A Consistent Faithfulness

Trust. This is a concept that I find to be intensely lacking in our culture. We live in such an individualistic culture where you have to do everything yourself and also where we just constantly expect people to not live up to their word. Everyone probably has at least one important (but probably several) events where the people we love and care about did not show up even though they said they would. That hurts. And makes it very hard to open ourselves up to potentially trust other people with important things for fear of experiencing that letdown and hurt again.

But the beauty of our faith is that God is different. God truly is trustworthy and does not fail us. How do we know? Scripture (and personal testimony, but scripture can fill in when that lacks). Time and time again, God keeps his promises to His sons and daughters in the word and the beauty of the Bible is that He continuously gives opportunity for reconciliation when humans don’t hold up their end of covenants made.
 
The Lord established the trust we get to enjoy in the covenant promise made to Abram (later known as Abraham):

“‘I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.’” - Genesis 17:7-8
 
A covenant promise which continued through Abram’s son, Isaac, Isaac’s son, Jacob, and through to Moses and eventually Joshua who led the Israelites into the promised land. Joshua 12 is literally just a list of the kings defeated in Canaan.
 
Judges then presents the overarching biblical story of human failings from upholding the covenant given through Moses, God’s punishment, and reconciliation:
 
“Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.” “In his anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them.” “Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them” “for the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them.” - Judges 2:11,14,16,18

That cycle continued throughout the Old Testament and obviously into today, but God was consistently faithful to his disobedient children when they cried out to him. Just as He was compassionate to Job in Job’s trials.
 
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” - Job 42:10 

God not only restores what the faithful lost, but provides a double portion. And to those persistent in prayer, God responds. 1 Samuel begins with the story of Hannah, who was unable to have a son but persisted in prayer to the point of being questioned as a drunk. The Lord heard her groaning and responded, just like Israel in Judges:

“Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.’” - 1 Samuel 1:20

God honors his side of the covenant even if it takes much longer than we can hope for. But for the faithful, God moves in power.

In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego exemplify faithfulness to God in the rejection of the King’s idolatry and are credited with not only miraculous physical salvation from a furnace but the reconciliation of Israel’s faith even during Babylon’s rule.

The beauty of the Old Testament though is that it is not the end. The cycle of rebellion and reconciliation is not God’s desire for creation, check out Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22, and He made a way for the New Creation through His son. Like the Passover lamb that finally freed the Jews from Egypt in Exodus 12, Jesus became our freedom from sin and brokenness, creating a way out of the cycle of rebellion, punishment and reconciliation. Repeatedly the prophets point to the coming Savior through God’s word:

“Because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” - Isaiah 53:12

That prophecy was made 700 years before Jesus’ birth and the Lord forever
established His trust to his people through the completion of the prophets’ promise in Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Trust Him.

Author | Andrew Smith

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