I Believe

by George F Spall

In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word 'meditate' springs from a root that means 'to murmur the words over and over again'. Try it, softly, quietly, repeatedly. Meditate on "I believe God" till the sentence seeps into your soul; soothes your mind; stirs your spirit into purposeful activity; strengthens your resolve; gives you courage; separates you from the timid who are afraid to step out and enter into the safety of the will of God; satisfies the inner hunger of your restless and oftentimes lonely heart.


Do we need it to seep into the soul? Surely, for we recall that it was unbelief and doubt which entered into the Garden of Eden. It is the soul that loves and longs, hates and hardens, and at length develops the callous that forms the scale that at last grows across the spiritual sight into a cataract. To believe God will soften and sensitize.


And soothes the mind too? Surely, for it is the mind that plans and jumps from one scheme to another, eager to decide on this or that, anxious to know if this is fact or fiction, and if it would be better to do or not to do. It is the indecision that turns us into darting butterflies that settle on nothing, never knowing what is best to believe.


Stirs your spirit into purposeful activity? Yes indeed. "I believe God" was spoken to a ship's crew that was like to founder after they had done everything humanly possible to save the ship, and, with their passengers were about to abandon disciplined direction and become flotsam on the waves -- passive as the foam being flung about.

But God had given Paul assurance and direction and discipline and courage to displace despair. So to the ship's company he exhorted: " ... be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God whose I am and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God has given you all them that sail with you. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me" (Acts 27:22-26). Of course Paul could believe God.


Strengthens your resolve? Indeed that is absolutely right. Paul would not give up. He was resolutely planning to go to Rome, floating on a broken spar, and wearing handcuffs if necessary. God had put it into his heart to go there, and assured him of His constant presence. So we hear him shouting above the gale, with fire in his eyes and his jaw set: "I believe God." And we hear him murmur it with a glowing smile as he climbed aboard the west-bound trader three months later: "I believe God." And so on to Rome …


Gives you courage and separates you from the timid? Well, yes. So many are challenged to move out and do something for God, but hesitate in case "the money doesn't come in" or they should make a mistake and then look silly.

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, came before God with a desperate need in the day when the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the men of Mount Seir came against him to battle. "And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, the house of the LORD ... and said ... O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that come against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon you.

"Then upon Jahaziel ... came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; and he said ... Thus says the LORD unto you. Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's ... And as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper" (2 Chronicles 20).

And so Jehoshaphat believed God and thus found courage to appoint "singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endures for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, which were to come up against Judah; and they were smitten." Praise the Name of the LORD.


Satisfies the heart? Does believing God really do that? Why not? Back in the Garden of Eden that is where the communion was lost through doubt. It is so hard to respond in faith, for some. And so it is impossible for God to respond to doubt, as we read in the letter to the Hebrews: "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." And when we are giving God pleasure, that is when He responds with a heart-healing assurance of His own ever-present intimacy.

And not only do we experience the inner healing of the soul, but also actual physical healing. So many of our sicknesses and physical problems stem from turmoil within that stirs up the sludge, that irritates glands till they over-function. Psychosomatic illnesses they call them -- away with such!

How blessed it is to 'stay with the ship', however storm-tossed it is, if we know the Bible well. Let us know what it says to us personally, and then say "I believe God."


Moses ben Maimon was born in Spain in 1135 and on his tombstone there is inscribed: "From Moses to Moses there was none like unto Moses." Even if some may feel this could be an exaggeration, there is no doubt that Moses ben Maimon is one of the greatest scholars Israel has produced. His great treatises form the basis for standard works in Jewish law unto this day.

In his GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED, he set forth his famous THIRTEEN ARTICLES OF FAITH, each of which begins with the phrase: "I believe with perfect faith ..."

For the most succinct definition of faith we are also indebted to another Hebrew scholar who wrote to his fellows nineteen centuries ago: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ... By faith they (Israel) passed through the Red Sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians trying to do the same were drowned ... And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also, and Samuel and of the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong ..."

Surely that record makes some of the most thrilling reading in the Bible -- may it have whetted the appetite for more -- found in the eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament.