Faith and Doubt
A daily devotion for August 25th
11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,
“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
for the Lord is good;
his love endures forever.”
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.
12 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks. 13 In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.
14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15 “‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it[a] will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
17 For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18 nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’”
19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”
23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not noticed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two kingdoms[b] he chose’? So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation. 25 This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes[c] and have compassion on them.’”
I took the deed of purchase — the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy — and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard. In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions:This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.Jeremiah 32:11-15
What a ringing testimony to the power and greatness of God! God had said the land ultimately would be restored, and this deed would be valid. Therefore, it was to be put in a safe place. That is what Jeremiah did. He sent Baruch down to the title company and had him bring a deed to be signed. He acted before witnesses, and had the witnesses sign the deed and the copy — one to be sealed in a safe deposit box, the other to be kept by Jeremiah himself and passed on to his heirs, so that eventually they might claim title to this land. He worked in this normal way, and then clearly announced the purpose of it all:
It is because God says there will be houses and fields and vineyards bought in this land again.
Faith takes no halfway measures. There is no hedging of Jeremiah's bets here, no saying to these people,
Well, I'm just buying this property on speculation, hoping it will all work out, but it's just a gamble, a shot in the dark. No, he assures them that God has spoken, and that everything he is doing is consistent with the word of God.
Later in chapter 32, another quality of faith comes in. Beginning with verse 16 and continuing through verse 25, a remarkable prayer of Jeremiah is recorded. These are Jeremiah's private thoughts about this deed. Before men this prophet is bold and resolute and confident. But before God he admits that he is not quite so sure this is all going to work out. He says to the Lord in verse 25,
And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, I am glad this account is here, because this is what we might call
Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.
the doubtings of faith.
Faith always has its doubts. I once had the impression that if you doubted, you could not have faith — that faith and doubt were contrary to one another. But I gradually began to understand that this is not true. Doubt is the proof of faith. Doubt is actually an attack upon the very faith we have. You cannot have doubts unless you have faith. Faith is the way God works, and so the enemy is bound to attack your faith immediately as he sees you beginning to act and live and walk by faith. Therefore doubts will begin to arise — as a result of Satan's attempt to overthrow your faith. There is no faith without doubts.
Jesus himself, though he always lived by faith, and everything he did was by faith, nevertheless was subjected to times of severe doubt. Otherwise he was not
one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning, (Hebrews 4:15 RSV). Doubt is part of the life of faith. If you are trying to walk by faith in a promise God has given you, and you are troubled by doubts, this is the proof you are really living by faith. Hang in there! Do not let your doubts overthrow you.
Father, thank you for reminding me of the kind of God you are. I rest upon your faithfulness, praying that I will be strengthened by faith to walk as the prophet walked in the midst of my own challenging times.
Life Application: Are we learning to see our doubts as corollary to our faith? Do we process our doubts through what we have proven to be true? Have we experienced the holy fear of audacious faith?
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