How do you feel when someone questions your integrity or competency? If you’re like me, the answer is lousy. How, then, must God feel when we doubt Him – the One who’s power exceeds our imagination and whose character is flawless?
The Israelites found out the hard way. Psalm 78:19,20 say, “They (the Israelites) even spoke against God himself, saying, ‘God can’t give us food in the desert. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.’”
Perhaps they’d forgotten that God has good hearing when they uttered those words. In any case, they verbalized their thoughts about His ability, and He decided to defend His reputation. “When the Lord heard them, he was angry. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them” (vv. 21,22).
The passage tells about the skies opening and raining down manna. This was followed by birds, birds, and more birds – as plentiful as the sand on the seashore. The people gorged themselves but before they could swallow their fill, God struck their strongest men dead.
You’d think they’d learn their lesson: God isn’t happy when we doubt His character. But noooo. “In spite of this, the people kept on sinning. They refused to believe in his miracles. So he ended their lives in failure and gave them years of terror” (vv. 34,35).
We might sit here and say, “Wow – what a dumb bunch. God told them He’d provide. Why didn’t they believe Him?” We compare ourselves to them and give ourselves credit for not doing as they did. After all, we’d never say outright that we doubt God’s ability to give us what we need or to direct us regarding a specific decision we must make. We’d never dream of telling Him that He’s unable to heal a broken marriage. We’d never consider saying He’s unable to protect our kids…or would we? While the words might never cross our lips, our actions often convey our thoughts. And fear is a pretty good indicator that we struggle with doubt.
Wow – this passage really convicts me. Like a spotlight into the recesses of my heart, it exposes room for growth in my faith walk, especially in the area of trusting God’s ability to provide for my adult kids’ needs as they seek housing and better employment. How about you? What does this passage teach you?