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The forklift

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Loyal
Matt 17:20; And He *said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
Matt 21:21; And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen.

Now I don't know about you. But I can't move a mountain. I can't even move a house. But I believe God can.
But that doesn't necessarily mean God will. There are a few reasons for this.

1. God simply doesn't want that mountain moved. (at least not right now)
2. You're trying to move it in your power, not His.
3. You're not doing anything at all, you're simply waiting for God to do it all.
4. You're asking God to do it with wrong selfish motives.

That isn't a complete list, but it'll do for now.

I have a two ton piece of metal I need to move. I go over and I try to pick it up. Maybe I even use
a prybar. It doesn't move. It doesn't even budge an inch.
There is a forklift across the room from the metal. But so far I haven't tried to use it.
I'm trying to do this in my own power.

So then I wait, I wait and I wait for someone else to come along and help me.
But even the two of us together can't move this on our own.
So I wait and I wait for someone to come along and get in the forklift.
I know how to drive the forklift and the boss has given me the authority to use the forklift.
But for whatever reason, I don't use it.

Jesus has given us authority and power. We have the authority of His name.
But still sometimes we try to do it on our own.

So finally I get in the forklift. I go over to the piece of metal and I use the forklift to move it.
The forklift was sitting there the whole time. All I had to do was use it.
I can't lift 4,000 lbs. But I can push a lever on the forklift, that takes maybe a half of pound
of effort on my part. Of course there are multiple levers and brakes and I have to push the
right ones in the right order.

When the Israelites were fleeing the Egyptians, they ran into the Red Sea.
They were stuck in a bad place. Ever been stuck in a bad place?
And God tells Moses...

Exod 14:16; "As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.

The sea didn't divide until Moses stretched forth his hand. Now of course, it wasn't the power of Moses
that parted the sea. It was God. But God was waiting for Moses to "push the lever" on the forklift.

A similar thing happened when Joshua was leading the people into Caanan.

Josh 3:13; "It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap."

But the water didn't stop flowing until the feet of the priests were in the water.
Sometimes we wait for the sea to part on it's own. Sometimes we wait for the river to stop flowing
before we put our feet in the water. God wants to see your faith.

Now having said all that, God isn't your Genie for you to command. Just because you have a forklift there
doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with it. God doesn't just do whatever we ask if it's not
within His will. He isn't our puppet. He is God. (I think some Christians forget this sometimes).

The thing in all of these examples is, it took some effort on the peoples part.
Moses had to stretch forth his hands. The priests had to step into the water. The Israelites
had to march around Caanan seven times before the walls fell down. There are dozens more examples.

God doesn't do it all for us. We have to make an effort. Now maybe He does 99.9% and we only do 0.1%.
But still, He waits for us to "push the lever". He waits for us to step into the river.

Now whether I ever push that lever or not. The forklift is still there, just sitting there not being used.
Whether we ever do what God tells us to do or not... God is still God.
His sovereignty doesn't depend on what we do or don't do. He is still God.
Yes God has the power to make people do things (and sometimes does) but He doesn't force us
to be obedient to Him. He may punish us if we aren't. He may use circumstances to get us to do things.
But most of the time, He just wants to see if we're willing to do it.

He will help us, encourage us, persuade us, guide us, and more. He can do things we cannot do.
But we still have to be obedient and go "push the lever". God doesn't do it for us.

It's this way in all obedience to God. We aren't slaves or robots that God forces to do things.
If that was the case, everyone would be saved and after they were saved they would never sin.
But no we have freedom of choice. We can choose to obey or not to. It's up to us.

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, did God quit being God? When Solomon turned to other Gods, did God quit
being God? When Peter denied Jesus three times, did God quit being God?
Just because we don't always do what He tells us to do doesn't make Him any less sosovereign or any less
God. In fact He is so sovereign, He is God no matter what I do.
God has the power to overcome sin. We can't do it on our own. But we have to make the choice.
We have to push the lever. He will do the rest, but He doesn't do it all for us. We have to do our 0.1%.
 
Moderator
Staff Member
He will help us, encourage us, persuade us, guide us, and more. He can do things we cannot do.
But we still have to be obedient and go "push the lever". God doesn't do it for us.
God is the initiator and we must be listening with the operative word being "Obedient" to Him to Act in Faith that He will do what He says He will do.
For then we will be working within His Will and assuredly that Mountain will be Moved!

Thanks brother. Good One! :)
YBIC
Nick
<><
 
Loyal
God is the initiator and we must be listening with the operative word being "Obedient" to Him to Act in Faith that He will do what He says He will do.
For then we will be working within His Will and assuredly that Mountain will be Moved!

