Charles Stanley - The Thrill of Trusting God
Faith is at the heart of everything we believe in the Christian life. In fact, the truth is our life's all about faith. Think about it, we have faith to believe that God is our Creator and the Sovereign of this universe. We believe that Jesus Christ, His only begotten sinless Son came into this world for the primary purpose of dying on the cross, shedding His blood, paying our sin debt in full and making it possible for every single one who believes, places their trust in Him to be saved. We believe that if we confess our sins to Him that He's willing to forgive us. We believe that once we trust Him as our personal Savior, we're saved forever. That is, He gives us the gift of eternal life, eternal security. We believe that our name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We believe that one day, Jesus Christ is coming back to receive His own. We believe with all of our heart that absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
We live by faith, we die in faith. It's all about faith. And yet there are many people who have a real struggle with it. And you remember Jesus said to His disciples on one occasion, in fact, several occasions He said to them, Why do you doubt? O, ye of little faith. Even they who walked with Him oftentimes doubted Him. Even after His resurrection. And sometimes we have the same problem, we doubt Him that things we pray about, pray for, want God to do and we sort of pray hither and yonder and nothing happens and we wonder why. There is a very specific reason why. This is the life of faith.
And if you think about, many times people think about God being up yonder somewhere and out yonder. The truth is, the wonderful thrilling thing about being a Christian is this, it is not just knowing that God is our Savior, Lord, and Master, and the Sovereign of the universe. The thrilling thing about it is this, you and I can have a personal, intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ so that we can approach Him, Holy God. We can approach Him and He will hear us. He will answer our prayer. He will grant us the needs of our life, many of the desires of our heart. He's always there. Whatever the need is, whatever the desire is, as long as we ask within His will, He is more than happy to meet the needs and desires of our heart. And yet for some people they never get there. They just sort of pray around hoping that God will do something.
Well, in this passage of Scripture that I want to use in this message; it's a very familiar passage. One that you've heard about many times. And remember Paul said, Those things that God has given to us in the Old Testament, for the purpose of teaching us some principles, some lessons that we need to learn. So, I want us to look at this event in the Old Testament. An event that is exciting really. It's one of the most exciting events in the Old Testament. And I want you to turn if you will to First Samuel and if you will turn to the seventeen chapter. And what's happening here is that David who was a shepherd boy, you know him as a shepherd boy. His father had some food for him to send and to take to his brothers who were in the army under Saul, who was the king.
So, the Scripture says on verse twenty, "So, David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, against each army," against each other. "And then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. And as he was talking with them, behold, the champion of the Philistines from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. When all the men of Israel saw this man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid".
So, the whole army of Israel is scared to death. And "The men of Israel said, 'Have you seen this man who's coming up? Surely, he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father's house free in Israel.'" Now watch that, "Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying," now, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God"? Here are these two armies facing each other and even Saul who's the king is afraid. And all his army's afraid. Forty days this guy's come out.
Now what's the issue here? The issue here is that Goliath is not just another soldier. But the Scripture describes how he's dressed. He has on a bronze helmet; he has on a hundred and twenty-five pounds of bronze leaf; layers of leaf, bronze; to protect his body. He also has a sword and so he's coming out and chiding the people of Israel and chiding their God. Well, why don't you come out and fight for your God, if your God is God. And so, all this is going on when David arrives on the scene. And he listens to him and he hears him. And this is why he asked this question, "Well, who is this uncircumcised Philistine, who's taunting the armies of the living God"?
So, David says, I'll take him on. So, how does he prepare? Well, he doesn't go out and do any practicing but he goes down to the creek and he picks up, finds himself five round stones. And he puts them in his bag and then he walks out and he's got his shepherd staff with him. And the reason I know that is because of something that Goliath said. So, he walks out a little ways enough for Goliath to see him. And Goliath says, What's this? "Am I a dog, and the Philistine cursed," listen, he cursed "David by his gods". Now when people curse by their god I don't have to tell you how that sounds and what it says. "But the Philistine also said to David, 'You come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.'" So, he's over nine feet tall, full of armor, just like this walking tank. And he's blurting out all this courageous of nonsense of what he's going to do.
So, what does David, the shepherd boy, who totally looks unarmed, how does he respond? Here's what he says, "David said to this Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you've taunted.'" You're depending on your armor, I'm depending on God. So, he says to him and he says, "This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord's and He will give you into our hands". And so, the Scripture says, "Then it happened, the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David". And then what happened? "So, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine".
