By Stephanie Parker

Today’s scripture reading, in a nutshell, speaks of God’s great mercy and man’s great unbelief. Oh what a difference there is in believing IN God and believing Him. King Ahab’s biggest hurdle was his unbelief. His dad, King Jotham, didn’t exactly set him up for success because he hadn’t removed the idols that his people worshiped. Jotham didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of his people which meant that he didn’t take a stand for the one true God. That single decision destroyed his son, King Ahaz’s life. King Ahaz was so corrupted and confused by the multiple high places and idols that his father didn’t remove, he couldn’t see the forest through the trees. He couldn’t find the one true God amidst all the false ones. Ahaz even went as far as sacrificing his own son to an idol! The life of Ahaz is a sobering reminder about how intentional we, as parents, need to be about pouring Christ into the hearts and lives of our kids.

The thing is, God attempted to show mercy and forgiveness to Ahaz even in light of all of his misguided worship. In fact, God even offered to show Ahaz a sign to prove that He would deliver them from their enemies. All Ahaz had to do was ask. Ahaz declined the offer. He preferred to seek the help of the Assyrians instead of God.

“Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, ‘Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God’...But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask. (Isaiah 7:11-12)’”

When I first read this, I thought, ‘what an idiot!’ If God came to me offering me a sign or verbal affirmation regarding what my future held, I’d be all over that! …Or would I?

How many times have we chosen to seek the help or advice from a friend or loved one or, even worse, Facebook or Google, above seeking the help and guidance from God himself? It was humbling to consider that I, at times, am no better than King Ahaz. But it begs the question, WHY? Why is it that our first instinct is often to go everywhere BUT God. At first glance I came up with these two thoughts:

• It’s easier: We are more apt to believe people or the internet than we are to believe God and His word because they seem more easily accessible, tangible and require less work on our part. To develop faith and a true reliance on God requires a serious investment of time, prayer and effort. It’s much easier to just go to the internet, ‘go with your gut,’ or call up a friend.

• It’s faster: We don’t want to have to wait for an answer from God or simply trust that God will guide our steps… we want an immediate solution to our problem and, a very clear one at that!

It may seem easier and faster to take matters into our own hands initially, but have you ever been on the wrong end of a decision made due to poor advice? Easier and faster is not always better and it also reveals a deeper issue: Unbelief. If we believed God would do what he says, we would likely not be as willing to take the fast and easy route.

The Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).”

If we really and truly BELIEVED that God would direct our paths we would go to him FIRST! One of our biggest hurdles in our Christian walk is simply unbelief. UNBELIEF = CAPTIVITY.
Have you ever wondered what blessings you might have missed out on because of unbelief? Let’s ask God to heal our unbelief and begin to truly seek him in ALL things!

Dear Jesus,
Forgive me for not seeking you in ALL of my ways FIRST before I go anywhere else. God, heal my unbelief! Let my hope and future rest solely in you all day long. Make my paths straight as I seek to honor you with my decision making. Let me rest in you even if I don’t hear an answer as quickly as I’d like and help me trust that your timing is always better than mine. Be glorified in my life. Amen.

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”(John 20:31).

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Stephanie Parker has three main loves: God, her husband, Brett and her kids!  When Stephanie created the Zipadee-Zip in an effort to solve her daughter, Charlotte's, sleep issues, she never imagined that it would become a business.  She is incredibly grateful to God for how Sleepingbaby.com has grown and how it has enabled other families to get the restful sleep they need.   Stephanie's husband, Brett Parker assumed the role of CEO which has allowed Stephanie to focus on what she loves which is the creative side of the company, like product and print development.  After the Zipadee-Zip was featured on Shark Tank, Stephanie went on to create the book Shepherd's Treasure, a Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf. In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with her family and friends.  Her hobbies include acting, singing, painting, learning and speaking foreign languages and going on adventures with her family!  You will find her all summer waterskiing, fishing and laughing with her family on the weekends.