Do you underestimate God and overestimate yourself?

by Rev. Jack Richards on January 27, 2023


Do you underestimate God and overestimate yourself? 


The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?  Numbers 14:11,12  NIV  


Often you can underestimate what can go wrong and overestimate what your capabilities are. In 2015, a French couple died in a New Mexico desert on a 100-degree day. The family of three began a 4.6-mile hike with only two 20-ounce bottles of water. Having enough water is critical to living. The park advised that each person should carry 128 ounces [1 gallon] of water. The vast park is treeless. There is no shade or cover of any kind on the trail. The family was found with the young son lying beside his dead father. The parents may have kept their 9-year-old son alive by giving him extra water rations. The sheriff commented, “I just think they underestimated the desert.” [CNN- 08,11,2015] Without a doubt, the parents underestimated what they needed for the journey along with the potential threat of dehydration due to the hot sun and dry desert. In addition, they overestimated their capabilities, stamina, and knowledge. 

Life was never intended to be me-centered but God-centered. You were not made to do life alone but with God. When Almighty God created man, He did it with the intent of having a personal relationship with His human creation. Too often people underestimate what can go wrong in life and overestimate their capabilities. They do life without God. The prime example is the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years when they could have made the trip to the Promised Land in 11 days. They underestimated God and overestimated themselves.   

In the book of Numbers, you can read the Israelites sorry story. God proved to them His divine power and Who He is by miraculously delivering them from Egyptian slave bondage. [Exodus 1-12] God promised to lead them to a land “flowing with milk and honey.” [Exodus 3:8] He told them they would be victorious in taking the Promised Land. [Genesis 15:18; 17:8; Exodus 33:2] In spite of all this, they did not believe God. They questioned His power and promises. In turn, God became angry with them. For the next 40 years, they wandered in the desert. [Numbers 14:34]      

God told Moses that the Israelites were treating Him with contempt and refusing to believe. See the above Scripture focus. In a courtroom, a judge may say to a lawyer, “I will hold you in contempt.” Could you be holding God in contempt? One definition says, “Contempt is a pattern of attitudes and behavior, often towards an individual…which has the characteristics of disgust and anger.” That describes the Israelites. They not only did not believe God but felt His idea to lead them into the Promised Land was not worth consideration. Although they had seen a constant series of divine miracles and had been assured of success, still they chose to do life their way. They complained, grumbled, and rebelled. [Hebrews 3:8-19] This was total disrespect of God. The Israelites disregarded His divine power and promises. How sad. Again, let it be said, what a sorry story! 

If you underestimate God, you are overestimating yourself. You should guard yourself against having a negative attitude toward God. If you scorn God, you are elevating yourself. If you do not trust God then you are trusting yourself rather than the One who made you and knows you best. You are developing a hard heart toward your Maker and the One who loves you the most. [Hebrews 3:7-19] 

Are you walking in life’s desert because you have underestimated God? Are you taking a crooked, rough road or following God’s ways? Are you disregarding who God is and what God can do? Are you distrusting God’s power and promises? Will you live by your instincts and logic or will you choose to live by faith in God? [Hebrews 11:6] You can live by the realities you see before you or you can live by trusting God’s promises. Which will it be?  

God will guide and provide. Do not let your pride be your guide. Pride always overestimates which causes you to overvalue yourself and overlook potential problems.  Instead, you can choose to reside with God. Trust God! God’s ways are unlike your ways. His plans lead to the Promised Land. Your plans, without God, will ultimately lead to the desert. His are direct but yours are sideways. Experience life flowing with milk and honey rather than wandering for years in the dry, dusty, lifeless desert.


What can you do to trust God more than you already do? Recall ways God has shown Himself to be God in your life. Most people are alive because God has spared them. What God-given promises from the Bible do you need to believe? 


Lord God, I am so thankful that I personally know You as my Heavenly Father. Thank you for helping me to see how I underestimate You. There are so many times You have shown yourself to be Almighty God in my life. You have kept me alive and made my life purposeful. Thank you for showing me that when I put myself first, I am overestimating myself. You, Lord God, are great and You do life-changing miracles that are great. I praise and honor You for who You are and what You do!  AMEN!   

Tags: faith, god, power, old, testament, underestimate

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