The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the word “confirm” thus: to state or show that something is definitely true or correct, especially by providing evidence. Webster’s New World Dictionary says that the word “confirm” means: to make firm; strengthen; establish. These two definitions of the word “confirm” will help us to understand this pattern better.
There are times in life when we have a definite word from the Lord. Sometimes it comes to pass; but still we are not sure whether God has done exactly as He had said. Then God confirms His word through some outward circumstance. Then through this confirmation you come to know that what had happened was according to God’s word. Sometimes we get this knowledge through confirmation as soon as what God said comes to pass.
We have two examples or reflections from the Bible to understand the pattern of Confirmation Brings Knowledge.
Reflection: David (2 Samuel 5:11,12, 1 Samuel 16: 1 to 13)
David as a young boy was anointed by Prophet Samuel to be king over Israel. But many years had to pass before he actually became king. In the meantime he had to suffer persecution arising from the jealousy of the then king, Saul. David was actually on the run trying to save his life during these times. After Saul’s death he was anointed king over the tribe of Judah. Then there was continual wars with the other tribes of Israel. And finally there came a time when all the people came together to anoint him king over Israel.
David might have had many occasions in his life to think about his earlier anointing. When he suffered a lot he might have found it difficult to believe that someday God would make good His word and make him king. God was faithful. David was finally made king.
Then David defeated the Jebusites in Jerusalem, strengthened its fortress and called it the city of David. He took up residence there. He continued to become more powerful because the Lord God Almighty was with him.
Yet we do not know whether he had a nagging doubt within his mind about the reality of him being king at last. The word of God to Samuel that David would some day be king had come to pass. Yet David might have needed an assurance from God. And God met that need.
Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David. They came with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons. It was a full-fledged team ready to build. And they built a palace for David. And the Bible says that: “And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel.”
In this incident we find that David was made king. It had happened according to God’s word. Yet the Bible says that it was when the king of Tyre sent him a team who built a palace for him, that David KNEW that the Lord had established him as king over Israel. This confirmation from God brought the divine knowledge to David that God had indeed made him king over Israel as He had earlier promised. This knowledge was crucial because David had been tested in the fire of circumstances all through his life since the time of his anointing. And God would have loved to put his mind at rest by confirming without doubt that the kingship indeed belonged to David.
Reflection: Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32: 6-9)
Jeremiah was in prison. It was not because he had done any crime. It was simply because he was a prophet of God faithfully proclaiming the message that God had given him. Yet the people rejected him because his messages were messages of judgment on them. King Zedekiah heeded the voice of the people and put Jeremiah in prison. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard.
Then God’s word came to Jeremiah saying that Hanamel son of Shallum, his uncle, would come to him asking Jeremiah to buy his field at Anathoth. He would come saying this because,being his nearest relative, it was Jeremiah’s right and duty to buy that property.
Jeremiah might have had his doubts about this word from the Lord as his later prayer shows. This was because the circumstances in which he found himself were very bad. He was in prison. That didn’t matter much. But the powerful armies of Babylon were just outside the city besieging it. In these circumstances there was not much point in buying and selling property because all of it would soon fall under the jurisdiction of the king of Babylon.
And then the Bible says that Jeremiah’s cousin Shallum came to Jeremiah in his prison and requested him to buy his field. He told Jeremiah what God had already spoken to Jeremiah. The same message from the Lord was repeated by his cousin.
And then the Bible in Jeremiah’s words says that: “I knew that this was the word of the Lord.” Jeremiah KNEW that what God had told him was indeed the Lord’s word only when his cousin came and repeated what God had told him earlier. So he bought the field.
In this incident we again find the pattern of confirmation bringing knowledge. The word of God that came to Jeremiah was enough. Jeremiah being a faithful prophet of the Lord knew to distinguish the word from the Lord from other voices. Yet this time it is said that only when his cousin came and repeated what God had said to him earlier that Jeremiah knew that it was the word of the Lord. Maybe God might have taken into account Jeremiah’s condition at that time. And to encourage him God might have given the confirmation to give knowledge to Jeremiah about His will in that circumstance.
God speaks. He had done so from the beginning of creation. He spoke to His people through prophets. Finally He spoke to us through His Son Jesus Christ when He sent Him to this world.
God speaks to us today mainly through His written Word; the Bible. Quite often God’s promises applicable to our life and circumstances impress strongly upon our minds when we read the Bible. There is no mistaking it. We are sure that God has spoken.
Yet we usually are good doubters and not good believers. A thousand reasons pop up in our mind to make us try to disbelieve what God had said. Yet God’s word doesn’t change. It will come to pass. But our doubts might remain even when that happens.
But we have a God who understands us and our needs better than we do understand it ourselves. So He makes Himself willing to do us a favor by confirming His word through an outward circumstance.
He did this for David by making the king of Tyre build him a palace. He did this for Jeremiah by making his cousin Hanamel come to him with the same message given to Jeremiah earlier by the Lord.
As you read this, note the fact that in both instances David and Jeremiah had played no part in making this outward confirmation come true. It was solely God’s doing. That is how God confirms His word. No human influence can give you the knowledge through confirmation. Only God can. And He does so without your help; to give you the knowledge through confirmation.