They spoke against God;
they said, “Can God really
spread a table in the wilderness?
True, he struck the rock,
and water gushed out,
streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?” — Psalm 78:19-20
During this season when we give thanks for God’s many blessings and His faithfulness, enjoy this collection of devotions on what it means for us to be people of faith. As an expression of faith and thankfulness, find out how you can help elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union who are alone and in need of lifesaving assistance this holiday season.
One has to wonder how after seeing awesome miracles as they left Egypt, the children of Israel still had trouble with faith. Tradition teaches that during the exodus from Egypt, the lowliest maidservant among the Israelites experienced greater visions than even the legendary prophet Ezekiel!
Yet, after Psalm 78:19-20, we find that “again and again they put God to the test” (Psalm 78:41). They tested God in the wilderness and wondered, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7). Could God provide water for them? Would He supply bread? How about meat?
The Lord “made the water stand up like a wall” (Psalm 78:13). He had split the sea for them! That wasn’t enough? What greater proof did they need to know that there is a God and that He can provide?
It has been said that the greatest distance in the world is from the head to the heart. We can know something in our minds, but feeling it in our hearts to the point where we live it, that’s something else entirely. The Israelites did not struggle with belief in God; they struggled with putting that belief into action.
There is a great story that illustrates this beyond Psalm 78:19-20. Around the mid-1800s a man known as the Great Blondin attempted to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Five thousand people gathered to watch. In the middle of the walk Blondin suddenly stopped, backflipped into the air, landed on the rope, and then continued safely to the other side. Blondin would cross the Falls many more times – once blindfolded, once carrying a stove, once in chains, and once on a bicycle.
One time, he showed up with a wheelbarrow. Blondin turned to the crowd and shouted, “Who believes that I can cross pushing this wheelbarrow?” Every hand in the crowd went up. Blondin pointed at one man.
“Do you believe that I can do it?” he asked. “Yes, I believe you can,” said the man. “Are you sure?” said Blondin. “Yes,” said the man. “Absolutely certain?” “Yes, absolutely certain.” “Thank you,” said Blondin. “Then, sir, get into the wheelbarrow.”
Anyone can have a belief, but how many of us are ready to live what we believe? There will be times in our lives when our faith will be strong, but our fear will seem stronger. We will all have to decide if we are willing to step into the wheelbarrow and trust that God will deliver us safely across the wire.
Faith is not tested by what we say or even by what we believe. The true test of faith is in how we live.