Tuesday, August 21, 2012
BELIEVE vs BELIEVE IN
Have you ever been asked if you believe in something or someone… oh, say, Satan? What do you answer? I answer, “Absolutely not.” (Does this mean that I do not believe that Satan exists? Not even close.) I go on to say that I believe IN Jesus Christ and since Jesus told me that Satan exists, I believe that he does exist and that he is battling Jesus for the throne of God. I believe that he is a power to be reckoned with and that there is war going on between his principality and Christ’s. I also believe that Jesus Christ has won and will always and forever win that battle. I do not believe IN Satan. I do believe IN Jesus Christ.
One very interesting person found in the books of Kings is not of Judah or Israel. He is the King of Aram, Ben-hadad. He was the totally loyal, generous, giving friend and treaty partner of Solomon. He is the one whom Solomon betrayed near the end of his life. And, though Ben-Hadad was hurt and angry with Solomon, he continued to believe certain things about the God of Israel.
Through experience he had come to realize that the God of Israel was absolutely in charge of the destiny of kings and of nations. AND he believed that no other God had the powers to control history the way the God of Israel did. Yet, he continued to worship his own false God and tried to win control of Israel through constant raids on the cities of Israel.
In chapter 5 of 2 Kings, we meet one of Ben-hadad’s loyal commanders and servant, Naaman. Naaman had leprosy. Naaman’s wife had an Israelite slave girl who had been captured on one of these raids. She had been bold about her faith in the God of Israel and boldly suggested that perhaps Naaman could be healed if he would go to see the man of God, Elisha. The wife told her husband what the girl had said and he went to the King to ask permission. The King said, “By all means, go.” Then he wrote a letter of introduction to the King of Israel (Joram) because King Ben-hadad assumed that this prophet was subject to the king. :)
And I smile because we know that to be far from true. “As soon as the King of Israel read the letter, he said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a fight with me!” :) Fortunately for both, Elisha was fully aware of what was going on and quickly sent word that the king should send the man to him. Sometimes God at work can actually bring us a giggle or even an LOL.
To make a long story short, after a struggle with his pride, the man was healed and he proclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel!” He also swore off kneeling to or making sacrifices to any other God.
Now, if we compare Ben-Hadad and Naaman, who believed that God exists and who believed IN God? Naamans heart ruled over his head and he threw himself to God. Ben-Hadad never did. Believe? Believe IN? Huge difference. Eternal difference. And a powerful reminder that we can NOT play the game of Political Correctness in our walk, talk or answers to the questions we are asked. We must not avoid answering the world’s questions. We must speak boldly about our beliefs. And to do that we must know what we believe.
Again? Know what we believe? YES. Feast on the Word that we believe IN. Read it thoroughly. We must not get caught up in reading through the Bible in 90 Days, or even one year and think that we have covered it. We must read it thoroughly, cover to cover, many times in our lives, stopping to make notes and observations as we go. We must not depend on other people to feed us. We must feed ourselves. And we absolutely must “overeat.”
May God bless us all with a hungry heart and a determination to feed it. We will find joy if we do.