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God’s Promises And Performance, Isaiah 55:11


MAY 09, 2019

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One intriguing question is why God ever made promises to man at all after the fall of Adam.  This is an issue raised by David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel”, 2 Sam. 23:1, in Ps. 144:3-4 and in Job 7:17-18.

 

Why is this question relevant? Because after creating him God invested multiple resources in his well being and security, including a palace which was the envy of satan. Yet he succumbed to the tricks of satan thus losing his privileges and the confidence and trust God reposed in him.  Although God raised a new generation of humans, through Noah, sin again returned to the human race. This time though God, the ever faithful Father, held on to the terms of His covenant with Noah, Gen. 9:11-12.

 

So, why should God make any more promises to man, promises that flow from the deep recesses of His merciful heart? Unless man grieves His heart He is ever inclined to bless both the just and the unjust, Matt. 5:45 although He would withdraw the blessings if they disobeyed, Amos 4:7. In the heart of God there is ever flowing compassion Jer. 29:11-13.  In the heart of satan, venom, I Peter 5:8.

 

Specific Promises 

These kinds of blessings are conditional, depending on obedience and service. However, there is no biblical evidence that Abraham knew God, nor worshipped nor served Him, when He called him out of his homestead, and made promises that would establish him forever, Gen. 12:1-3.

 

For Abraham, at that point, there were no preconditions, except for the divine admonition, following his acceptance of his wife’s alternative plan, leading to confusion in his household, Gen. 16:1-6; Gen. 17:1.

 

The big test came after the arrival of the covenant child, the beloved Isaac, when God made, what appeared to be a strange and impossible demand, that Abraham should sacrifice the boy to Him. But rather than hesitate or refuse Abraham proceeded and it was God himself who, at the very last moment, prevented him from doing so, Gen. 22:10-13.

 

For God it was payback time for Abraham. Being the Potter, that made all, He had known well in advance that Abraham would not fail Him even if initially he would take a few missteps, Isaiah 64:8. God thereafter proceeded to do what He had never done before. He swore, by Himself, to bless Abraham the way He had never blessed any human before him or even after, Gen. 22:15-18. He has since then faithfully fulfilled His promises, making him the father of faith, of Judaism, Christianity and perhaps Islam.

 

Another great beneficiary of God’s promises is David, Ps. 89:20-37.  It is Grace, the Grace of God that no one can claim to merit. Yet David actually tapped into Grace. As a young boy, he confronted and killed Goliath, the formidable leader of the Philistian army, thus saving Israel from defeat and shame. I Sam. 17:23-26, 46-51.

To crown it all David twice spared the envious king Saul, who had attempted to kill him, even though his men thought he had every justification to take revenge. But for David, Saul was God’s anointed and he had no right to take his life – a decision heaven would have applauded, I Sam 24:6, I Sam. 26:9-11. Why? Because David was aware that an attack on the anointed amounts to an attack on God Himself who had imparted His nature on him. David carefully and respectfully observed the rule Ps. 105: 14-15.

 

Although he later committed adultery and murder, for which he was severely punished, our faithful God nevertheless remembered his loyal services. He upheld the terms of his covenant, Acts 13:21-23; Rev. 22:16.

 

God never breaks His promises. However there are occasions when He allows Himself to change His mind. When His chosen priest, Eli, dishonoured Him, God destroyed him and his family, I Sam.4:12-18. To disobey God is risky. To dishonoured Him is dangerous. 

 

The promises of God are many and varied.  Some are prophetic like those he put in the mouth of Joel in Joel 2:28 and 29, thousands of years ago.  They have since come to pass, especially in our time, given the explosion of new generation pastors, missionaries, evangelists, prophets and teachers, Eph. 4:11. Some are fake, Mk. 13:22.  But many more are genuine servants, called to bring the message of salvation to millions.  While Christianity may be on the decline in the West millions of witnesses in Africa and Asia, are taking the message to hostile territories, often at the risk of their lives, and doing wonders as promised by the Messiah, John 14:12-14.

 

Certainly when God makes a promises He keeps it. His word is His bond, Isaiah 55:11, Num. 23:19.

 

The greatest promise God ever made to man was the mission of Christ to the world, to deliver mankind from the stranglehold of satan and to reconcile those who accept Him to the Father, Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7, Isaiah 53:1-12. Micah 5:2.

 

The Mission Statement of Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, confirmed the mandate of the Father. He did not come to the world as a tourist. He came to deliver and save those who accepted Him, Luke 4:18, John 3:16-18.

 

During His three year ministry He raised hundreds of disciples and empowered them to heal the sick and set free those enslaved by satan, Matt. 10: 8.

 

Members of the Jewish establishment, rather than cooperate with Him on His work of salvation, antagonized Him. They organised His crucifixtion and, in the process, pronounced curses on themselves, Matt. 27:24-25.

 

The word of God is law and He allows Himself to be bound by it. Jesus had told His disciples concerning His own death and resurrection long before He was arrested and crucified unjustly, Matt. 17:22-23, Mk. 9:30-32. His word came to pass exactly as predicted. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to continue his ministry. He fulfilled His promise from the day of Pentecost John. 14:16-17; Acts 2:1-4.

 

God certainly is not man that He should lie. He does not need anyone’s favour. Whatever He promises to do He will do. And it is almost always to man’s advantage if He obeys and serves Him faithfully, Titus 1:2.


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