Wrestling with Doubts (Psalm 13)
Wrestling with Doubt:
Your background influences who you are and how you think. We can all come to the unity of the faith as we obey the same Gospel message. But our responses can be different depending on the background we have. Poor parenting affects who you are. Broken relationships impact your thinking about relationships in general and, specifically, a healthy relationship with Christ.
The devil can use any of these danger zones to steal the seed from our heart and turn our lives away from Jesus.
You may have lost a parent early in childhood and it makes you doubt the wisdom of God. You may have had negative experiences with a dad who did not love you with a godly love and it makes you still doubt the Fatherhood of God. You may have failed too often in school and it makes you question your ability to live up to God’s expectations. You may have experienced some broken relationships and it makes you doubt God’s faithfulness to you. We are all products of our experiences.
Yet, what is Christianity but depending on God? Reminding ourselves of what we know. The three fundamental facts of the Christian faith are so very vital to a healthy life: the existence of God (and His nature), the deity of Jesus (and especially His resurrection), and the inspiration of the Bible (and its promises).
In our text from Psalm 13, we see that even someone as faithful as King David also struggled with doubts. He felt that God had forgotten him. He felt that God was hiding His face from David. David felt that he only had his own soul with which to take counsel. He felt like God was allowing David’s enemies to be exalted over him.
But, David asked God to consider him and to enlighten his eyes. He tells God that he had trusted in God’s lovingkindness and that he would rejoice in the salvation which God would provide. Notice that in looking-backward, David meditated on the lovingkindness (Loyalty) of God. In looking-forward, David anticipated good things coming from God.
Finally, notice in verse 6 that David’s thoughts then turn to worshipping God. When he was thankful for his past blessings and excited about his future blessings, David then worshipped God.
LET’S LOOK AT AN OT EXAMPLE - Judges 6:
In this text, God’s people are being attacked and terrorized by a foreign nation called Midian. Notice in verse 11 that a man named Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press - which shows that Gideon was scared.
When God’s angel appeared to Gideon (ver. 12), the angel gave him a word of encouragement: “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”
Gideon responded exactly as you and I respond with bad things happen to us (ver. 13): “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about? …But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
But God had not abandoned Israel; God was waiting for the right man to rise up to be a leader over God’s people. In verse 14, God told Gideon: “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
In verse 15, Gideon responded, how can I deliver Israel? I’m a nobody. But in verse 16, Jehovah God told Gideon: “I will be with you” - the promise Jesus gives to every one of us in Matthew 28:20. God told Gideon, “I will be with you and you will defeat Midian as one man.”
Gideon asked God to give him a sign so that Gideon would be able to trust the message Jehovah God had given him. In the meanwhile, Gideon also went and offered a sacrifice to God and the angel of Jehovah God caused the sacrifice to spontaneously combust. While the sacrifice was burning, the angel disappeared from Gideon.
But later, down in verse 36, Gideon had another crisis of confidence and God once again condescended to strengthen Gideon’s doubts. First, Gideon asked that he leave some fleece on the ground and God would make the fleece wet and the ground dry, then he would know that God was going to deliver Israel through his hand. God did just as Gideon had asked. Secondly, Gideon asked if he could reverse the sign - make the fleece dry but the ground around the fleece wet. God answered Gideon’s prayer once again. So, Gideon fulfilled his promise to God - in chapters 7 & 8, Gideon led Israel to victory over Midian.
Family, if we will search God’s word, we will find the answers to our doubts, and our faith can be strengthened and sustained.
CONSIDER THE APPEARANCES OF JESUS IN JOHN 20:
Faith is certainly a very personal matter. Consider the appearances of Jesus recorded in John 20. First, He showed Himself alive to the apostles, minus Thomas. The apostles then told Thomas, but he did not accept their testimony. Thomas was something of an empiricist. He needed tangible evidence: “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (20:25).
Thomas was having doubts in his mind, intellectual doubts. Jesus did not criticize Thomas for his doubt. He condescended and appeared to Thomas, inviting him to reach his finger and see His hands and reach his hand and put it into Christ’s side. “Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (vs 27).
There is no record that Thomas actually needed to touch Jesus. As far as the testimony is concerned, Thomas came to faith at first sight. Jesus goes on to bless me and you through His interchange with Thomas: “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (vs 29).
John, became a believer at the empty tomb, before he ever laid eyes on Jesus (vs 8). John writes at the end of the chapter that these things were all written so that you and I might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we might have life in His name (20:30-31). Not just eternal life, but an abundant life here and now (John 10:10) - a life free of fear, free of doubt, full of confidence and conviction.
WHEN WE HAVE DOUBTS, WHAT DO WE DO?
If faith comes by hearing the word of God, then faith is also sustained by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). When your mind is pained by doubt, go to the Great Physician and let Him strengthen you through His word. The Gospel is based on solid, historical facts (1 Cor. 15:3-5).
Take home message: When we feel that God is distant, when we have doubts, we need to remind ourselves of the facts of the gospel.