It is telling that “O ye of little faith” appears 4 times in the Gospels and “O thou of little faith” appears 1 time. In each case Jesus was speaking to His own followers. The first 4 appearance are found in the Gospel of Matthew and the other one is found in Luke. Each time He used this phrase applies to areas of our own personal, daily lives as it did with His original twelve. Let’s take a peek at the context of each situation where our LORD used this term when speaking to His disciples:
When speaking about provision and trusting God’s hand to provide, Jesus said:
“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Matthew 6:30
When Christ and His twelve boarded a ship and were in the middle of the sea, a great storm arose His disciples feared and doubted that Jesus would rescue them from this peril. Jesus wondered why they were afraid.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:26
When Peter joined Jesus in walking on the water and then began to sink, Jesus wondered at his lapse in trusting Him to save and sustain him.
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31
When 5,000 men, not including women and children, followed Christ to the desert to hear His Word, He suggested that those seeking souls be fed physical food. Christ’s disciples then doubted how that was possible because they brought no food with them out there. They doubted how they would feed that large multitude because they were limiting things to their own finite ability. They were not trusting the miraculous workings of God. Jesus wondered at their lack of faith. The Son of God wondered why they didn’t yet understand that He owns all and their lack of understanding that “with God ALL things are possible.” (Mark 10:25) To their unbelief, Jesus answered:
“Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?” Matthew 16:8
Finally, Jesus wondered at how the LORD God was doubted in the clothing and protecting His own children.
“If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Luke 12:28
A Nugget to Encourage Your Heart
Just as the twelve struggled with unbelief at times, so, some of us do at times. Perhaps Jesus has whispered to us at times, “O ye of little faith.” Take heart beloved, even the mighty prophet Elijah is said to have been “a man subject to like passions as we are.” Yet, do you recall the mighty miracles God used him to do? Wow! Remember how he challenged, defeated, and slayed the 450 false prophets on Mount Carmel? (1 Kings 8) If God could use Elijah, He can use us because it’s all about His divine power and He brings it through that one who learns to trust and have faith in Him, not self.
“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” James 5:15-18
Trusting God Who is “A Very Present Help in Trouble”
Would it be good if God answered all of our prayers and did so immediately (in our timing)? If we are honest, we will readily admit that some of our motives and desires are not fully sanctified in the cross of Christ and if God answered those desires, those prayers, we may find ourselves engulfed in things that draw us away from Him. Eliset Igat captures the blessing of the LORD not answering all our prayers when she writes:
“God answers prayer according to His will and our faith in Him… But we need to be reminded of how dangerous it is to insist that God give us our own will… In fact, one of my fears is that God will give me everything I want! The history of the Israelites is a vivid reminder that when God gives us what we demand, we may also get with it “leanness in our soul” (Psalms 106:15). The key to joyous living is to embrace the will of God and surrender the desire of our hearts to Him and receive with gratitude whatever gift He has given us.”
God-pleasing faith would include trusting that the LORD knows best and we don’t. We are instructed to “lean not to thine own understanding.” Here’s that special passage from Proverbs 3:
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Trusting God involves knowing that He knows best and resting in His blessed character and watch care, leaning not to our own finite understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Delighting ourselves in the LORD will mean that His divine, perfect will will become ours and we will trust in His timing and no matter what, our love and worship for Him will flourish.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” Psalms 37:3-7
Our LORD taught us to “Have faith in God” and that nothing in His will would be impossible to those who ask and believe. Here are the words of the Savior:
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:22-24
As Christ taught on forgiveness, the disciples asked Jesus: “Increase our faith.” This reveals that such a prayer, from a sincere heart, is welcomed and answered by God.
Are you ready to simply ask our LORD to increase your faith?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, firstly, I admit and ask you to forgive my unbelief. Please forgive me for having an evil heart of unbelief. Bless me to be filled with faith in Your love, provision, protection, and watch care over my life and the lives of all Your saints. I love You Father! I love You Jesus! Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit afresh and faith to believe to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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