For the week of May 21, 2005 / 12 Iyar 5765
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 25:1 - 26:2
Haftarah: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:26,27)
Five weeks ago, the TorahBytes message entitled, The Danger of Doubt, looked at the story of the prophet Elisha's prediction of a sudden transformation of Israel's dire economic situation (2 Melachim / 2 Kings 7). We saw how dangerous doubting God can be. When a certain officer heard Elisha's prophecy, he rejected it as impossible. As a result he didn't get to partake of the abundant and remarkable blessings which came.
Upon further reflection, I found myself wondering about God's drastic response to the officer's unbelief. Who could blame him for having difficulty accepting the predicted miracle? Is all doubt that dangerous? Are there not several examples in the Bible of people who didn't immediately accept predictions of fantastic events, including Abraham, Moses, and others?
Miracles by design are hard to accept. They are acts of God's power totally outside our normal understanding. That's why they are often described as "signs and wonders". If they don't challenge our normal way of thinking, if they are not difficult to accept, then either they are not really miracles, or we are not in touch with reality.
As I looked more carefully at what the officer actually said I saw that his was not just a simple expression of doubt. He said, "Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?" The officer was not just having difficulty with the prediction. He was saying that even if God got involved in the situation, it would not be good enough.
God is very patient with our lack of faith. I am not at all claiming that unbelief in any form is acceptable, but God knows we are not quick to believe in him and his power. We read in the Scriptures how he takes time with people to assure them of his word and ability.
But in this case the officer wasn't struggling. He outright rejected a most fundamental attribute of God - his omnipotence - which is a fancy way to refer to God's ability to do anything.
Many years after Elisha, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and said,
To deny God's ability is to deny God himself. Nothing is too hard for God. However else we may struggle in our faith, we must come to the place where we accept that his power is limitless. Once we get to that point, the door of our hearts is open to whatever he may want to do in our lives.
I wonder how many of us cannot hear the great things God wants to do in us and through us, because we don't believe in his ability. Think of how we would pray and live differently if in our heart of hearts we knew God's power had no limits.
Sound harsh? Maybe so. But let's get real and do something about it.
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