As Christians we claim to trust God, we say “In God We Trust”, we claim we’re trusting the Lord in this situation or that, but are we really walking the walk or just talking the talk?
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
Hebrew word for hope is yahal, which means to hope, to trust, to wait patiently, to tarry. This psalm is highlighting the fact that we would often rather trust in what we can see or touch tangibly instead of truly trust God!
Church is typical of this. We claim we are trusting in God, then our actions indicate we are following a church, or a denomination or even a man!
In 1860 a Royal party from Britain saw Blondin cross the Niagara Falls tightrope on stilts, and even blindfolded. Next he wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other, and returned from the Canadian side with a sack of potatoes in it.
Then Blondin approached the Royal party. He asked the Duke of Newcastle, “do you believe I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?”
“Yes, I do” , said the Duke. “Hop in, then” , replied Blondin. Needless to say, the Duke declined Blondin’s challenge. You see, he might have believed Blondin could do it, but he wasn’t about to trust him with his life.
When it comes to trusting God, we often show this kind of belief. We believe in principle, We know He can do it, we’re just not sure He can do it for us. But God is looking for followers who will trust him with their lives.
WHAT DO YOU FACE RIGHT NOW?
What is it that you are facing right now? Is it your health, financial loss, relationship breakdown?
However big the biggest thing you face right now, the question is not how big your problem is, it’s how big is God and how faithful is He?
Honestly, we can talk about faith till the cows come home, our Christian faith should be like a tea bag… Our true colour comes out in hot water! When things get tough, when the odds are against us, these are the times when true faith stands up and says, no matter what you throw at me, I believe in Jesus!
IN GOD WE TRUST… IF WE CAN TRUST THE TANGIBLE
The challenge is, as Psalm 33 says, that we say we trust God, but I’m reality we are actually trusting man. Now before you get all high and mighty on me, let me confess that I think all of us, including me, does this.
In fact, in our modern world, this is the default position for Christians.
We say we trust God to heal us, but we pop a pill before we pray. We say we trust God to prosper us, but we are stingy with our giving and tithing, for fear that we won’t have enough. We say that Jesus is Lord over our family, but we whine and complain about how our partner or children behave, and nag them when they let us down!
If we say we trust God, then we must not limit ourselves to horses, chariots, cars, houses, churches, men or anything else!
Listen to this…
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
THE DANGER OF PRESUMPTION
There is a hidden danger we need to be explicit about before we move on, and that’s the and danger of presumption. I see this time and again in the church. We make our own plans and assume that God is going to bless them. We even pray for His blessing on our plans, rather than waiting on Him to reveal His plans!
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
How dare we treat God like a performing puppy! He is God, and we are His servants, not the other way around. Formulating our own plans then asking God to bless them is like throwing a few nuts and bolts together and asking God to turn them into a car!
We have previously talked about waiting on God, and we do this to establish His will, as opposed to our will. So stop pursuing your own desires and asking God to bless you in them. And the logical extension to that is, stop following your own plans then blaming God when they don’t work out!
THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE
As human beings we always want to follow the path of least resistance. As Bruce Lee once said, flow like water around the rocks. We wants to be happy, blessed and comfortable. We have no room in our Theology or our pea-sized view of God to suffer, to hurt, to agonise, to face opposition or do it tough!
We just want to be blessed. Now while I absolutely believe God wants to bless you, He also is happy to take you through trials, temptations and difficult circumstances. Why? Because He knows the path of least resistance develops fat, lazy, uninspired, useless sheep.
He loves you more than that! In fact, He loves you so much that He will escort you personally through every fiery trial you face, if you’ll let Him.
That’s why He writes,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
He wants you to be complete, He wants you to mature, and He’s not adverse to letting you face trials to do it! Your comfort is a bit down on His list of priorities. The development of your character and your faith is quite a bit higher.
Theology that preaches that God never lets you suffer is not only shallow, dangerous and wrong, it robs you of the chance to grow in the things that really matter… Character, faith, trust, perseverance and more!
So does this mean God doesn’t want to bless you? Does it mean He doesn’t want to prosper you? Of course not! Jeremiah 29:11 clearly states that God wants the best for you, not to harm you. So what if God’s best for you is the way of discomfort, trouble or even pain?
They’re not misjudging God’s character, or desires for us. They’re just misjudging what’s really important.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Faced the wrath of the most powerful man on earth, King Nebuchadnezzar. They would not worship the image of gold the King had set up, so the King threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace. They didn’t complain that life was tough, they didn’t take the way of least resistance, they stood firm and trusted God!
And they said this…
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
In other words, If God does something miraculous and saves us that’s fine, and if He does not intervene and save us, we’re good with that too. But we will never, never bow the knee to you, King!
That is faith! Not the path of least resistance, but the faith to follow their Lord down any path the Master chooses, trusting the Master, not man and not circumstances!
And what if He answers differently? What if the path God leads us down is not the one we, in our not so infinite wisdom, reckon we should follow? What if the whole thing takes longer than we reckon it ought to take?
Can you trust Him enough that, no matter the opposition, no matter the pain and no matter how long it takes, you will stay the course?
7 REASONS WHY IT IS BETTER TO TRUST IN THE LORD THAN IN MAN
Psalms 118: 8-9
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
There are good and trustworthy men and women in life. Most of them are not politicians. But no matter how good any man is, you cannot compare him with God.
Remember that verse from Jeremiah?
