Sunday, January 16, 2011

Food for thought: Faith vs. Fear

By Brenda Cathcart

Exodus 16:1 KJV 1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.

The children of Israel had just left Elim where they had twelve wells and seventy palm trees. Elim was a place of refreshing after the turmoil of the events of Passover, crossing the Red Sea and the bitter waters of Marah. They finally had time to catch their breaths and reflect on the dramatic changes in their lives and where they were.

Now they are on their way again. Physical reality begins to set in. They are off the emotional high of the miracles of Passover and at the Sea. They begin to look around them and wonder where they will get enough food for some two to three million people with all their herds and flocks. Think about it, they were the size of a large city. How many semi-trucks full of food does it take each day to provide for this many people? Hundreds of trucks each day bring food into a city of two to three million. The children of Israel didn’t have trucks or a source of food. It was wonderful to see the miracles of God but how are they going to get food each day for this many people? They began to panic.

Exodus 16:3 MKJV 3 And the sons of Israel said to them, O that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

There is no possible way they could feed themselves. They must rely on God totally and completely. This is a scary thought. It is much easier to trust God for an occasional miracle than to trust Him each day for daily needs. We like to rely on what our eyes can see, our hands can touch and our balance in our bank accounts. But the children of Israel didn’t have that. They came into the wilderness of Sin and saw the emptiness of the land around them. No crops, no game, no markets.

But God knew that already and had a plan. He wanted to make them into a people of faith.

Exodus 16:4 MKJV 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from the heavens for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain amount every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law (Torah) or not.

This was a test. Could they trust God for their daily bread? Could they walk in God’s Law? Wait a minute… The Law as we understand it had not yet been given. They hadn’t received the Ten Commandments or the judgments and statutes of God. What is He talking about? The Law or Torah is more than just a set of rules and regulations. The word Torah comes from the Hebrew word Yarah which means teachings or instructions. God is beginning to teach them not just about faith, but about how to live. The first lesson is faith through obedience. Yeshua tells us that those who love Him will obey Him.

John 14:15 MKJV 15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.

What we don’t realize here, is that Yeshua is quoting the Old Testament. In giving the Ten Commandments, God says He will show mercy to those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Exodus 20:5-6 MKJV 5 You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, 6 and showing mercy to thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments.

This is the essence of Hebrews chapter eleven, the so-called faith chapter. All the great men of faith expressed that faith through obedience to God. In particular, Abraham obeyed God’s instructions.

Hebrews 11:8 MKJV 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place which he was afterward going to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went.

God told Isaac specifically that He chose Abraham because of Abraham’s faith through obedience. Abraham followed Torah.

Genesis 26:4-5 MKJV 4 And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of the heavens, and will give to your seed all these lands. And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws (Torah).

So, God is teaching the children of Israel about faith through obedience. Testing to see if they will walk in His ways and Torah like Abraham did. But the children of Israel doubted and were afraid. They complained that Moses and Aaron took them out of Egypt just to have them die in the wilderness. But Moses told them that they were really expressing their doubt in God.

Exodus 16:8 MKJV 8b Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
When we doubt and fear, we are expressing our doubt in God. God chastised the children of Israel for their doubts and fears, their lack of faith, but He also responded with the assurance that He would meet their needs. He is Yahweh!

Exodus 16:12 MKJV 12 I have heard the murmurings of the sons of Israel. Speak to them, saying, You shall eat flesh at evening, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God.
John tells us that fear has no place in love. If we truly love God and place our trust in Him, our love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18 MKJV 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been perfected in love.

God provided manna for them continually and faithfully for the entire forty years in the wilderness until He brought them into the Promised Land. God will provide for us continually and faithfully until He brings us into our Promised Land of His rest. Won’t you show your love for Him, your faith in Him, through obedience without fear?

1 John 5:3-4 MKJV 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart