When Your Circumstances Determine Your Response to God’s Word

In Exodus chapter 6 God promises to act on his peoples’ behalf and rescue them, bringing them out of slavery and placing them in the Promised Land. But notice how Israel as a whole responds: “. . . but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery” (Ex. 6:9, emphasis mine).

Their circumstances determined their response to God’s Word. Rather than responding in faith, their unbelief shines through because of the harsh treatment brought upon them by the hands of Pharaoh and his minions. What a challenge it is to respond in faith when our circumstances are less than desirable! I wholeheartedly agree with Jack Miller when he said, “Most problems are faith problems.”[1] O for the grace to be able to see that.

In one of his sermons, the great Charles Spurgeon said this:

 God’s children run home when the storms come on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. . . . A hypocrite, when he feels that he has been afflicted by God, resents the infliction, and, like a slave, would run from the master who has scourged him; but not the true heir of heaven, he kisses the hand which smote him, and seeks shelter from the rod in the bosom of that very God who frowned upon him. You will observe that the desire to commune with God is intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation.[2]

 On many occasions, I think we wrongly infer that God must not be good, or that he doesn’t love us because he placed these challenging circumstances in our lives. The mistake here, I think, is assuming that we come to know who God is by evaluating our circumstances. Such is not the case. We come to know who God is by reading his Word. If we insist upon trying to know God on the basis of our life experiences, then, according to Jack Miller once again, “you can end up hating God for not being the guarantor of [your] own idea of [your] rights and prerogatives.”[3]

Let us not tell God, the Creator of the universe, that we will not receive his Word. Instead, let us place our hands over our mouths, embrace his Word, and fall into his gracious arms. If we say anything, let the words be, “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

 

[1] C. John Miller, The Heart of a Servant Leader, ed. Barbara M. Juliani (Philipsburg: P&R, 2004), 53.

[2] This sermon can be found online by looking up Spurgeon’s sermon “Effective Prayer.” Original source is, Charles H. Spurgeon, “Order & Argument in Prayer,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 12, No. 700.

[3] Miller, The Heart of a Servant Leader, 265.

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2 thoughts on “When Your Circumstances Determine Your Response to God’s Word

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  1. I think there is a part to every one of us that resents God for not conforming to the god of our own design-“made in our likeness and image”. Powerful blog bro…Keep them coming!!

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