SermonShort-Lived Faith
An all-creatures Bible Message

Short-Lived Faith
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
20 September 2020
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Exodus 16:1-21
Psalm 78:1-8
Matthew 20:17-34
 
Short-lived faith is acting upon our belief in God for a limited period of time, but then begin to compromise it by allowing the corrupt and violent ways of this world to creep in until the lives of these people become it is very much like the people who live in the world.
 
Another aspect of short-lived faith is when people who have lived in the ungodly ways of this world come to believe in the Lord, but donít leave the ways of this world, in this case their faith is extremely short lived.
 
As an example, we know that there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, and we know that God wants us to bring His heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, but most people continue to consume the products of pain, suffering, and death that come from the producers of meat and dairy products; thus, the people who consume these products have compromised their faith, if they ever had any.
 
Now, we have to face the fact that none of us are perfect for we have all fallen short of the glory of God, but the difference is when we realize that what we have done with a repentant heart and return to living in the heavenly will of God, as opposed to those who continue to live in the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
 
So today, we are going to take a look at some Biblical examples of peopleís faith and decide if and how they fit into our study of short-lived faith.
 
Letís begin our Biblical excursion by looking at the Israelites as recorded in Exodus 16:1-21Ö
 
1. Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.
 
This is only a month and a half since saw all the miracles that God has performed, and how He has saved them from the hands of the Egyptians, so all of these things should still be clear in their memories.
 
2. And the whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
 
Instead of simply and prayerfully asking God for what they needed, they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, which is a clear indication of their short-lived faith.
 
3. And the sons of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
 
God obviously knew that they were hungry, but He seems to have been testing their faith to see what they would do, and they failed the test miserably; they should have known that if God performed all the miracles He did, He surely could have given them food.
 
4. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.
 
The people grumbled about meat and bread, but God was only willing to give them bread, which is not a product of pain, suffering and death as is meat; He wanted them to be vegan as it was in Eden, for living that way is in His heavenly will.
 
5. And it will come about on the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily."
 
This is also a miracle, but did the Israelites recognize it?
 
6. So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, "At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt;
 
In other words, ďwill you recognize this miracle and stop your grumbling?Ē
 
7. and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?"
 
Moses and Aaron are reminding the people that their short-lived faith and grumbling is really against the Lord. 
 
8. And Moses said, "This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD."
 
In his verbal chastisement of the people, Moses seemed to be adding something to what God was originally willing to do; Moses added meat to what God was wanted to do, for God wanted them to have only bread.
 
There is also another possibility that later scribes added meat to these verses for their own political reasons.
 
We donít have to change anything in the Bible to show Godís true intent, for it was clearly stated in verse 4; God only wanted to supply vegan food.
 
9. Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, 'Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your grumblings.'"
 
10. And it came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
 
This was another clear indication that peopleís grumblings are really against the Lord, something that they didnít seem to recognize, but that we need to understand.
 
11. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
 
12. "I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"
 
We are not told about why God changed His mind, but if the meat and quail werenít added at a later date by the scribes, then the Lord granted them a concession because of their hardness of heart in the hopes of more gradually bringing them back to His heavenly will.
 
13. So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.
 
First of all, live quail would not be covering the camp, so God must have created dead quail, and not killed living quail; furthermore, there would have been enough quail in the area to feed this many people, so they must have been a creation of God.
 
The morning dew was the vegan bread from heaven that God wanted them to eat and leave their former way of life by no longer eating the products of pain, suffering, and death.
 
In any event, the appearance of the quail is a definite miracle.
 
14. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground.
 
15. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.
 
The meaning of manna is ďWhat is it.Ē
 
16. This is what the LORD has commanded, 'Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.'"
 
 For those of you who want to know how big an omer is: according to the Jewish Study Bible (2014) an omer is equal to 2.3 liters, and we have seen other references to say it is a large 3.64 liters
 
17. And the sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little.
 
Think about this in terms of their faith in God, for what they are participating in is a miracle from God, and if those who gathered much are greedy and if those who gathered little were lazy.
 
18. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat.
 
Nevertheless, the Lord equaled out the gathered manna, which is another miracle for those who cared to see it.
 
19. And Moses said to them, "Let no man leave any of it until morning."
 
We believe that this is another test of their faith.
 
20. But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them.
 
This is another example of their short-lived faith; they saw the miracle of the manna, and they must have believed for they went out and gathered it, but they didnít seem to want to believe its limitations.
 
21. And they gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.
NASB
 
The other thing that we find very interesting is that there is no further mention of the quail, and since the manna lasted into the evening, it could have been eaten instead of the quail, and the manna was a lot more healthful for it sustained them for 40 years in the wilderness.
 
Listen to what the psalmist wrote about true faith as well as short-lived faith in Psalm 78:1-8Ö
 
1. Listen, O my people, to my instruction;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
 
2. I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
 
3. Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
 
These verses seem like a prophecy about Jesus, for He taught in parables, and as we know most people still have short-lived faith.
 
4. We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
 
All of these things should help people strengthen their faith so that it help people remain in the heavenly will of God, but unfortunately most people donít seem to want to listen, just as the Israelites in the wilderness had short-lived faith.
 
5. For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should teach them to their children,
 
Again, all of this is designed to help people to have strong faith.
 
6. That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
 
If the parents have short-lived faith, it is nearly impossible for them to teach their children to have strong faith and live in the heavenly will of the Lord.
 
7. That they should put their confidence in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
 
This is the dilemma we still face today, for it only sparingly happening.
 
8. And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
NASB
 
This is describing the people with short-lived faith, and we should not be like them.
 
Short-lived faith was even among the disciples, as we are told in Matthew 20:17-34Ö
 
17. And as Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them,
 
18. "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death,
 
19. and will deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."
 
Remember, these are the disciples who said that they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and if this is what they truly believe, should they have believed what He told them, just as we should today.
 
20. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him.
 
Sometimes parents are zealous about having good things for the children than is in Godís plan, and we need to be careful not to fall into these traps.
 
21. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left."
 
22. But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able."
 
Jesus is plainly telling her that what she is asking for is outside of Godís plan, and in a way this shows a disconnect with the heavenly will of God; we need to leave room for God and trust in His decisions, so it does show partial lack of faith, and in doing so, she actually could have made things worse for her sons.
 
23. He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." 
 
24. And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers.
 
We are not told whether this was righteous indignation or jealousy, or perhaps some of both.
 
25. But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
 
26. "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
 
27. and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
 
28. just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." 
 
This is also one of the reasons that we need to have a strong faith and trust in the Lord and wait patiently for His answer.
 
29. And as they were going out from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.
 
The unfortunate problem is the most if not all of them had faith that He could heal them, but they didnít have the faith that He was Lord.
 
30. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"
 
Now these two knew who he was, and asked for His mercy, and they knew that He could heal them, but they also seem to trust Him and His decision.
 
31. And the multitude sternly told them to be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"
 
We, like those people, donít have to protect the Lord from people in need; the Lord is here for those in need.
 
32. And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
 
Jesus knew what they needed, and He knew that they were trusting in Him, but He wanted them to verbalize what they wanted, possibly because it had something to do with their healing or perhaps to let others know. 
 
33. They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened."
 
34. And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
NASB
 
They received a miraculous healing and in thankfulness and faith, they followed Him.
 
Do we have this kind of faith?
 
We sure hope so, otherwise we may have short-lived faith.

Amen.

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