Thanks brother. Good One! :)
YBIC
Nick
<><
You're right. God is looking for our faith so He can move through us....But also He told us to move that mountain...."YOU will say to that mountain..." God did not say "Speak to the mountain and I will cast it into the sea" He told us to do it... and to Moses...Stretch out your hand, and divide the sea" God did not say 'Stretch out your hand and I will divide the sea" He said for Moses to do it....That means He has given us the authority do do these things...and He will back us up.
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

why would anyone (or several to many) pray to move a mountain?

Looking at the other accounts of this lesson from Jesus, we can see that here He is talking about faith, not anything we do 'with our faith' or 'because we have faith' but believing faith ... if we hear (O Israel) we either believe or we don't. Never will the LORD expect us to be partakers of His Word without He Himself doing as He has said He will. God is not man. Moses believed God and his actions afterwards proved it. We like to talk about obedience. If you do not honor the Father we will do nothing and show dishonor.
You would do well to look into what a father is , especially in the cultures (like that of Israel) to understand what a father is. Certainly not merely a daddy to a nucleus family of children. Honouring the father, honouring the Father, exercises submission from the greater household, in this case the house God.

The fig tree was fruitless. Jesus had been to the temple after arriving in Jerusalem on a colt complete with Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest, where He drove out the money changers and spoke strongly to the Chief Priests and the Elders of the people. Shortly after this, Jesus was led away with crowds demanding to crucify Him. Historically, shortly after this, the temple was destroyed. When crucified, Jesus said, "It is finished" and the veil in the temple was rent (torn) and the sacrifice was accepted outside of the temple whereas the temple sacrifice was ended before the LORD. How quickly the presence of the temple priests, the scribes, the lawyers, the Pharisees were driven out and rendered useless from the region (around 70 A.D.) Was Jesus teaching and telling His disciples something?
The apostles ask for increase of faith and Jesus tells them,
If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:6-10)

Bless you ....><>
 
Loyal
If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
But the question remains... does God do anything and everything, simply because we have faith He will do it?
Or do we actually have to take the first step on our own?

Another way of looking at this might be... is God obedient to us... or are we supposed to be obedient to Him?

God is the initiator and we must be listening with the operative word being "Obedient" to Him to Act in Faith
But even if God is the one who initiates, obedience infers an action on our part.
 
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Hmmm -- "is God obedient to us..... or are we supposed to be obedient to Him?" I Think we're supposed to be listening to Him. Leaning on Him. But Do I -- certainly Try to. Listening to His Word.
 
Loyal
@B-A-C

Brilliant message from start to finish brother.

Isn't it strange how God wants us to push one lever but instead we press ever other button or lever before the right one.

Isn't it strange how our Lord stands at the door and knocks, yet we try open ever over door first.

The story of moving mountains and faith has so many permutations, including the mountains in our lives that weigh us down because we try cope with things on our own.

Come unto me all ye who are weary and heaven laden and I will give you rest, take 'my load' upon you and learn from me, my load is light and easy to bare.

God takes the load, we just have to push a simple lever, we have to just push the right lever.

Thanks be to God.
 
Active
Matt 17:20 ; And He *said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

Matt 21:21; And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen.


These two verses are unrelated to me and the second is not applicable to a Christian.

In Matt 17:20 Jesus is being 'sarcastic'. He selects a teeny tiny 'mustard seed' and then speaks to making a massive / ginormous 'mountain' move. Have to love Jesus's examples.

His underlying point / message is that it takes so little faith to move a mountain. IE Faith in God being able to do something / anything miraculous is ''hardly'' an achievement of faith. Kind of like He says to Peter in Matt 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Just think about that for a second. The ''only'' disciple to walk on water, He says he has little faith.

This truth '''neeeeeeds''' to sink in. It takes ''LITTLE'' / borderline ''ZERO'' faith to move a mountain!

IE It takes 'little to no faith'' to pray for .....healing. Raising the dead. Casting out demons. Any faith in '''God of the universe'' being able to ''''do'''' something, takes little to borderline NO faith.

Especially for a Christian. It should be a 'given' for a Christian to know that God, who made all, be able to do 'all'.


___________________________________________

As for the ''believe and do not doubt''. I say this is not applicable to a Christian because a Christian '''CANNOT'' not doubt. Think about it. A Christian by definition is a person who ''has'' been given a revelation of Jesus 1 Cor 12:3, Matt 16:16-17, Rom 12:3. Doubting is past tense. Jesus was not speaking to Christians. Disciples were not Christians. We have received faith. Much like Paul says in 1 Cor 12:3, nobody speaking by the Holy Spirit (all Christians included) can say Jesus is accursed. IE A Christian can never say Jesus is not Lord. A Christian can never therefore doubt that Jesus is not God of the universe who can do anything as He has already done everything.

