpen the point of my sword like lightning and my hand shall seize on judgment; I shall return a reward to those hating me and I shall finish my enemies.” Deuteronomy 32:37-41

There is only one of Him.

“I am LORD Jehovah, and there is no other. Outside of me there is no God…I formed light and I created darkness; I made peace and I created evil!” Isaiah 45:5,7

Who are you trusting in?

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put your trust in men…in princes.” Psalm 118:8-9

…and again:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Do you believe?

“…but there are men among you who do not believe”, for Jesus himself knew from the first who they were who were not believing and who he was who would betray him. And he said to them, “Because of this, I said to you that no man can come to me unless it has been given to him from my Father.” John 6:64-65

Has it been given to you? Then…

“Do not fear; only believe.” Mark 5:36


Believe this:

Jesus told Nicodemus:

“For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world that he would condemn the world, but that he would give life to the world by him. Whoever believes in him is not judged, and whoever does not believe is judged already, because he does not believe in The Name of The Only Begotten Son of God. This is the judgment: The Light has come into the world and the children of men loved the darkness more than The Light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does what is hateful, hates The Light and does not come to The Light, lest his works should be convicted. But he who does The Truth comes to The Light, so that his works may be revealed, that they are performed by God.”  John 3:16-21

He told the crowds:

“Enter the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the road is spacious which leads to destruction, and many are those who are going in it. How narrow is the gate and strict the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it!” Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus said to his followers:

“…And if the world hates you, know that it hated me before you. And if you had been from the world, the world would have loved its own; but you are not from the world, but I have chosen you from the world; because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I have spoken to you, that there is no servant greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept my word, they will also keep yours. They will do all these things among you because of my name, because they do not know him who has sent me. If I did not come speaking with them, they would have no sin, but now there is no covering for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.”  John 15:18-23

John wrote:

Do not love the world, neither the things that are in it, for whoever loves the world does not have the love of The Father in him. For everything that is in the world: the desire of the body and the lust of the eyes and the pride of temporal life, these are not from The Father but these are from the world. The world is passing and its lust, but he who does the will of God continues for eternity.”  1John 2:15-17

Jesus told Pilate:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting that I would not have been delivered up to the Judeans; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  John 18:36

Paul said:

“But our business, our concern is with Heaven and from there we look for The Life Giver, Our Lord Jesus The Messiah.”  Philippians 3:20