64. What is dead faith?

Dead faith occurs when we believe in someone, something or some system that does not have the power to respond or does not love us enough to bother to listen or grant us our requests. Idols do not have power to love us and answer our prayers. Most idol worshippers have to spend their time appeasing the needs of the idol. Idols usually demand things from their followers. They are made from the creation rather than being the Creator. In Hebrews 9 verse 14 it states, ‘Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.’ Sadly the people of Israel at the time of Moses had weak faith and when Moses was a long time up Mt Sinai talking to God and enjoying His presence the people became impatient and said to themselves: ‘Come on’ they said to Aaron, ‘Make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ So Aaron said, ‘Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me.’ All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. Then Aaron took the gold and melted it down and moulded it into the shape of a golden calf. When the people saw it they exclaimed, “O Israel these are the gods who brought us out of the land of Egypt!’ Aaron saw how excited the people were so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced ‘Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!’ The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this they celebrated with feasting and drinking and they indulged in pagan revelry. The Lord told Moses, ‘Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf and they bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying. ‘These are our gods, O Israel who brought us out of the land of Egypt.’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I see how stubborn and rebellious these people are. ‘Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you Moses into a great nation.’’’ Moses pleaded with God not to wipe out the people. God repented and let Moses deal with their rebellion. When Moses came into the camp he ground up the golden calf and put the powder in the water and made the people drink it. Moses ordered the Levites to kill 3,000 people that day as punishment. The Levites (the priestly tribe) in Exodus 32 verses 25-29 earned a blessing for their obedience to Moses’ command to execute judgement on the people even though it meant killing their own brothers and sons. The honour of the Lord God and Israel was redeemed that day at the command of Moses. The children of Israel had proven that their faith was dead and could not last even the few days Moses was up Mt Sinai in the presence of the Lord, accompanied by Joshua. This dead faith brought a curse on the people of God. Living faith brings a blessing into our lives and Jesus Christ taught that He came to bring us a living faith and life more abundant. Our living faith is made alive and powerful in us through the presence of God in our lives by the Holy Spirit.