Christians are ''NOT'' the unbelieving people Jesus spoke of when He said '''oh boy, how much longer must I be with you unbelievers / you of little faith''. Christians believe a man who walked the earth 2000 years ago IS God of the universe, who came as a Lamb to the slaughter and rose from the dead on the third day.

So, all the teaching that Christians must 'believe and not doubt' going around in many church circles today is just simply hilarious.


________________________________________


What I find very true about BAC's OP is the fact that he mentions some examples where God does not act and says ''God is not our puppet''.

This is so true. If we just consider Peter and him walking on water as an example. After Pentecost all the disciples were performing miracle after miracle. Surviving snake bites. Healing people. Casting out demons. Escaping death. Raising the dead. But.....no.....Peter going back to a lake to try walk on water. NO, Peter training people on how to ....walk on water. Paul never started churches teaching that we should teach each other to .....walk on water. Why? It is hard to justify walking on water being for the glory of God. I believe Paul and all the early disciples fully grasped Luke 4:12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” and Mark 16:15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

They / we are called to teach and share Jesus. Glorify God. We can move mountains and such in heaven when we are not called to serve God.
 
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Hmmm -- the lesson about Peter and his being able to walk on the water -- he took his eyes off God. He was okay as long as his eyes were on Jesus Christ.
 
Active
Hmmm -- the lesson about Peter and his being able to walk on the water -- he took his eyes off God. He was okay as long as his eyes were on Jesus Christ.
If you think that is the only lesson you have missed the boat.
 
Loyal
Although we can come up when many situations to fit the two verses @B-A-C kindly gave us, it is important to consider them in context. They are two separate verses.

Matthew 21:21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen."

This verse, a section of Matthew 21 was specifically for the Jews, about the Jewish Nation.

(Matt. 21:12-22)
Jesus performed two acts of judgment in this chapter:

The first He cleansed the Jewish temple, over turning the money changers tables, as Jesus put it had become a den of thieves.

The second He cursed the fig tree, the fig tree being a symbol of the Nation of Israel. Jesus was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Jews, of the Jewish Nation, which was inwardly corrupt and outwardly fruit-less.

Both acts were unlike Jesus' usual style of ministry, He did not come to earth to judge, but to save (John 3:17). But here He is certainly judging.

For us, I think, we may ask, why did Jesus curse the fig tree? He could have used His power, the same power to make it bear fruit. But there is surely another reason, Jesus didn't do or say anything without it carrying at least one message.

What does scripture tell us about the Fig Tree and Israel? I find the following verses, there may be more.

Jeremiah 8:13 (NKJV)
13 "I will surely consume them," says the LORD. "No grapes shall be on the vine, Nor figs on the fig tree, And the leaf shall fade; And the things I have given them shall pass away from them." ' "

Hosea 9:10 (NKJV)
10 "I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season.
But they went to Baal Peor, And separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved.

Luke 13:6-9 (NKJV)
6 He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.
Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'
8 But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.
9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.' "

Jesus was coming to the end of His ministry, He was near Jerusalem, as He walked He came across the fig tree, it had leaves but no fruit, so He cursed the fig tree. Was Jesus still angry after turning over the money changers tables in the Temple, had He come to this fig tree and simply cursed it in anger, not at all. He used the fig tree to teach his disciples a lesson. The fig tree, the emblem of Israel, had not been fruitful, they had been fruit-less. In the parable in Luke 13 we see the gardener, God, had given them more time, but now the time was up.

I find this interesting - Verse 7 of Matthew 13 says...
Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.
Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'

Jesus was coming to the end of His ministry as said earlier, note, for three years Jesus came seeking fruit from the fig tree, He was seeking fruit, from the Jews, from Israel, yet all He saw was fruit-less hypocrites, blind guides.

Matthew 21:21 although this was a message regarding the Jewish Nation, it also carries a message through the disciples to all Christians.

God is looking for faith, He is looking for our prayers, He is looking for us to bare fruit for Him.

Are we baring fruit, are doing God's will, or are we to hypocritical in some areas like the Jews were, are we faithful, prayerful, good servants, for the Lord of the Harvest?

This is how I read the cursing of the fig tree, in Matthew 21:21 which is in no way connected to Matthew 17:20 Faith and the mustard seed.

Blessings
 
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