Last Tuesday, in Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 3, we saw that mountain-moving faith is strong enough to drive you to do the illogical and push you into blind obedience. We also saw that mountain-moving faith doesn’t need to be “great” or “perfect” faith. It doesn’t mean we never doubt. It doesn’t even have to be there from the beginning on. We just need to develop that mustard-seed-sized faith to move those mountains.
Despite these attempts at defining mountain-moving faith, I still find it is a concept that is not easy to understand. Whenever I’m having trouble grasping the actual definition of something complex, I often look at the opposite meanings for help. Thus, in order for us to fully understand what ‘mountain-moving faith’ is and whether or not we have it, it would be good to look at a few Biblical examples of people who did not exhibit ‘mountain-moving faith’…
For anyone not familiar with the story, I would encourage you to readJudges 6,7 in their entirety. The “cliff notes” version is this: Israel was suffering under the rule of the Midianites, and after years of idolatry, they finally cried out to God. He answered them by sending His angel to Gideon: “Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!'” (Judges 6:14 NLT)
Gideon’s response? “But Lord…how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” (Judges 6:15 NLT)
God didn’t punish Gideon for his lack of faith, He simply gave him assurance: “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” (Judges 6:16 NLT)
Gideon wasn’t convinced: “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me.” (Judges 6:17 NLT). He received it.
Unfortunately, his conviction didn’t last. As soon as the pressure from Midian was on, “Gideon said to God, ‘If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” (Judges 6:36-37 NLT)
Gideon again received his sign: “When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.” (vs. 38 NLT)
But that still wasn’t enough. He asked for yet another sign (seeJudges 6:39-40)!
Friends, Gideon did not have ‘mountain-moving faith’. Even though he received a clear revelation from God, he asked for–not one but three!–signs of confirmation.
Moses was called by God to lead the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, as recorded inEx. 3 & 4.
His response?“Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11 NLT)
God assured him and even gave him a sign (SeeEx. 3:12). Moses’ response?
“If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” (Vs. 13 NLT), to which God patiently gave him the answer (SeeEx. 3:14-15) and proceeded to restate and expand upon the promise (SeeEx. 3:16-22).
Moses still wasn’t convinced: “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” (Ex. 4:1 NLT)
The Lord replied by giving him two miraculous signs (SeeEx. 4:2-9)
Still Moses wasn’t convinced: “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” (Ex. 4:10 NLT)
I could go on, but you get the picture. Moses would develop ‘mountain-moving faith’, but at the time of his calling, he did not have it. Otherwise, his response to God would have been something like this: “Here I am, Lord! Send me!”
The disciples were often admonished for their lack of faith. Here is just one example, as recorded inMatt. 8:23-28. They were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus was asleep in the back. A storm arose, and the disciples woke Jesus up. Jesus’s response? “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” (Matt. 8:26 NLT). It is only after admonishing them for their lack of faith that He calmed the storm.
Even Jesus’ disciples did not have ‘mountain-moving faith’. If they had, they would have slept with Jesus in the back of the boat, ever knowing that God would carry them through the storm.
In summary then, ‘mountain-moving faith’ is faith that does not require a sign (and certainly not three of them!); it does not question God and give excuses; and it does not demand to be delivered from the storms of life.
Please understand that God’s hand was not stopped from moving by these signs of shaky faith. Gideondid deliver Israel. Moses did lead the people out of Egypt, and the disciples were delivered from the storm. Thus, their reactions were not evil, they were simply signs that they lacked ‘mountain-moving faith’.
Join us on Saturday for an example of someone with exemplary mustard-seed-sized faith in Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 4″.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Mountain-Moving Faith” mini-series, please click here!)