Now it probably threw him off guard a little bit because he would have thought when he approached David, David would high tail it out of there. Instead David comes running toward him. And in the process of doing so he got to a certain point, now remember this, he got to a certain point, here's this full clad armored giant and his shield bearer in front of him and here's David, stick in one hand, he probably drops the stick. And then he takes his sling and puts this stone in it. He winds it up and Goliath is coming and he just stands still and he figures out exactly where he is and he lets go. That stone hit him right in the forehead. He was a dead man before he ever hit the ground. He didn't just hit him somewhere. He hit him in the one spot he had to hit him in and the one spot that would kill him immediately. And I'm sure by this time his armor bearer drops that shield and takes off running. And David walks over, pulls his sword, and cuts off his head. Holds it up.
You say, How do you know that? Because they always did that. And he wanted the Philistines to know this war is over. And naturally they start fleeing and the Israeli army takes off after them and wipes them out one by one. And he defeats Goliath and the whole army. Now you say, Well, you know I've read that story many times and I do understand that but the question is, what is the key to David's victory? Here was the key, when David heard what this giant was saying, taunting the living God, Jehovah God, bunch of pagans out there. Then he got the message. This was the army of the Holy God that was at stake. This is a reputation of God that was at stake. And so, he got the message. He understood what was going on and the fact that Saul was afraid and all of his army was afraid. And so, he sized up Goliath. He saw in a brief moment what nobody else saw. They were all hung up on how much armor he had, how tall he was, over nine feet. they were all totally fearing what they saw because that's all they saw.
Now, watch this carefully, God is willing to give you and me the capacity to see what the human eye cannot see under certain conditions. Which we'll talk about. You see, as far as David was concerned, the battle was over. The battle was over before he ever went down to the creek to find five stones. In his mind, it was over. You know why? Because what he saw was a defeated giant. And why was that? Because he was taking on someone who was taunting the living God and he was stepping out in absolute faith to defend the name of Almighty God. And he saw Goliath lying dead. The battle was over before David ever approached Goliath. You say, Now, now, now, wait a minute. Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Yes, that's exactly what happened. Because you see, listen, there are levels of faith. There is a faith that says, I know God can do this, not sure. I know that He will do it, at least for some people. And then there's a level of faith that says, it's as good as done. It's a done deal. When there's no evidence around us, there's no reason to believe it except God gives you the capacity to see it complete. That's what that kind of faith provides. That's why he won the battle.
Now you say, What's that got to do with me? And then you think about how you feel and you think about what you see and what you've heard and what you've learned. And what happens is, you find yourself struggling. Listen carefully, if you're praying about something and you're not trusting God, listen, you're praying about something and no matter what happens you're trusting Him a little bit. You're sort of, Well, I know He can and maybe He will. Then there's something wrong. And here's what's wrong, as long as you're praying that kind of prayer that's not faith. And here's the reason - you're still anxious. In other words, so well, I know He can. I know He will but you still have a bit of anxiety. And that bit of anxiety says, watch this, you're not fully trusting Him. Oh yes, but I do trust Him. Not fully you don't. Listen, if I ask him for something and I'm worried about it, I'm not fully trusting Him. Would God lie? No.
You say, Well, but suppose I'm making a mistake about what I'm asking. If you're making a mistake about what you're asking, God will show you what that mistake is and help you straighten it out. God doesn't keep secrets. That is, He wants you to know the truth about whatever's going on in your life. And you are genuinely seeking to know His will about something; He's going to show you. Well, I know I've been asking Him and I think I know what He said. I mean, listen, God could write it in pure gold and some people wouldn't believe it. Well, I just don't know that I deserve it. So, what happens? So, we pray and pray and pray but not fully trusting. Because, listen, whatever I'm praying about, when I fully trust Him, fully trust Him about it, here's what happens, I stop asking Him and I start thanking Him about it. Now, I heard some groaning amen's. I stop asking, I start thanking Him for it.
David saw the final picture before he ever picked up. In fact, he saw the final picture before he ever went to King Saul. It was a done deal as far as he was concerned. He knew exactly what was going to happen because his trust was full, full trust. Now, watch this, if for some reason you are struggling over something over and over and over again, can't figure out what in the world's going on, in other words, God isn't answering your prayer, this is the second thing I want you to remember. As long as you and I cannot fully trust Him, it is evidence that there's something in their life that shouldn't be there. Why can I not fully trust Him?
Listen, if there is sin in your life you cannot fully trust Him. There'll always be a little static there. And you can look around and say, Well, this is right and this right and this is right and this is right and this is right but over here there's a little bit of bitterness. Over here there's a little bit of unforgiveness. Over here there's a little dishonesty. Well, over here is a little bit of deceit. And on and on you could go. Listen, if you want God to maximize your life, your peace, in other words, what God can do in your life, it all boils down, do I fully trust Him? If I trust Him, I'm not fretting, I'm not worried and what happens? We go on with life.
