Trust. What exactly is it? What does it mean? It is not something that is given away lightly. It is often something that we refer to as being earned. Trust is something that we want everyone to give to us but are hesitant sometimes to give to others. It can be something that we give blindly or something based on facts or shared experience. But at the end of the day there is one question that we have to consider if we call our selves followers of Christ. Do we trust God; if not, why? This last week in our Wednesday night class on the book of Romans we explored this question in addition to those that this question leads to. When it comes to trusting God do we take the approach that we often do with our friends, spouses, neighbors and strangers? Do expect God to earn it? Do we expect God to give an accounting for the reasons why he is trustworthy?
Sadly we may not phrase it in so many words but I would be lying if I said that I had never had this kind of attitude in my life. I believe that it is human nature to want some sort of guarantee or reassurance that we can trust that which will put our faith in; whether it is something as simple as the products we choose to buy and the chair we choose to sit in or something much bigger like the sovereign creator of the universe and his son who came and died in our place.
In todays reading we are getting the cliff notes version of what we have spent the last several weeks reading about. Moses is on the cusp of meeting his maker and the nation of Israel is about to march on the land that has been promised to them. The same promise that God had given to all the previous generations and the same promise that this generations parents failed to realize due to their rebellion and lack of trust.
Moses is reminding the nation that God has not left their side even in their rebellion. He moved them back out into the dessert but he did not remove his provision of food and water. He may have had them wander for 40 years but he still led by day and night with cloud and fire. God did not decide to choose some other people to be his Chosen nation or choose to wipe them off the face of the earth and start over. God remained faithful to the covenant. (He remained trustworthy)
I love one of the points that pastor Nate brought out in his blog earlier this week. Moses took a census and numbered all the men of fighting age but this was so they would know how much land each tribe was going to get when they crossed over and started taking the land. This had to require some level of trust. If they believed that they were marching to their death and ruin they would have taken the same road that their parents had (one of distrust in the Lord) and they would have surely perished in the dessert because of it. No storms the castle, so to speak, thinking there is no way I can do this but I am going to go ahead and do it anyway.
Moses is also taking this moment in time to not only remind the people of Israel the history of God's dealings with them but he is using this as an opportunity to exhort and encourage them. He is using this a moment to say "see, the Lord our God is worthy of our trust and our faith. He has not let us down yet. He has provided for your every need. You have nothing to worry about. Our hope and our trust needs to be placed in the appropriate place."
What's great about this message is that this is one (if you keep your eyes and ears tuned in for it) that will reoccur over and over and over in the coming weeks and months as we read about people and their interactions with a Holy, Righteous, Faithful God. Just to name a few that come readily to mind: David running toward Goliath; Gidian starting a war with inferior numbers, clay pots, and torches; Daniel being thrown to the lions; Sadrach Meshach and Abednigo refusing to bow; Hosea marrying a prostitue, Isaiah walking around and preaching naked for 3 years (this would take A LOT of trust in the Lord, but there was a reason for it just not enough time to expound). The list could go on and on.
The people we read about on the pages of scripture were real people with real problems and real emotions. Sure they were people who had trust issues (i.e. Jacob) but they were people. We are people. Not much has changed in the last several millennia.
But like the nation of Israel we have so much to trust in. There is no one else or no other thing that we could possibly trust in more. But when it comes to life and where "the rubber meets the road" so to speak we have to stop from time to time and ask our selves this question.
Are we trusting more in ________________ than we are in God?
(The blank is something that will be different for us all. You may fill it with your circumstances, your job, the government, your political party, your spouse, your family, the economy, your abilities, your wisdom, your strength, friends, co-workers, your stuff, your wealth, and we could go on and on. Everyone has something that they fill in the blank with.)
So what do you find yourself filling in the blank with these days?
I realize that this is going to be a very personal question but I would love to see soem discussion on this topic of trust in the coming days. I would love to hear your thoughts about about why we find ourselves placing trust where it shouldn't be. I would love to journey with you on this topic and hopefully through it bring edification and encouragement to us all through testimony and our unpacking of what it means to fully trust in God.
Several other questions that I would throw out for the conversation:
When is it hard for you to trust God? What helps you to trust God in difficult circumstances?
What’s the difference between "trusting" God for something and "asking" Him for something?
When have you trusted God’s promises and seen them fulfilled? What are you trusting Him for today?
Like Israel we all have times where we have a hard time trusting or we simply refuse to trust. But sometimes God is just waiting to hand us the promised land if we would simply let go of our lives and let him be Lord instead of us. I hope you find the conversation stimulating and that ultimately you find yourself trusting more and more in Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own udnerstanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (NLT)