Do you really really believe that God exists?

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In 1978, in Clarence High school, the scripture curriculum for Std VIII included memorising the RSV rendering of Hebrews chapter 11. Our teacher would announce as soon as he entered the classroom: “Say your memory verse,” and sit down at his desk.

And it would begin.

In a very orderly fashion, one by one my classmates and I stood up to say the memory verse and sit down. For instance, let’s say we were doing the ninth verse, it might go something like this:

Student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Next student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Next student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

We were about 35 students, and soon the teacher would not be really listening to us.

Next student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Next student standing up might say something like

Heb 11:9 “By faith the aeroplanes fly in the sky and even if you don’t believe me,  its true, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Still in the same orderly fashion, more classmates would say the most ridiculous things when it came to their turn after starting with Heb 11:9 By faith”.  I would usually be the last to notice what was going on, finding out only after the class was in fits of giggles, which was about the same time the teacher broke away from his reverie and started listening again.

However imperfect those classes were, I memorised the passage (we got up to vs 21, I believe) and what a blessing it has been.

It is easy to understand why people like Enoch, Noah, and Abraham are included in this list of the stalwarts of faith. But Jephthah!? And Samson?! Why are they included?

I thank God that they are included—obviously imperfect men who were nevertheless saved by God because they believed. Somewhere somehow, they were given that gift of saving faith to believe that God is really really real.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God; for whoever would draw near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. “

Do I really really believe that He exists? Intellectually, I know He exists. To add to this, I have also experienced His protection and care time and again. But how do I conduct myself when the next big problem comes my way? Do I behave as if I really really believe that the God of the universe exists and that He takes a personal interest in me?

The Lord had led the children of Israel out of Egypt with a strong and mighty hand. They had lived through this experience. They thus had intellectual and experiential knowledge. They had seen the Red Sea part. They had walked across as if on dry land. They had seen the waters fall back on the army of Pharoah. What did this blessed people do when they came up against the next hurdle? Why did they start complaining so soon and so bitterly? Because, they were not a spiritual people and did not have the saving faith that can be ours only by grace.

How is it with me? When the next big problem comes my way? Do I waver a wee bit, do I worry? I am ashamed that often times I do, at least initially, until I am reminded to believe. But thanks be to God, it is not long before I can sing: Jesus, I am resting, resting / In the joy of what thou art; / I am finding out the greatness / Of thy loving heart, while I wait for Him to act in His own way and in His own time.

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2 responses »

  1. Very encouraging words, Nahomi. I’m so glad God painted those Old Testament portraits with warts and all. What would we do if they were all like Joseph?! The one that gets me every time is “righteous Lot” (2 Pet. 2:7-10). Every sermon I’ve ever heard uses Lot as an example of how not to be – but that’s not God’s commentary. God’s testimony is that he was a righteous man, because he had the righteousness that comes from faith. So many sermons I’ve heard about the saints of the O.T. have the tone of “don’t do what they did” (and certainly those lessons are there), but that’s not what the author of Hebrews does at all. He sets them up as positive examples. How wonderful it is to look at their lives and see God’s grace toward sinful men like us.

    Blessings to you, sister.

  2. Great Testimony shared….much more to say but couldn’t but as mentioned by the writer It is always:

    “How is it with me? When the next big problem comes my way? Do I waver a wee bit, do I worry? I am ashamed that often times I do, at least initially, until I am reminded to believe.”

    Praise and Honor to the Lord Almighty who in spite of being a creator of the Universe, the King of Kings helps out and stays with so insignificant being as I am.

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