Now, when I think about that and I think about what is so very important, there's some things that are essential. And some things that are required. And the first thing is this and that is a clean heart. You're not going to be able to fully trust God without a clean heart. It's not going to happen. That's the nature of sin. It's not going to happen. A second thing is a clear mind. Because here's what happens, when your mind, when your heart is clear and there's no sin there, your mind becomes very clear. You begin to see things that you could not see before. And it's amazing what Christians put up with. We put up with a little sin here, little sin there, little sin here and and we think because we didn't kill anybody and commit adultery then we must be okay. No, it's those little things that wipe us out.
And a third thing is his motive was pure. He's taunting the armies of the living God. The name Jehovah is being disgraced. It is a pagan god versus the one true God. And he said, Listen, this day I'm going to kill you, cut off your head, that all of this assembly may know there is a God in Israel and His name is Jehovah God. And that others may know that the God of Israel is God. His motivation was right. So, when I think about the things that were important, you've got to learn to listen to God. In other words, if you don't know how to listen to God how will you ever know when He says, It's a done deal? So, that our prayers ought to be with a clean heart and a clear mind. We should say, God what is Your will about this matter?
So, let me ask you this, when you pray, let's say you pray ten minutes. How much of that ten minutes do you spend listening? Is it not true that most of us do all the talking? And a second thing I'll mention that I mentioned often because I believe it's so very important, when is the last time you reverenced Holy God in such a fashion that you got on your knees to pray because He's God? If Jesus Christ walked in this place would we not all want to fall flat on our face? Why? Because He is Holy God. This is the God of the universe.
And we sit here and right here and do this and pray and expect God to do this, that, and the other. God is willing to do awesome things. The heart's got to be clean. The motive's got to be pure. It's Jehovah God that you're talking to. It is the Sovereign of the universe you're talking to. It's this unconditional, loving God that you're bringing your request before. Does He not have a right to demand a clean heart and a clear mind and a pure motive and all the rest? And so, when David faces him, his focus is strictly on God.
Now, watch this, now the world sometimes takes words that we use and they twist them all around so then when we use them the people say, Well, you're using the world's words. No, I'm not. Listen, if you'll think about this, when you think about the goal of what you're asking God for and you see it as done, God has enabled you in that moment to visualize with your heart, mind and soul a done deal. You say, But now can God act in my life that way? Yes, God isn't prejudiced. He doesn't just, listen to this, God doesn't have favorites. He has intimates, those who are willing to walk in His will and walk in His way.
And I want to say it again, here's what happens, when your trust in Him is full, it's a full trust. He gives you in that moment a glimpse of the finished product. And you know it's a done deal because God has made it so. Then what are we to do? We're to walk, listen, we're to walk in the light of the finished product. But your heart's got to be clean. Your motive's got to be right. You've got to be surrendered to Him. You've got to be willing to wait for His timing. God, however You want to do it, this is what I believe is Your will. I'm trusting You. Now, listen, Will He do that for you? Yes, yes, He will. Listen, if you know that you're asking God about something that you know is His will, then God give me the capacity Lord to trust You fully. Will He? Yes. It will transform your praying.
And I simply want to challenge you, don't be satisfied with just grumbling with God and praying around here and a little bit there and hoping He will, maybe He will, maybe He won't, listening to your friends. Get serious between you and God. Because, you see, the most exciting thing about the Christian life is the fact that you and I can have an intimate, personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ in which He intervenes and works in our life every day. I want God to do in your life what I know He desires to do and if you just believe Him, He will do it. So, you don't have but two choices, believe Him or doubt Him. How do you win? Believing. How do you lose? Doubting. Just that simple.
Well, you may not even be a believer and you say, Well, now wait a minute how does all that work for me? If you're not a follower of Jesus Christ it doesn't work. Here's where you have to begin, you have to acknowledge your sinfulness before Holy God. Asking Him to forgive you of your sins based on one thing, the fact that Jesus Christ His Son went to the cross, shed His blood for your sin, paid your sin debt in full and it becomes a part of you. It is applied to your life when you're willing to confess your sins and ask and say, Lord Jesus, I'm accepting You as my personal Savior today. And I want You to work Your will in my life.
The moment you do that you become a child of God. Then what happens? You, like all of us, begin to grow in your Christian life. Does it mean that you'll have perfect faith immediately? No, we have to learn that. Let God build truth into your life. You'll never be the same again. It's yours for the asking. And that is my prayer for you. That you will learn to trust Him fully and watch Him work.
Father how grateful we are when I think about how awesome You are. How willing You and Your omnipotence, omniscience, Your omnipresence, Your sovereign rule and You are willing to deal with individuals like us. My heart bows in humble submission to Your awesome will. Sink this truth dear Father in the heart of every person who hears it. Let them not be swayed by unbelievers or by doubting fellow believers. But to believe that You're who You say You are and You delight in answering our prayer. And I'll thank You for that in Jesus' name, amen.