The Preacher Says....  
  Take a Step Back  
  Psalm 39 NEB

In the winter months I succumb to this obsession I have for creature comforts and fly with the snowbirds to Florida for a month or two of warmth and sunshine. And what happens? My brain turns to mush. Trips to the grocery store, dining in—and out, sparring for tee times, TV, crossword puzzles, these things occupy most of my time. Bible reading is continued just to keep from feeling guilty. Life at home-- isn’t it just about the same circle, only a little larger? Children, bills, work. The goal is the same: Be Happy—be comfortable in my nice home , nice family, nice car and everything else—nice faith. How about nice flabby? Everything about me gets flabby, including my faith. The result of a flabby faith is that some smart aleck wizard comes down and knocks you and your faith into a cocked hat. Your faith once built on a rock, has developed termites. Let me ask you a question. Biblically, and intellectually, is your faith too shaky to defend? To use another figure, was your house built on a rock? Or was it sand?

Please take a step back. You know, people sometimes re-new their vows. You’ve heard of couples who re-new their wedding vows decades later. Why not re-new your faith? Begin at book 1, page 1, and ask the big question. What’s it all about? Does life have meaning? Well, life either has meaning, or it doesn’t. Are you willing to believe that it means nothing? Now this would require extraordinary faith. So where do we find meaning? If God has a plan, where can it be found? Is God’s plan In nature? There’s grandeur there, but no plan is visible. In books? What books? Novels? Histories? Biographies? Only one book comes to mind which claims to deal with the subject. Some on the religious front, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam,—all make claims to truth, or their interpretation of it, so we must ask the question, does every road lead to Rome? Incidentally, only the Christian promises and Judaism deny the immortality of the soul.

The book that deals exclusively with the subject we face is the Bible, written over a period of 1500 years, by a total of 40 authors, and all miraculously consistent. The great theme is the resurrection of the body to new life. In other words, the promise of eternal salvation to man by the grace of God. To bolster our faith we have the evidence of fulfilled prophecy. We can lay a firm foundation in this fact by looking to the innumerable archeological discoveries that confirm Bible truths. A cursory study of its pages will reveal to the reader, that this book is different from all others, divinely inspired. The witness of the wandering Jew may be the greatest testament we need to have in order to pay attention to what the Bible has to say.

May I suggest that in order to strengthen your faith you have to begin with God who, we’re told, will reward them that diligently seek Him. We’re not going to be saved collectively by getting on a bus together with a lot of others in hopes of reaching the kingdom. You can’t embrace the herd mentality—you have to figure it out for yourself. Remember, no pain, no gain.

How tedious this all is. Christ died for us. That’s all you need to know. In our time on this earth our special mission is to keep the truth alive. The hardest thing to grasp is, why did it have to be this way? Why is it just Abraham’s seed that finds favor? Why is the Way so narrow? Why must we forsake everything? The prophet Isaiah sheds some light:

Woe to him that quarrels with his maker, To him who is but a potsherd (broken pottery) Among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘what are you making?’ Does your work say ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten’, or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ This is what the Lord says—the Holy One of Israel, And its maker: . . .do you question me about my children, Or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. Mine own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus (type of Christ) in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city And set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, Says the Lord Almighty. (Is 45. 9 – 12 NIV)

Well, you finally have to understand that God wins the argument. So it was with King David who first argued with God in the 38th Psalm, saying, Lord, please don’t rebuke or chasten me in your displeasure, and then comes to praise Him in Psalm 103, recognizing that God knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust. Best we stay off the bus, step back, walk the road alone. No. Not alone.

Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.