Faith Expressed

Isaiah 9:17a Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; For every one of them is godless and an evildoer and every mouth is speaking foolishness.  NASB

There are at least 76 verses in the Bible that mention widows.  God cares about the widows and orphans.  He sent Elijah to minister to a widow and her son.  Jesus raised to life the son of a widow as the people were carrying his body out to be buried.  Jesus knew the financial condition of the widow who put all she had to live on in the Temple offering. Many of these verses tell us that God is watching us and instructs us as to how we are to treat widows and orphans.  But this verse tells us that God did not have pity on the widow nor the orphan because they were doing evil and were godless. They were misled by the false prophets and teachers that brought only confusion as they taught the popular thinking of the times. Rather than seek and trust God’s wisdom they put their faith in the latest ideas and “wisdom”. They were repeating the same process over and over again expecting different results, but instead, they were developing a habit.

We are told in Mark 6:1-6 that Jesus was unable to do many miracles in His home town because of their unbelief.  Could we be guilty of the same thing?  We are given another perspective later in Mark 6:45-56. After the miracle of feeding the five thousandJesus sent the disciples to the other side of the lake while He remained on the mountain to pray.  The wind came up and the disciples were straining at the oars late at night. They must not have been making much progress because Jesus came to them walking on the lake. The verse says He intended to pass by, but when they saw Him they were frightened and called out.  It was when, and not until, they called out, that Jesus got in the boat and calmed the storm.  Why did they not call out when the storm came up?  Verse 52 says … they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, their heart was hardened. NASB

Between Mark 6:1-6 and verse 54, Jesus sent the disciples out to preach. He gave them power over the unclean spirits and told them to rely on God's provision not theirs. Later, when they returned, a great crowd gathered and since it was late Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd. The disciples could not see how they could do that but Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish that were offered to Him and fed the 5000.  Jesus had the disciples pass out the food and pick up the leftovers. So here are the disciples who have spent time with Jesus and who, not only saw the miracles, but participated in some of them, and yet their hearts were hardened! With all they experienced in this chapter they still turned to their own limited resources to solve the problem they were facing instead of turning to Jesus.

Okay, I’m guilty!  I just wonder how many times I have been straining at the oars, trying to work out some problem, and Jesus was as near as a prayer, but passed by because my heart was too hard to even think to cry out to Him?

This is the way God teaches.  He instructs and then allows us to experience events so we can put into practice what He has instructed.  We memorize the lesson better through experience. God is not only trying to teach us His Word, but build our faith as we put His Word into practice. The goal of the lesson is that we learn to trust in Him rather than in ourselves in this fallen world, and as we pray, our prayers express our faith in Him.

James has something to say about prayer offered without faith and prayer offered by faith, in Chapters 4 and 5 of his book. 

Let’s see. Would I rather have quarrels and conflict or have an effective prayer life that accomplishes much?

Offer your prayers as an expression of your faith.


Proverbs 3:3-8

Grace and Peace

Pastor Dave