Are You Losing Faith
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Do you feel as though you're drifting farther and farther from God? Here is what you must do now!
By John Halford
I am writing this in Amman, capital city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Today, Amman is a bustling, modern city of' nearly one million people, and one of the major crossroads of the Middle East.
In Bible times it was also important, although, of course, it was not as big as it is now.
The Bible records that this was the place where King David of Israel sent Uriah the Hittite to certain death. It is an ugly story, but one that teaches us an important lesson.
The death of Uriah
In the days of King David, Amman was known as Rabbah, and it was the capital city of the Ammonites. Just as today, there was hostility between the people of this town and Jerusalem, 60 or so miles to the west.
We read in II Samuel 11:1 how, about 3,000 years ago, King David sent Joab to lay siege to Rabbah. David, however, remained in Jerusalem, and there he made a tragic mistake.
You probably know the story. David saw Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his trusted generals, bathing, and lusted after her.
Then David committed a physical act of adultery with Bathsheba, and later Bathsheba found that she was pregnant (verses 2-5).
Then, as if the adultery wasn't bad enough, David made things even worse. He called Uriah back from the war so that Uriah could spend the night with his wife. David hoped Uriah would then think Bathsheba had become pregnant by him.
But that didn't work. Uriah was a loyal soldier who identified with the hardships of his men at the front. He refused to go home (verse 9)!
David could not persuade Uriah to change his mind. So David arranged for Uriah to be sent back to the war. David instructed that Uriah be assigned to the most dangerous part of the battle - and then be abandoned by his men to be killed (verses 14-15)!
The plan worked. Uriah was killed, probably while storming the old citadel that is now surrounded by modern Amman. So David was able to marry Bathsheba.
It was an ugly incident, uncharacteristic of David.
God liked David. He liked him for his courage David slew Goliath when everyone else was afraid. God liked him for his loyalty - David risked his life to save his sheep from a lion. David seemed to be a good shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep. God could identify with that!
So what happened to cause this courageous, loyal, God-fearing man to so tragically betray his faithful servant Uriah'? That was not like David. But then, supposedly converted people sometimes do very unconverted things. David had allowed himself to get into a terrible spiritual condition.
God recorded this incident for us, not to embarrass David, but to teach us a lesson: What happened to David could happen -is happening - to some people reading this article!
David drifted from God
David had slipped a long way. This was not just a bad day ---- a momentary lapse. It is obvious that David had embarked on a course that was leading him farther and farther away from God.
Think about it: Adultery was (and is) a serious sin, but David could have repented deeply when he realized what he had done. It is safe to assume that he didn't repent immediately.
Bathsheba could not have known she was pregnant until some time later. David had ample time to come to his senses and acknowledge the sin. But what did he do? He compounded it. Totally leaving God out of the picture, he tried to cover up the problem, first with subterfuge and then with murder.
David was in serious spiritual trouble - and in danger of losing out on salvation. Unfortunately, some who are reading this article have gotten themselves into the same condition David was in. They, too, are in deep spiritual trouble. They have known God's way, but they are ready to give it up. They started out well, with hope and enthusiasm. But something has happened. The spark is gone.
Are you that way?
Are you about to lose out?
Are you just going through the motions of living a Christian life? Do you feel hopeless, discouraged, condemned?
What was it that started the rot'? A big sin'? Or a series of little ones? Or maybe even a series of big ones? Perhaps you have let the cares of this life choke the zeal and drive you once had for God. And so now, do you feel you have slipped too far to get back?
Has it been weeks maybe months since you prayed properly? Has the Bible again become a strange book? Perhaps you still attend church services, but you don't feel you belong anymore. You feel like a fraud. You feel God is no longer your friend, and you expect Him to lower the boom on you any day.
You are on the verge of ruining the most wonderful and important opportunity that any human could be given - a chance to be in the first resurrection! And the tragic thing about all this is that there is no one to blame but yourself.
You know that -- but you no longer know what to do.
God knows, too, and He does know what to do!
Look what He did for David.
God was not prepared just to give up on David. God must have watched with great concern as David's spiritual life collapsed.
We can only imagine David's state of mind in those awful
weeks or months - his despair, his growing feeling of alienation
from God, the hollowness as the Holy Spirit within him began to be quenched.
But David did not look for God. So God went looking for him!
God sent Nathan the prophet to try to bring David to his senses (II Samuel 12:1-15). It worked. David heeded Nathan's stern correction and repented. No Justification. No excuses. Just a heartfelt "I have sinned against the Lord" (11 Samuel 12:13).
As David uttered those words, all heaven must have breathed a deep sigh of relief. David woke up and got back on the track to salvation.
You can, too. God has not changed. he will still fight for His sheep.
In David's case, God was not about to stand by and let this wonderful man fall away just because David had allowed himself to get down and out spiritually.
Think about this if you have allowed yourself to get into David's condition. Do you feel cut off that your prayers are going unheard? Is your appetite for God and His way dropping off?
Do you find yourself drifting back into your old ways, and lacking the will to do anything about it? Do you feel that God has lost interest in you --- and that you really can't blame Him, given your lack of interest for Him?
Then remember how God came looking for David!
And consider the parable of the good shepherd who leaves the 99 and goes looking for the one lost sheep. It's in Matthew 18, verses 10-14. See how it ends: "It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish" (verse
14). David was one of those little ones --- and so are you. And that means that somewhere out there the Good Shepherd is looking for you.
So do what David did. Admit the problem whatever it is. And pray. Yes, it's hard if you have gotten away from it but
force yourself. Lost sheep bleat till the shepherd finds them. Fast and pray if need be. Fasting focuses the mind wonderfully! Get
help and counsel from a servant of God. Lost sheep often can't make it back by themselves. They need a friendly shepherd to help them (Luke 15:5).
Don't be too proud to get help. Whatever it is that has estranged you from God, it is hardly as bad as David's sins adultery, deceit and the murder of a faithful, trusting friend. You haven't done that, have you? (And even if you have -- you aren't the first person to do so).
God wants you
After David repented, he wrote Psalm 51, which shows how deeply he understood.
He realized how badly he had let God down, and now he wanted to be restored to full favor, with the holy Spirit again guiding and leading him (verses 10-1 1 ). He wanted once more to anticipate salvation (verse 12). He wanted to have back everything that he had so nearly thrown away.
But why? Not just so he would be OK. David understood his calling. Notice verse 13: "Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You."
David asked God to restore him to useful service in His Work.
In the same way, God doesn't call anyone in this age as a favor, but because he has something for them to do. In this end-time Work of God, there is much to do and not enough laborers (Matthew 9:37-38).
If you have dropped aside, you are needed back. God won't replace you until He has given up looking for you.
You don't have to give in to despair and hopelessness. Swallow your pride. Ask God to work with you as He did with David.
You may be in a spiritual mess, but there is a way out.
Poor, faithful Uriah died in a battle not far from where I am writing this, but one day he will be resurrected. But David came
very close to losing his life forever.
What about you?