We live in difficult times, when no one knows exactly what tomorrow will bring, how political or economic events will turn out, what new government orders or directives will be issued. All you have to do is turn on your phone or TV and a lot of different opinions, attitudes, deliberations and predictions about the future flow from there. People are full of fear and despair about tomorrow, about the future of their children, about their freedom, health, or finances.
On the one hand, this is indeed a very sad prospect – uncertainty, no one can be sure, there is nothing stable at the moment, ungodliness is bold and legalized by law; on the other hand, do we have reason to believe that tomorrow, on earth, will be better tomorrow? Do we as Christians have a promise that times would be brighter and better in the nearest future?
In this confusion, I see for myself and see those around us that our faith is now being hit hardest, i.e. the essence of what we rely on. I want to talk about certain laws of faith that, like it or not, affect us and our environment.
1. The majority can become wrong if there is no God left in their center. You can ask, how is it related with faith here? And the fact that faith is a very personal thing cannot be given by any group of people. And if suddenly the majority around you start talking things and behaving in a way that is contrary to God’s Word, bringing confusion, fear, division, and disbelief in God Himself, you know, they believed in something other than God.
Here I would like to give an example of the 12 spies (see Numbers 13-14) who returned from exploring the land of Canaan: 10 of them returned with the frightening knowledge that the cities of Canaan are well fortified and the people are tall and strong. However, the other two - Joshua and Caleb - brought more optimistic assessments. They testified that Canaan is well established and that it is ruled by powerful people. But they said God would give victory to His people.
The Israelites listened to both opinions and decided not to listen to the advice of Joshua and Caleb. People were overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. The dream of conquering the land quickly dissipated. Most turned against Moses, accusing him of bringing them out of Egypt only to leave (as they thought) in an uninhabited desert to die. In God's eyes, this reaction from Israel meant a complete absence of faith, and He did not allow any unbelievers to enter the land of promise — the people wandered in the desert for another 38 years. Only Joshua and Caleb entered the Canaanites from the older generation, who did not doubt God and did not panic.
2. God blesses not your opinion but obedience. God is a wonderful and loving companion and truly listens attentively to each of our opinions, fears or anxieties, doubts and even unbelief, He reassures and encourages; but He strictly forbids, and sometimes even withdraws, His protection if we stubbornly hold our own opinion and do not obey Him.
The story of Jonah is a great example. God sent Jonah to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to warn the city of possible destruction and to call for an abandonment of a wicked lifestyle. At first, Jonah did not want to be assigned to this job and leave. In the days of Jonah, Assyria was a heavy burden on Israel. If Nineveh was condemned, Jonah had no desire to help the city avoid doom, he had a clear and historically based opinion that he firmly adhered to. But it didn’t matter to God: after getting into the storm and staying in the belly of the whale for three days, Jonah repented of his stubbornness and bowed to God. Eventually, as God commanded, he went to Nineveh. His appearance provoked an unprecedented reaction: all the inhabitants of the city, from the King to the last poor, surrendered to the grace of God and condemned themselves for a wicked life. Therefore, God changed His judgment and spared the city. Although Jonah was again dissatisfied and angry and had a different opinion, God made it clear that He saw much more than man: “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:10-11).
3. When you trust God, the giants become grasshoppers. As I mentioned earlier, faith in God is never based on external circumstances. While they may roar and frighten, the believer’s heart remains calm, because it does not turn its inner eyes from the Lord. “Thus, saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, “If ye turn away, and be still, ye shall be saved. Peace and confidence are your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
Let us remember the battle between David and Goliath. David, sent by his father, obediently brought food to his brothers, who were fighting in King Saul's army at the time, although the battle could not be called that, but rather the great emotional tension and fear, when Goliath the Philistine giant cursed publicly, and blasphemed God and the people of Israel. David, soberly aware of the danger of the situation, was not afraid and did not question God's faithfulness. He understood his own weakness, which was obvious when he put on the armor given by Saul, but did not rely on himself at all, and on the battlefield Goliath met him not alone, but with the Lord in front: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17: 45-47). The fight was incredibly short, one accurate stone blow was enough and the giant was hit on the ground, with the second blow the giant's head was off his shoulders - the war was won, the whole nation was saved.
4. Sooner or later (often once later) God rewards obedience. At this point, we could talk about all 3 points listed above, but I would like to return to the history of Caleb. Although he did not doubt and believed in God's word that the Israelites could occupy the land of Canaan after 2 years of wandering, his faith and obedience to God was rewarded just 38 years later: “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it” (Numbers 14:24).
Therefore, I want to encourage everyone today to rely not on what we see or hear around, not on our own or a loved one's opinion, no matter how reasonable and intelligent it may sound. Opinion is nothing but our faith. Let God himself shape and assert it in our lives.
We live in a period of non-economic, non-moral and even non-political crisis, all these things are just symptoms, only a consequence. We live in a time of faith crisis.
God is certainly not indifferent to human pain and frustration, to the establishment of injustice. He cares more than any of us for the restoration of justice because of this, but our part is to seek God Himself, His presence, His face first, and everything else will be added. “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8).