This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series: ‘The Sin of Certainty’ (Enns)
In chapter 3 of his book, Peter Enns considers those parts of the Bible that give voice to doubt, rather than certainty.
He looks first at those psalms in which the writer complains that things have gone terribly wrong, and that God seems to have gone AWOL. They express, in other words, a crisis of faith. Psalm 88 is a notable example. Enns feels that he and others have been shielded from such expressions of doubt, and even made to feel guilty for having such feelings themselves.
In Psalm 89 the writer goes even further: after an extended celebration of God’s covenant faithfulness toward Israel, he complains that God has ‘rejected’ and ‘spurned’ the nation (Psa 89:38) by allowing the Babylonians to overrun Jerusalem. When we reach the end of the psalm (v52) it seems that ‘the psalmist still trusts God enough to get in his face and call him a liar.’ Again Enns thinks that more Christians than we might care to imagine have gone through similar experiences of feeling that God has let them down and reneged on his promises.
Psalm 73 is another in which things don’t work as they should. The psalmist knows that ‘God is good to the upright’ (v1), but then complains that the reverse is actually the case: the wicked prosper while the godly suffering (vv3-5). They way God has set things up just doesn’t seem to be working. The writer is reluctant to talk about this crisis of faith (v15) and finds it wearisome even to think about it (v16). The crisis is resolved only as he moves towards God in worship (v17). He takes his doubt about God to God; he trusts even when he finds it difficult to believe. And this tells us (says Enns) that the Bible is not a repository of sure-fire information about God, and more a dialogue among his people about who he really is and what he is up to.