In his commentary on Psalm 95 in The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon writes on the way in which Israel put God to the test in the wilderness after they had been delivered from slavery: “Friendship only flourishes in the atmosphere of confidence, suspicion is deadly to it: shall the Lord, true and immutable, be day after day suspected by his own people?”
Although Israel had witnessed the power of God in the ten plagues, experienced his glorious way of escape from Pharaoh through the Red Sea, and daily ate of his provision (manna), they remained suspicious of God. They continued to grumble and complain against him in the wilderness because they were not convinced of his goodness and love. Israel did not believe God was looking out for their best interest, so they wanted to see more signs, experience more blessing. Needless to say, this did not bode well for the health of their relationship with him. As Spurgeon says, “…suspicion is deadly to [a friendship]”.
Are we any different? When our circumstances squeeze us, so often we wonder if God is really “for us”, and we put him to the test in our prayers with a mentality that says, “If God is good, then surely he will ____________ for me.” God has told us that he is unchanging (James 1:17) and he has told us that “in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), so we can trust that he will always do what he says he’s going to do for us. We, on the other hand, are the ones with hearts that are “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). Consequently, we should be suspicious of ourselves, not God. I know I’ve said this before, but we need to be a people who are asking open-ended questions of our hearts: “Why did I say that? What did I want when I did that? What does that kind of thinking reveal about where my priorities are? Is what I am telling myself reflective of God’s truth, or is it a lie?” Certainly we can go nuts with this and become morbidly introspective, but the point is not to know your heart with scary-specific precision. Rather, it is to expose your heart for what it is and then redirect it with God’s truth, pleading with him to help you break free from our world’s popular “just follow your heart” philosophy. I believe it is one of the enemy’s great ploys to keep us suspicious of the One on whom suspicion is wasted so that our spiritual eyes don’t see all the incriminating evidence that lies within. Church, let us pray for God to help us trust him and distrust ourselves.