So many times in the Bible, man is admonished or expected to “believe in” something or someone.
In John 3:16, for instance, we are informed that whoever “believes in” Jesus Christ will have eternal life. Such statements seem as plain as could be—but are they? Here is the question we must ask: What does it mean to “believe in” God/Jesus? To answer this requires the combination of inspired Scripture + practical logic.
One of the most powerful passages in this connection is in Numbers 20, the sad chapter in which Moses let his emotions overpower his wits, leading him to sin against God.
Here is the thing: According to man’s definition, Moses certainly “believed in” God…; but according to GOD’S definition, Moses did not believe in God—and God’s definition is the only one that counts (cf. Rom. 9:20).
Moses’ punishment for this sin was having to lead the people to the Promised Land without being allowed to enter in, himself (12b). But here’s a question to consider: What was Moses’ crime? Many will answer that he hit the rock instead of speaking to it; but God said Moses’ crime was that he “did not believe in Me” (12a)!
Here is the thing: According to man’s definition, Moses certainly “believed in” God—in fact, according to man’s definition, “even the demons believe” in God (Jas. 2:19); but according to GOD’S definition, Moses did not believe in God—and God’s definition is the only one that counts (cf. Rom. 9:20).
Thus, here is the inspired logical syllogism drawn from this account:
1. MOSES DID NOT OBEY GOD (NUM. 20:10,11).
2. BUT GOD SAID MOSES DID NOT “BELIEVE IN” GOD (NUM. 20:12).
3. THEREFORE, TO NOT OBEY GOD = TO NOT “BELIEVE IN” GOD.
4. AND THUS, TO “BELIEVE IN” GOD = TO OBEY GOD.