Part 5 - Resting by Faith
Rejection of God's Works
Psalm 95 continues about unbelief in the Creator: "When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work" (Ps. 95:9). This verse continues speaking of the rebellion in the wilderness by the children of Israel. The point God is making in this statement is that the people rebelled even though "they saw My work." God considers the witness of His past works to be a cause for present faith.
The testimony of God's works
The work that the children of Israel saw was the miraculous power of God that delivered them from slavery in Egypt. They observed God's judgment on the gods of the Egyptians in the ten plagues sent upon Egypt. They observed their own preservation in this, especially in the Passover where the blood sprinkled on their doorposts preserved them from death. They saw the miracle of the sea parting to let them pass through and then the drowning of the Egyptian army as it tried to pursue them. They saw the miracle of God's provision of manna each day. Despite the witness of these works the people persisted in unbelief. God says of this unbelief that the people "tested Me; They tried Me." Their unbelief was in the present working of God despite the witness of the past working of God on their behalf.
God's work toward Israel was a testimony to God's plan and purpose for Israel. God gave His plan to Moses: "Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord' " (Ex. 6:6-8).
God gave a model of His redemptive work to Israel in the Sabbath Day commandment. This model involved the work of God in the creation of the heavens and earth, God's seventh day rest, and the resting of the children of Israel every seventh day in honor of this. The lesson is this: it is the power of God that brings redemption, He does the work and finishes it, and His people are to rest in that complete work and not try to add to it. Israel was the creation of God. God said, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments."
Unbelief in the plan and purpose of God
A second trait of unbelief is to discount the plan and purpose of the Creator. A creator of something has the right to determine the purpose for his creation. A creator creates something because he has a plan for that creation. The existence of the heavens and earth is a testimony that the Creator has a plan for His creation. Those He has created have a witness in creation that purpose in life must be tied to the Creator's purpose. The power of the Creator is testimony that He has the power to bring to pass His purpose. Unbelief manifests itself by unbelief in the judgment of the Creator. It is to discount His judgment on all matters and to cling to one's own wisdom as to the course that one's life should follow.
Chapter one of Romans continues on about unbelief, having shown that God's plan through the gospel is revealed "from faith to faith," (Rom. 1:16-17), and having shown that unbelief begins with the discounting of the person of God (Rom. 1:18-21). Romans continues with a second characteristic of unbelief: "Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen" (Rom. 1:22-25).
Worshipping and serving the creation
Those who will discount the Creator and His purpose for creation will do this: worship and serve the creation as god rather than the God of creation. Mankind, a part of that creation, then becomes his own god to serve his own purposes rather than the Creator's purposes. Romans previously said of those who reject the person of God that they "became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (verse 21). In futility and darkness they became thus: "Professing to be wise, they became fools."
The Bible states, "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens" (Prov. 3:19). The account of creation in the first chapter of the Bible is that which is according to the wisdom and understanding of the Creator. The unbelieving who discount the person of God and His purpose for creation have come up with their own account of creation: evolutionism. This is according to their wisdom and understanding. The book of Romans says of such who reject the Creator that they "became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened," and "professing to be wise, they became fools." This is God's perspective of those who reject His wisdom.
The testimony of God's work of creation is that it is a top-down work that is His alone, that it is a completed work, and that mankind must enter into God's rest. The testimony of evolutionism is that it is a bottom-up work, that there is no creator or a creator's purpose, that it is a continuing work, and that all are evolving up toward godhood. Lucifer fell from Heaven with the concept of evolution, Adam and Eve caused the fall of mankind through the same concept, and according to Scripture there will be a great falling away from faith in the last days. The greatest cause for a fall from faith in our present day is the rejection of God's work in creation and the replacement of it with evolutionism. Redemption for a fallen world comes in a top-down manner. Those who reject the Redeemer must embrace a concept of a bottom-up evolution of a world in disarray to a higher and better state.
The wisdom of God
Paul the Apostles wrote, "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:21-24).
The crucified and risen Christ is the wisdom of God. The testimony of Christ is this: "No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). The creation account points to this. It models the redemptive work of Christ. It testifies that God has completed that work. It shows that mankind must rest in Christ. The work of God in the creation of the heavens and earth points to the work of redemption by Jesus Christ. The wisdom and understanding of the Creator was to create a witness to the work of redemption by the witness of the work of creation. Evolutionism is mankind's attempt to hide that work of God and embrace the lie that the creation stands alone without a Creator.
The unbelieving Hebrews who perished in the wilderness during the redemption of Israel did so in part by discounting the witness of God's past work. "Your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work." Those who perish "Today" through unbelief do so with the witness of God's work in creation, the witness of His work in the redemption of Israel, and the witness of His work in the redemption of mankind through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God considers the witness of His work of redemption to be cause enough for present faith. The Jews of Jesus' day requested a sign. Scripture records, "Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, 'Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.' But He answered and said to them, 'An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth' " (Matt. 12:38-40). Jesus was prophesying of His death and resurrection. His resurrection from the dead after three days is the main witness that God has given to mankind concerning God's work of redemption.
Glory in the Lord
Paul continues, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor. 1:25). The unbelieving would say of God's ways that they are foolishness. But the creation account shows the wisdom of God and His plan and purpose for those who would come to Him and "glorify Him as God." As Jeremiah wrote, "Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom ... But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising ... judgment ... in the earth' " (Jer. 9:23-24).
Paul's commentary on Jeremiah is this, "For you see your calling, brethren,
that not many wise according to the flesh ... are called. But God has chosen
the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise ... that no flesh
should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became
for us wisdom from God; and righteousness and sanctification and redemption;
that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord' " (1
Cor. 1:26, 27, 29-31). Jesus Christ's completed work is a testimony to the
world. God's work in creation, His work in Israel's redemption, and His work
in the world's redemption is a cause for present faith, for it shows the
plan of the Creator and His judgment as to the course of His creation. Those who reject
this testimony in unbelief are the true fools, for "professing to be wise, they became