Do you believe in God or do you believe in God?
You are probably thinking, “Uh, Preacher, these are the same thing.”
Let me explain the difference.
When the Biblical book of Exodus starts, the Hebrews are slaves in Egypt. After a few hundred years of servitude, God calls a deliverer, Moses.
Moses is to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and Egypt to the Promised Land. God performs a series of miracles, the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the supplying of Manna and quail, victory in battle, and several other things to assist Moses in accomplishing the task.
They finally reach the Jordan River, the Promised Land lies on the other side. God has promised them, at least, seven times; He would conquer all their enemies and give them the land (Exodus 3:8, 3:17, 13:5, 23:23, 23:28, 32:2, 34:11).
They comprise a team of 12 men, one from each tribe to act as spies, enter the land, and see what is ahead of them.
When the scouts return, there is good news, and there is bad news.
The good news – the land is great; they could not ask for anything better! Numbers 13:23,27, “And they came unto the brook Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.”
The bad news – The people that live there are strong, their cities are impenetrable, and by golly, those guys are huge!
Numbers 13:28,33, “Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: moreover we saw the children on Anak there. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
After presenting to the people what they discovered – an argument arose. Joshua and Caleb argued that God promised to fight for them, and assured them the victory.
However the ten win out over the two, and the people of Israel decided not to enter the Promised Land.
Now, getting back to my original question, “Do you believe in God or do you believe in God?”
All 12 of these guys believed in God. Not a one of them would even think of being an atheist. They were leaders of their tribes, all of them were extremely religious. They not only believed in God, but God was a huge portion of their everyday lives.
However, only two of the 12 believed in God. Only two of them took God at His Word. Remember, God had told them seven times He would give them victory. God had provided the land, all they needed was the faith to take God at His Word – ten of the 12 would not do this.
The Promised Land is a picture of the Christian life. The Promised Land had enemies within, it had foes needing conquering. Therefore, the Promise Land is not an image of heaven, as some believe – we will not have battles to fight and enemies to overcome once we reach heaven.
The faith needed for the Hebrews to cross the Jordan is a picture of the faith we need for entering the Christian life, in other words – salvation.
Do you believe in God like the ten or do you believe in God like the two?
Many who claim to be Christian are like the ten, definitely not atheists, often leaders in their church, extremely religious (or spiritual), but when regarding salvation, they are trying to establish their own righteousness (Romans 10:3).
Others, like the two, by faith, take God at His Word (Romans 10:17); understanding they have no righteousness in themselves (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23), and salvation is only by faith in Jesus who died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 4:1-5, 10:10; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Are you more like the 10 or more like the two? Again, do you believe in God or do you believe in God?