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
Jeremiah tells us here the consequences of trusting in man. It brings curse and dryness. It brings disappointment and frustration. It doesn’t bring life, it brings ultimately death.
Even good men have limits. God knows that if you trust in me as your pastor, at so,e point I will let you down. I’m not God, but I know Him and long to walk with Him!
GOD NEVER CHANGES, BUT MEN DO
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
God doesn’t change. His compassions, His promises, His purposes last forever.
Im sick of hearing people saying God told them something, then a little later they claim God told them the complete opposite. That’s not faith, folks, that’s a joke, and it is against Scripture. Again, stop changing your mind and blaming God! Start listening to Him and being obedient, even if it’s not the answer you were after!
GOD DOES NOT LIE, BUT MEN DO
God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
In fact, Hebrews 6:18 says it is impossible for God to lie.
That’s why I am encouraging you strongly to read the Word of God. When God speaks to you, He never lies and you can stand on it to face any opposition when you know God has spoken.
I faced a lot of opposition when I stepped up to pastor this church. But I could stand firm knowing that God had called me. And I had pages of Scripture to support me. Because God spoke, I didn’t need to listen when others told me the church would be destroyed in less than 2 years.
God promised and led me… And He doesn’t lie!
GOD IS FAITHFUL, MEN ARE NOT
As we read His word every day we begin to understand His faithfulness, which is beyond anything man could ever offer
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The Bible even contrasts men and God for faithfulness…
2 Timothy 2:13
if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
GOD IS OMNISCIENT, MAN HAS LIMITED KNOWLEDGE
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
God knows everything, and everyone totally. Think you can hide your sin? Think again. Think you can conceal you true intentions or your secret plans and agendas? Think again. Men cannot see and understand like God can.
So as you live your life, do you want a man in your corner, or an omniscient God!
GOD IS OMNIPRESENT, MAN IS IN ONE PLACE
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
You cannot run, you cannot hide, you cannot secretly do anything because God is there. His Spirit is so dependable, it doesn’t matter where you go, God is with you…
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
GOD IS OMNIPOTENT, MAN HAS LIMITED POWER
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
God created everything with just a word! God is so powerful atomic bombs are like tiny hiccups. And this is the same God we serve. This same God loves you and asks for your trust.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Do you believe it. In the midst of your storm, can you stand firm and trust that this same God will see you through.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
GOD SEES THINGS THROUGH, MAN GIVES UP
He’s proved this again and again. Jesus saw it through…
Hebrews 12: 2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
He saw His part through, and He promises He will finish the job in you if you let Him!
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
God never gives up, He never walks away, He is never not able to complete what He has promised, and He never breaks His promises or changes his mind. If you are going to say “In God We Trust”, let’s actually trust in God the way He wants us to!
TRUST IN THE LORD… IN GOD WE TRUST… TRULY
I’ve just shown you how awesome, how amazingly huge and powerful and loving God is. Your struggles to trust God have nothing to do with Him, for He is able, but everything to do with you, and how you perceive Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
God is so immeasurably, mind bogglingly powerful, He is so immutably able to do exceeding abundantly beyond anything we can ask or even think. Trying to fathom how amazing He is constitutes a disservice to Him, and an attempt to lean on your own understanding.
Don’t try and get God, just learn how to know Him and love Him, and He’ll do the rest, whatever you are trusting for.
Let me finish with a quote I read in my quiet time this week from AW TOZER…
“If we are not aware of what kind of God our God is, or what He is like, we simply cannot have faith; and so we struggle, wait and hope for faith. Faith does not come, because we do not know the character of God.
Faith, trust and hope are an automatic thing. If we have put our faith and hope and trust in the character of God, it will come naturally. It will flow as naturally as a stream down the mountain. When we know what God is like, that knowledge gets expressed in faith and trust and hope.”
In other words, your trust in God is directly proportional to how well you know Him. Not how well you know of Him, not how many times you go to church… How well you actually know Him.
And the way you get to know Him is by daily Bible reading and prayer.
My challenge to you this morning is, will you commit to reading the Bible every day. If you don’t want to, then I must assume that you don’t really want to know God, and are content with where your spiritual life is at right now.
But for the rest of us, let’s get serious and committed to reading the Bible and prayer.
A tiny amount of faith in an infinitely powerful, infinitely loving God is worth far more that all the faith you can muster in a man, something man has made or even a church!
He Maketh No Mistake
In the 1920s a young man named A. M. Overton became the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Baldwyn, Mississippi. I happen to know a little about Baldwyn because we lived for seven years in nearby Tupelo. Baldwyn is a small community in north Mississippi on the road between Tupelo and Corinth. Back in the 1920s Baldwyn was just a tiny place. In 1932 Mrs. Overton was pregnant with their fourth child, but when it came time for delivery there were complications and both she and the baby died. During the funeral, the preacher officiating the service noticed Pastor Overton writing something on a piece of paper. After the service the minister asked him about it, and he handed him the paper with a poem he had just written. The poem was unknown for many years until someone set it to music. It eventually went around the world. The poem is called “He Maketh No Mistake.”
My Father’s way may twist and turn
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad to know,
He maketh no mistake.
My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way.
Tho’ night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all, in Him,
He maketh no mistake.
There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim,
But come what may,
I’ll simply trust and leave it all to Him.
For by and by the mist will lift,
And plain it all He’ll make,
Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,
He made not one mistake.