With

Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:36-40 (day three)

“And it was so.”

Why would God have responded any other way to a humble request? One might view God as working up against our limitations, but the witness of the Bible is instead that God works with our limitations – especially when it comes to doubt. We give doubt a pretty hard time. And though it is possible for doubt to harden into a default posture for dealing with the world, doubt is really just a function of our limitations. We understand that our senses have limits, that we can’t always trust that what we think we understand is the way things actually are. Gideon was not acting from a place of hardened skepticism, but rather from a place of honest doubt. We might even say that he was “doubting in good faith.” God will work with that all day long.

Author: Bryan Richardson

Bryan Richardson is the Associate Pastor to Pastoral Ministries & College and Single Adults at FBCSA.

4 thoughts on “With”

    1. With Thomas, I think what we see is a person who wants to believe, but honestly needs some evidence more compelling than the word of his (sometimes hapless) companions. And Jesus is glad to help him with that request. I don’t view Jesus’s words to Thomas as a rebuke, but rather as a prophecy that even more blessing will come to people through the ages as they believe the gospel sight unseen because of the witness of Thomas (and the other apostles). And by the way, had any of the other apostles been absent like Thomas was, they probably wouldn’t have believed without seeing either. In fact, they initially did not believe the women who first reported the resurrection.

      With Sarah, I think the mild rebuke from the Lord did not come as a result of her statement of skepticism, but rather because she was not willing to own up to the fact that she had laughed when she first heard the news. At any rate, she kept that laughter story fresh in everyone’s memory by naming her son with the word that means “laughter.” It seems that both she and the Lord had a good laugh about it.

      Finally, regarding Zechariah, the Lord’s response to him seems to indicate that the problem was not doubt so much as disbelief — a deeper and more stubborn absence of belief than doubt. If the Lord seems to act differently from person to person in response to otherwise similar behavior, that’s often an indication that there is in fact something different going on in the life of each person. The Lord seems to have detected a posture of unbelief in Zechariah that he didn’t detect in either Thomas or Sarah.

      The book of James (1:6) warns against the kind of doubt that hardens into perpetual mistrust — a default position of unbelief that has given up on heaven’s activity. But doubt does have a role to play in the growth of our faith. We don’t know, and so we doubt. In Gideon’s life, it was honest doubt that propelled him to seek a resolution of his skepticism. God was, clearly, more than willing to respond favorably to such seeking. We would all do well to channel our doubt in just such a way so that doubt becomes the beginning point of faith. Doubt is a terrible place to end up, but it’s a pretty good place to start.

  1. Doubt

    “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him. But some doubted.” (Matthew 28:16-17)

    What did they doubt? There was no doubt that this was Jesus, nor doubt of the resurrection. They had seen Him in Jerusalem afterward on at least two occasions documented in Scripture.6 There was no doubt that He was among them once more as they touched Him, ate with Him and listened to Him. No doubt that God had been at work in their lives through this friend and teacher. And surely there was no doubt at this point that Jesus was the Messiah of Isaiah and the Son of God.

    There is a doubt which is mere uncertainty: the disciples likely had doubts about the end-game of their relationship with Jesus. The questions “What happens now?”; “Where do we go from here?”; “What are we to do?”; “What kind of Messiah are you?”, are ours today, too.

    But there is also a doubt in James 1:5-7 which is “double-minded”. The Greek word here basically says “two minds” or “two souls”. One cannot make up the mind about who Jesus is and fails to make the commitment to trust what is beyond personal knowledge and power. This was NOT the doubt of the disciples.

    When Jesus told the disciples to return to Jerusalem and wait, He did not tell them the details of that which was to come. There is no record that they had much knowledge of the Holy Spirit from a New Testament perspective. And they certainly had no idea of what Pentecost would bring and what it would mean. The fact that there was life-threatening hostility in Jerusalem made for much uncertainty—questions–and doubt.

    But they were not “double-minded” at the instructions of Jesus: the disciples’ obedience in the face of their questions introduced a new world within the old, one with new challenges which we all share. Their obedience ushered in a new life within the existing finite one.

    They returned to Jerusalem and the world has never been the same

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