Skeptics and Believers
The whole time I’ve been studying in the book of Numbers I’ve had the skeptic in the back of my mind. I’m not sure what definition comes to mind when I say skeptic, but what I mean to say is the non-believer who is looking for every opportunity to discredit the Holy Bible. It has become a sort of mission for this individual to find every supposed contradiction and exploit them as proof that the Bible is a fictional work conjured up in the minds of religious crackpots who don’t live in the real world. They go to great lengths to demonstrate a disparity between science and the Bible. They strive to prove God to be nothing more than a figment of the imaginative but misguided zealot.
Maybe the saddest thing about the skeptic is they come across as well-armed to do verbal combat against the misguided and gullible believer – misguided and gullible because they blindly swallow what the Bible claims hook, line, and sinker.
The skeptic chooses the battlefield and assumes he has the upper hand against his intellectual opponent. He demonstrates his knowledge of the Bible’s inconsistencies and asks the Believer to explain it. When the Believer is unable to give an intelligent answer, the skeptic skips away feeling victorious!
When I study through very detailed instructions from YHWH to His people as found in the book of Numbers I can’t help but wonder if the skeptic has spent any time examining those passages. I have reached the conclusion that most skeptics aren’t simply skeptical, they are in actuality enemies of the Holy Scriptures and therefore enemies of God. It isn’t that the scriptures can’t demonstrate their own veracity to him, but rather that he has decided against all empirical evidence to denounce the truth contained within.
How about us (believers), do we ask the questions and spend the time finding answers? What might happen if we devoted as much time and effort demonstrating the truth of the scriptures as the skeptic does attempting to disprove them? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Maybe step one is to study the scriptures enough that we actually become solid in believing what we read. After all, how could we hope to convince anyone else if we ourselves are not convinced?
You might say, “I don’t have the time.” Yeah, me neither! Yet we both have access to the same number of hours (or minutes) every day. You might protest, “I’m not smart enough!” Yeah, me neither! I’m totally uneducated. I have no college degree. I was less than an average student through grade school and high school, and I hated to read. I didn’t do homework, I didn’t study (didn’t even know how)!
Three things I do have (and you probably do too). I can read, and I can pray, and I can search. Every minute you spend reading the Word of God or praying to Him, or searching for the truth comes with great and eternal reward. Neither you nor I need to go digging for some great theological truth in the Bible that no one has noticed before in order to be successful in our study. How about if we just read and study to understand what God has provided on the pages of His Holy book?
I know that life is full of pressure and demands on our time – I get it. But most of us it seems, spend the majority of our lives on the temporary and relatively no time on the eternal. Why is that? Should it be that way?
Let me plead with you a moment. If you don’t already read the Bible fight to spend at least a few minutes (start with 5) each day prayerfully reading through the Bible. If you habitually read the Bible, but don’t ever study it, then fight to spend a few minutes each day (or week) studying it. If you don’t know how to study, then learn. Ask someone how to study the Bible. Ask me. I can point you to some excellent resources that will get you started. Just do it! Don’t let the temporary in your life consume all your time away from the eternal.
When I sat down to write I had every intention of spending time in Numbers chapter four. I just felt like I needed to take the opportunity to connect heart to heart with you. Hopefully, we will pick up in Numbers chapter four next week. Psalm 119 is a wonderful encouragement concerning the Word of YHWH. Consider the first eight verses. Actually, I hope you’ll spend some time mulling over this short passage.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
4 You have commanded us
To keep Your precepts diligently.
5 Oh, that my ways were directed
To keep Your statutes!
6 Then I would not be ashamed,
When I look into all Your commandments.
7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
8 I will keep Your statutes;
Oh, do not forsake me utterly!
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.