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November 3 Today’s Reading: John 11-12
“If Thou Wouldest Believe”
“Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” He is saying, “Have faith in God. Only believe. Be not faithless, but believing. Trust God in everything and for everything. Even in the most trying circumstances, say, ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’”
Faith honors God and God honors faith! He always has and he always will. Ask Job (Job 1:20-23; 2:9-10; 42:10). Ask Noah (Genesis 7:23). Ask Abraham (Genesis 22:8, 13-14; Romans 4:20-22). Ask Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1). Ask Naomi (Ruth 4:14-15). Ask David (1 Samuel 17:45-51). Ask the Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:14-16). Faith honors God and God honors faith!
Believe and See
If we would believe, we would see the glory of God. Martha and Mary were placed in hard, trying circumstances. Their beloved brother was dead. What could they hope might be done? Had the Lord arrived earlier, they might have hoped that He would have healed Lazarus. But it appeared that He had arrived too late. Lazarus was dead. They comforted themselves with the hope of the great resurrection. But for the present, Martha was full of despair. Then the Lord spoke to Martha, saying, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” It is as much as if He had said, — “Martha, Martha, if you would just trust Me, I would do for you far greater things than you could ever think or ask. If you would but trust Me, there is nothing I would not do for you, no length to which I would not go, no limit to the power I would exercise on your behalf to show you the glory of God.”
He says the same thing to you and me. Child of God, you may be enduring some great trial right now. But your trial is no greater than Abraham’s, when he was called to offer up his son, Isaac. If he believed and staggered not, if he hoped against hope and was strong in faith, giving God the glory, why should we not do the same? Are we the children of Abraham, to whom the “God of glory” appeared? Is it not reasonable for our Lord, who is always faithful to us, to expect faith from us? After all He has done, can we be hesitating, fearful, and distrustful? God forbid! This is His promise: — “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God.”
Seeing God’s Glory
If we would believe, we would see the glory of God in salvation by Christ our Substitute (Exodus 33:18-23). The glory of God can be seen only by those who are standing upon the mount of sacrifice, looking through the blood of Christ slain upon the cursed tree (Romans 3:24-26). In the cross of Christ, in His death as the sinner’s Substitute, I see the glory of God. There “mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). We see the glory of God most fully in the substitutionary sacrifice and sin-atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, because in His death all the glorious attributes of God are plainly revealed: His sovereignty and His grace, His righteousness and His goodness, His inflexible justice and His pardoning mercy, His unmitigated wrath and His everlasting love (Exodus 33:19, 34:5-7). Believing on the Lord Jesus, we see the glory of God in the sacrifice of his Son. But those who believe not, never can. Reason may see the doctrine of the cross; but only faith can see the glory of the cross. Only faith can see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
If we would believe, we would see the glory of God in His wise and good providence (Romans 8:28; 11:36). If Martha had believed, she would have seen the glory of God in Lazarus’ sickness and death, and in her own grief as well. All things are of God; but only faith can see the glory of God in all things. How adorable His providence is! But only faith sees the glory of God in providence.
If we would believe, we would see the glory of God in the works He performs in our midst. God’s glory is seen in His works. And faith perceives both His work and His glory in His work. God’s glory is to be seen in what He has done, in what He is doing, and in what He shall do.
If we would believe, we would see the glory of God in the fulfilling of His promise. — “Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” (Isaiah 43:26). I wonder how much spiritual blessedness we miss simply because we do not believe God. Because we insist upon having much goods laid up for many years, we miss the blessedness of seeing God raining manna from heaven, giving us each day our daily bread.
If we would believe, we would see the glory of God in His resurrection power (John 5:25-29). I know that God works in total sovereignty. He depends upon us for nothing. His work depends upon us for nothing. But I know this also: — God works in His sovereignty by the faith of His people (Ezekiel 36:33-38). I take Ezekiel’s prophecy to mean that if we would but believe God, we would see His glory in spiritual resurrections, we would see God save His elect. Yes, God will save all His elect, when and where it pleases Him. But I am certain that in the Church of God we lack for conversions only because we lack faith. It is written, — “When Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”
And if we believe, we shall see the glory of God in the resurrection of our bodies at the last day (Job 19:25-26).
Faith to behold the glory of God is itself the gift of God’s grace and a work in which His glory is to be seen (Ephesians 1:19; 2:8; Colossians 2:10-12). We believe only by the working of God’s mighty power in us, only by the gift of His grace. If we now believe God, it is by that very same power that raised our Lord Jesus from the dead, it is by the creative, resurrection, omnipotent power of the omnipotent God! Yet, our Lord Jesus declares, “If thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God!” Believe God! Believe, O my soul, and you shall see the glory of God (Mark 9:23-24).