Part of our confident expectation (Biblical hope) is based on who GOD is. We talked about that yesterday and have often talked about it here recently. The other part of our hope rests upon the promises of GOD. Today, we will spend time talking about GOD’s promises.
Does He promise we will get everything we ask for? NO. He does promise we will get everything we ask for if it is in accordance with His will. But in order for us to know what His will is, we need to be aware of what His promises are…as well as a good bit of Biblical teaching about His character. He obviously won’t go against His character in order to answer our prayers.
A quote from a recent book on prayer, by Tim Keller takes a large part of Biblical teaching into account on GOD’s character as well as GOD’s promises. He says: GOD will either answer the prayer you ask or answer the prayer you would have asked if you knew what He knew. That quote brings both truths together doesn’t it?
What does someone need to be like in order for us to trust them completely?
The blend of character and resources is so important when it comes to the one you depend on when putting your hope in someone to keep their promises. On the one hand, they need to be honest and upright in character. You don’t want them promising something they don’t plan to deliver.
On the other hand, you want them to be dependable. Will they be on time and show up when they promised? They need to be organized enough to get things from point A to B and keep the orders straight. They may have good intentions, but just may not be organized enough to meet your need.
A third part you need is that the person needs to have enough resources to provide what you need. If they promise more than they have in stock, it won’t do you any good. By the time you find out they don’t have enough supply, you often don’t have time to find another supplier.
Fortunately, GOD is able to meet all three of these criteria. He is never hampered by lack of resources. He is able to meet needs on a time frame despite the fact that His timeframe is not always the same as ours. And finally, His character is such that He is totally truthful and honest. He will keep His word. He also loves and cares for us and wants the best for us.
Behold, I will gather them from all the countries
to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation.
I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety.
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever,
for their own good and the good of their children after them.
I will make with them an everlasting covenant,
that I will not turn away from doing good to them.
And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
I will rejoice in doing them good,
and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness,
with all my heart and all my soul.
“For thus says the Lord:
Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people,
so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them.
Jeremiah 32:37-42 ESV
Jeremiah is telling the people what GOD the is going to do in the Land…
This promise was made in Jeremiah from GOD to His people telling them that just as the disaster He had brought on them had happened, so the good He had promised would come too. The above verses continue telling of the good that would come. But the prior verses also told us about the good changes that would happen.
GOD has not promised that life will always be carefree. There will be hard times and disasters, often caused by our own disobedience as in the case of Israel. But the fact that we have disasters also shows that GOD is going to bring us good…even if the good will only come when we get to heaven.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
I Peter 2:9-10 ESV
Now, in Christ, Jews and Gentiles are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…what wonderful news!!
Here, Peter is talking to Jews and Gentiles alike with GOD’s promise that those of us who have asked for and received GOD’s mercy are part of the chosen race of GOD’s holy nation. We belong to Him. We are His people.
Now we have this promise below. Whether we go to heaven through death or we go when Jesus comes, it is an amazing promise. It is one Jesus made through the Apostle Peter. We don’t know when it will happen but His timing is very different from ours…and he is very patient. There will come a time when all that we know will burn up. Then the new heavens and new earth will be ready or will appear or ? It will be an awesome place!
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you,
not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a roar,
and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved,
and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved,
what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved,
and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
II Peter 3:8-13 ESV