Have you ever sat on a jury? I know it makes some people cringe, and they will work with diligence to find a way to get out of serving.
I have found jury duty to be a fascinating experience. I got called to the jury pool three times in one year. One of them was a federal jury trial involving child pornography. At the other extreme, a local shoplifting case.
What is fascinating about sitting on a jury is that you hear conflicting testimony from opposing sides, and the testimony is often compelling in each direction. But you know someone, or a group of someones, is lying to you.
Sadly, a huge segment of humanity is very good at lying. It is the task of the jury to examine the evidence and determine who is lying and who is telling the truth.
Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.
– Acts 27:25, NASB
The quote above is from an incident in which the apostle Paul was aboard a ship trapped in a storm so severe that the sailing men had given up fighting for their lives. Having battled the storm non-stop for three days, tossing the cargo overboard, and not eaten, the men where finished. They surrendered themselves to the fate of the tempest.
It was then that Paul was visited by a messenger of God who told him, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.”1
It was in this context that Paul said, “I believe God!” The jury is in. The verdict is delivered. God is faithful and true!
Even in today’s corrupt and degenerate society, most people believe in God, or in some sort of god. But it is an entirely different matter to believe God—to say, “I believe God, that it will play out exactly as he said it will.”
When all the tangible evidence screams to the contrary, I believe God. In Paul’s case, all the tangible evidence was against him and the men on the ship. In Paul’s own words, “all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.”2 But God’s messenger said otherwise, and Paul took the firm posture of believing God!
When every person around you is saying, “We’re doomed,” you say, “We are not doomed.”
When all are saying, “All hope is lost. We are without hope,” you say, “Our hope is secure and sure.”
When the world tells us, “We’re on our own. Take what you can and get out alive,” we say, “No. Our King has promised, ‘Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.’3 And we have life-eternal.”
Indeed, scripture tells us, “the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar.”4 When God says a thing is so, it is so. Unbelief is so much more than just a word.
Consider Abraham, the father of all who believe.5 Having been told at age 100 that he and his barren wife would be parents, how could he possibly, sanely, believe such a wild idea.
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
– Romans 4:20-21, ESV
Unlike Abram and Sari, I have never heard the audible voice of God, and I do not expect to do so. What I do know, and do expect is that God speaks to us through his written Word. And if I may be so bold as to say, God’s message to us in the written word is far more comprehensive that any audible voice and single message could ever be. With the Bible we hold in our hands, we have less of an excuse for unbelief than Abraham, Paul, or the men on the ship with Paul.
We have the full message, front to back, beginning to end. I believe it to be an affront to God for us to doubt or question his Word. We study it to understand it, yes. But we do not doubt its authority or its authenticity.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16, ESV
Questioning God’s word to us is what put us in the condition we are in. It began with Satan posing the doubt-question to Eve. “Did God really say. . .”6 And with that, human pride kicked into high gear, and pride has been a snare for us ever since.
The world is canvased with unbelievers and doubters. Human ingenuity, intellect, wisdom, “science” all snorting and snickering at believers, claiming we are simpletons and fools. But we know the Spirit of truth, and we hold fast as we wait for “science” to catch up. And it will, eventually.
What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? Far from it! Rather, God must prove to be true, though every person be found a liar.
– Romans 3:3-4, ESV
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in faithfulness.
– Romans 3:3-4, ESV
Stand firm, Christ-follower! You know the truth. You have the truth. You walk in truth. You will prevail.
1. Acts 27:24, ESV
2. Acts 27:20, ESV
3. Hebrews 13:5
4. 1 John 5:10
5. Romans 4:11
6. Genesis 3:1