“Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, ‘O my Lord, let the man of God which Thou didst send come again unto us….’”
Judges 13: 8
King James Version
Doubt The Messenger – Doubt The Message”
“My hosanna has passed through the furnace of doubt.”
What doubts have entered my life?
Have I ever doubted the message was from God because the messenger didn’t “fit the mold” in the way I thought they should?
“To doubt is not sin, but to be contented to remain in doubt when God has provided, ‘many infallible proofs’ to cure it, is.”
Irwin H. Linton
“I find that doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.”
If ever there is something I’m thankful for in the Bible, it is the repeated number of times we find stories where people who exhibit “weak” faith and “little” belief, require God to confirm and reconfirm His guidance, word and even His presence.
The Scottish Old Testament scholar, Robert Davidson, observed. “It is in the struggle to maintain certainties in the midst of uncertainty, in the painful groping for new light in the midst of a darkness that seems total, that the Old Testament bears its clearest witness to the courage to doubt.” If the truth of this statement is to be revealed, we need look no further than the story of Manoah and his wife.
Told by an Angel of the Lord she was going to have a son, “Faithful” immediately informed her husband about the great news, only to be met with skepticism. I wasn’t there so I don’t know if it was because a woman told Manoah the news or, as some Biblical scholars observed, that it was Manoah’s own lack of faith, but for whatever reason, Manoah asked God to send the messenger again. He evidently wanted to hear from the angel himself. No second-hand story for Manoah.
Interestingly enough, let’s not be too hard on Manoah for not believing his wife. Instead, let’s go over to the New Testament and take a look at two specific times when Heaven’s messengers weren’t believed, so the message wasn’t believed, either.
Both of these cases happened after Jesus’ death. The first is found in Mark 16: 10, 11. Mary Magdalene told the disciples who had been with Jesus, as they mourned and wept, that Jesus was alive, and had been seen by her. The Bible says these disciples, “Believed not!” But before we criticize the disciples, let’s remember that Mark informs us, in Chapter 16: 9, that it was Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus had cast seven devils, who was God’s chosen messenger. Talk about a flawed messenger. It might have been difficult for you and me to believe something coming from Mary’s mouth that sounded so impossible. A woman who had a history of being out of her mind! Because the messenger wasn’t someone the disciples expected to carry the news of Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples didn’t believe the message.
The same thing happened with Thomas. When told that Jesus was alive by a bunch of his fellow disciples, who were so frightened and alone they were hiding in a room with the door bolted, informed his pals that if he could not see, feel, and touch his Lord, he wouldn’t believe a word they said.
How about you and me? Have you ever rejected the message because you didn’t like the messenger? Or worse yet, as I know I have done before in my life, when the messenger didn’t look like or act like what I expected God would send, I chose to ignore what they said.
The Apostle Paul sums up best, the idea, that God often works in ways we would never expect, to accomplish His plan in each of our lives. This is how The Message explains God’s work: “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of the “brightest and the best among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’?” (1 Corinthians 1: 26, 27, The Message.)
When Manoah’s wife “Faithful” told her husband the great news of God’s intervention on the part of His children, too bad Manoah didn’t immediately believe his God-fearing wife. For heaven’s messenger carried heaven’s message of deliverance.
Let us never reject the message our Father has for us just because the messenger doesn’t match some pre-conceived notion we have in our heads.
“Every step toward Christ kills a doubt. Every thought, word, and deed for Him carries you away from discouragement.”
“Forgive us Lord when we want proof for our faith, and demand absolute certainty before we will commit ourselves to You. Strengthen our trust in You, so that we, who have not seen You, may still believe; and in believing may be blessed with the fullness of joy now and always.”
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