God’s promise that he’ll be with us is the same today. He said not to fear when the enemy comes. We don’t have to doubt.
Deuteronomy 20:1-4 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them…thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall…speak unto the people, And shall say…Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified…For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
God will help us if we look up to him for our help.
Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Doubt: to feel unconvinced or uncertain about something because of lacking knowledge about an outcome; uncertainty, hesitation, feeling unsettled or undecided.
David was feeling unsettled and had doubts about God helping him.
Psalm 22:1-2 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
David asked God if he was going to forget him forever. How many of us have prayed like David because we had doubts?
Psalm 13:1-2 How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
If we don’t handle our circumstantial doubts, they will turn into spiritual doubts and then into intellectual doubts. There are 3 types of doubt:
- Intellectual: A person doubts the Bible is true, doubts that Jesus is the son of God, etc.
- Spiritual: We question – am I really a Christian, what’s wrong with me for feeling this way, or why do I still feel guilty?
- Circumstantial: In life’s trials we think – Something is wrong with me, or if I was saved I wouldn’t be it this situation.
Zacharias was high priest and was taking his turn to do the priestly duties at the temple. He and his wife were very old (about 70-90 years) and had no children. Zacharias was afraid when he saw the angel by the altar, as any of us would be. It didn’t make him less of a priest when he doubted and didn’t believe the angel. If we doubt, it doesn’t mean we aren’t saved.
Luke 1:5-20 There was in the days of Herod…a certain priest named Zacharias…his wife was…Elisabeth. And they were both righteous…And they had no child…both were now well stricken in years. And…while he executed the priest’s office …went into the temple…there appeared…an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense…Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said…Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard…Elisabeth shall bear thee a son…call his name John. And…he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and…be filled with the Holy Ghost…And many…shall he turn to the Lord…Zacharias said…Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said…I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God…thou shalt…not able to speak, until…these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words…
Zacharias finished his duties and returned home, then Elizabeth conceived and hid herself 5 months.
Luke 1:21-25 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak…And…the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. …his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt…to take away my reproach…
When the same angel told Mary she’d have Jesus, she asked how it could be because she didn’t understand, but she did not doubt the angel’s word. She hurried to Juda and stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months, probably until John was born.
Luke 1:34-39…Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?…angel answered…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee…shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God…thy cousin Elisabeth…also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month…For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said…be it unto me according to thy word…Mary arose…went into the hill country with haste…
John was 26 years old when he began preaching to repent and that Jesus was coming. Jesus began preaching at 30 years old. John had baptized Jesus and seen a dove descend on him as a voice said, “This is my beloved Son” (Matthew 3:16-17). John was in prison and maybe wondered why Jesus didn’t get him out. He sent to ask if Jesus was the son of God.
Matthew 11:1-3 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
Jesus told the disciples about what he’d done and the disciples returned to tell John.
Matthew 11:4-6 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
After the disciples left, Jesus praised John as he never did anyone else and he didn’t condemn John for having doubt.
Matthew 11:7-13 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see?…A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger…which shall prepare thy way before thee…Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he…
The disciples were afraid to go back where Lazarus was buried. Thomas wasn’t afraid but willing to go with Jesus and die. Thomas asked honest questions because he wanted to know. God doesn’t mind if we ask questions to resolve our doubts.
John 11:14-16 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead…nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
John 14:1-6 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again, and receive you…that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith…we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Thomas and Judas weren’t there when Jesus appeared and showed the marks in his hands and side to the others. Thomas wanted to touch Jesus’ hand and side like the others had when Jesus came the next time.
John 20:19-29…disciples were assembled…came Jesus…in the midst, and saith…Peace be unto you. And…shewed…his hands and his side…breathed on them, and saith…Receive ye the Holy Ghost…But Thomas…was not with them…other disciples therefore said…We have seen the Lord. But he said…Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days…disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus…in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then…to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands…be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered…My Lord and my God. Jesus saith… Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen…yet have believed.
Our doubts are often related to long trials, or disappointment of our expectations when they’re different than God’s. That’s why we need to trust God with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) so God can help us handle our doubts and trust him. When people prayed for Peter, they were astonished when he came and doubted it was him. God answers prayer in his time and way. We need to admit our doubts and ask God for help. He lets us endure hard trials so we can help others sometime. Our feelings may be contrary to what the word teaches. We need to doubt our doubts, if they don’t align to God’s word. When doubt attacks, go back to what you know is true. God never turns away an honest doubter. We can ask God to have compassion on us and help us. We don’t have to be afraid to ask.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)