by Kristen C. Strocchia
“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land: but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.” Hebrews 11:29-30
It’s not often that we read about the Israelites’ corporate faith, but here the writer of Hebrews–as inspired by God–commends their faith. By absolute certainty in what they hoped for, but couldn’t see, the Israelites walked through the parted Red Sea.
By Moses’ faith, God parted the sea, but if the people failed to believe God they would never have walked through the watery walls. They would have turned back, or been crushed by the Egyptians, or–like the Egyptians–been drowned by the waves.
But despite witnessing God’s awesome power at work, this generation turned from their faith and grumbled against God [Numbers 14:1-4]. Consequently, they passed away in their desert wanderings.
Forty years later, by a renewed corporate faith, the youth from the Red Sea parting obediently marched around Jericho behind the ark of the covenant. Armed with nothing but trumpets, marching orders and the command to shout on cue, this next generation stormed the gateway city to the Promised Land and saw God deliver it miraculously into their hands.
This generation went in to take hold of the Promised Land, but their faith–and that of the generations after them–eventually gave way too [read Joshua, Judges, Kings, Chronicles, and the prophets].
Without their initial belief, the Israelites would never have seen these two great miracles. But even having seen them, they lost their absolute certainty in what they hoped for, but couldn’t see.
The difficulties of life and the murmurs of others seeded doubt. And just like a tiny mustard seed of faith can grow into a mighty tree that moves mountains, so a tiny spore of doubt can decay the faith of individuals and, eventually, an entire nation.
We must be careful then what we allow to inform our faith–family, friends, feelings, circumstances–or God Himself? Have you surrounded yourself with those who seed faith or spread spores of doubt? Both can take root and grow, but only one to the glory of God.
How about you? Do you tend to be a seed or a spore to those around you?