For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV)
FYI – In the bible
- There is estimated to be somewhere between 3,000 and 9,000 promises
- There are more than 400 “I AM” statements
- There are seven Covenants between God and Man
- It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18)
Promises to Keep
This is going to sound like a strange question but I’m going to ask it anyway, do you believe God? Do you believe God will do what He says He will do? Let me ask the question another way, do you live your life in such as way as to show that you take God at His word?
We say we believe God’s word, that we have faith, but when our problems come, do our actions support our words? When trials come, do our responses say we believe El Shaddai is The All Sufficient One? What about in our finances, can we really say that we believe that Jehova-Jireh will provide? When we close our eyes at night, are we do so secure in the knowledge that Jehova-shalom is our peace? I know it’s a lot to think about. The questions are easy, it’s the answers that are hard, because the truth is, most of us can’t answer “yes” to every question. So, Again I ask, do you BELIEVE God?
If you have lived any time at all, I feel safe in saying that at some point in your life, you have been on the receiving end of a broken promise. I know I have. Some broken promises are of little consequence – someone late for an appointment or cancelled a date. It’s annoying and sometimes hurts our feelings, but we go on relatively unscathed. But then, there are broken promises that cause deep scars, there’s no need to give you an example, you have your own story, your own painful memories. But, in spite of the pain, because we want to believe, we try to forgive and forget and find a way to trust again. It’s really kind of crazy how we take people at their word, even strangers, even though we have no foundation for doing so (politicians come immediately to mind).
One more time, do you BELIEVE God? Before you answer, let me remind you that believing is like being pregnant – either you are or you aren’t, you either believe or you don’t, there is no sort of, or sometimes. Now some of you are saying “no”. Why not? When has God ever broken a promise? I understand, there are times and situations when you feel God let you down; your job, relationships, illness, maybe even death of a loved one; I’m pretty sure we’ve all felt let down at some point. But God didn’t break His promises. He has never promised there wouldn’t be suffering. But, what God does promise, is that whatever we go through, He will go with us.
You don’t know what to do
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Life is falling apart
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
You can’t go on
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Everything is going wrong
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
You feel hopeless
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
The Ultimate Promise
There is one more promise. It is a Promise fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled. A promise that encompasses and completes all of God’s promises:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
God’s chosen people waited 4,000 years for the promised Messiah, but because their necks were stiff, their minds were stubborn, and their hearts were prideful, they missed Him. They followed man instead of God. They put their focus on what they could do rather than on what God would do. They neglected the glory, the holiness and the requirements of God, and because of their neglect, they missed out on the greatest promise of all.
The Final Promise
They missed the Promise that encompasses, completes and perfects all of God’s promises: The One who was the final blood sacrifice, the One who would deliver them from the penalty of their sin, the One who would give them life for eternity, the One who had the authority to say “It is finished”. The final promise of the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and He is called Jesus. If only they had remembered, if only they had believed. How sad. I pray none of us make the same mistake.
I have no idea if you will be more willing to believe God. I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy to do because it requires sacrifice. Believing God requires that you sacrifice your ways for His ways, your will for His will; even when you don’t want to. Believing God requires total surrender. Kind of like the trust exercises you used to play at parties; you know, where you fell back and trusted that someone would catch you, or put on a blindfold and trusted someone to lead you around and not let you bump into things or hurt yourself. Believing God requires commitment, you have to say “whatever God” and mean it, every time. If you can do that, if you will do that, you will have a peace that you never imagined, it’s a promise.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Over these past weeks we’ve studied the God of the Old Testament. Glorious God, Holy God, Demanding God. I hope that through this study you’ve come to know and understand a little better the God we serve. Maybe your Mom or Dad never said this to you, but mine sure did – a lot! “I’m doing this for your own good”. Do you remember our scripture from lesson 3? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13) I would like you to go back and read the last nine words of that passage, let them settle in your mind. God didn’t give us rules to follow and requirements to keep because He wants to burden or hurt us, on the contrary, He enjoys us and wants us to enjoy Him. He loves us with an everlasting love. All that God is and all that He requires of us He offers for one reason, for our good through which He is glorified.
Give It Some Thought
What are some of the reasons the Israelites missed the promise of Messiah?
Do you feel you have a better understanding of what it means to BELIEVE God?
How is believing in God different from believing God?
What if anything did you learn from this study about the God of the Old Testament?