“.. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations” – Deuteronomy 7:9
The faithfulness of God is not something that can easily be summed up in a sentence. The scripture is filled with countless stories where God’s faithfulness is seen in nations, and in individual lives of people. Different types of people, different types of circumstances yet all sharing one thing in common – the faithfulness of God, even when they were faithless.
Let’s first take a look at what it means to be faithless, so that we better understand the depth of God’s faithfulness. I want to talk a little about Abraham’s life. Abraham came from a pagan background but he responded to the call of God over his life by obediently leaving his home (the land of Ur) towards the unknown. Abraham began his journey to the unknown land trusting that God would direct him to the land he wanted him to go. When he reached the land of Canaan the Lord appeared to him and said, “To your descendants I will give this land” (Gen. 12:7) . Interestingly enough, the land of Canaan was not this beautiful, uninhabited land that was sitting around waiting for Abraham to arrive. On the contrary, it was a land that was occupied by godless Canaanite people — not to mention — it was a land suffering from a severe famine.
Now, many of us in Abraham’s shoes (myself included) would probably say, “wait a minute God – I lived in a beautiful land with everything I needed and you took me out of it to bring me to a land that’s already occupied, AND is going through a severe famine?? That’s my promised land??!!” Most of us would have packed up our bags, doubted God’s initial voice, and went right back to where we came from. So, to survive Abraham did what we all would have done. He decided to journey down to Egypt. Realistically speaking, there was nothing wrong with this decision — after all, Abraham was just being rational. There was a famine, which meant no water and water was essential to survive. The problem however seems to be that there is no indication that Abraham sought out for God’s guidance in that decision. Almost as though it never seemed to occur to him that God was sovereign over the famine and that he needed to seek His direction. Once he arrives in Egypt with his wife Sarah, we see him scheming to protect himself by telling Sarah to lie about being his wife. Since Sarah was beautiful he began to fear that the Egyptians would kill him just to take his wife. Then he falls into a desperate situation where Pharaoh actually takes his wife Sarah into his harem. By this point, God’s initial promise to make a great nation out of Abram, and to give the land of Canaan to his descendants hangs by a thread — humanly speaking.
When God appeared to Abraham the first thing he tells him is to leave the land he is in, followed by the promise that He will make him into a great nation. Abraham did not know the land that God was going to take him to, or the process of how this promise would be fulfilled. However, he knew that it was God who had spoken into his life and made this promise to him. The only reason he was able to get up and move is because he was confident in the voice of God. All he had throughout his journey was that voice that initially led him out. Yet, the moment he faced the famine in Canaan, or the possible threat to his life by the Egyptians, it became challenging to remember that voice — that promise that God had made.
Yet here is God’s faithfulness. Even though Abram had moments where he was faithless, God always remained faithful in fulfilling the promise He made. In Genesis 12:10-16 we see Abraham faithlessness when he takes it upon himself to lie in order to save himself from the Egyptians, but in Genesis 12:17-20 we see God’s faithfulness in delivering Abram and Sarah. Despite the fear for his life, Abraham lived through his season in Egypt without a single hair on his head being touched. In fact, he left Egypt with more wealth and riches than he had coming into it. The reason for that is because God’s promises and purpose do not depend on fickle man, but on the faithful God. In other words, He is not faithful because of what He is capable of doing, or what mood He may be in that day, or what you may or may not have done. He is faithful because that’s His character — it’s who He is and that’s forever unchanging. He won’t deny Himself, in fact Number 23:9 reassures us that by saying, “God is not human that he should lie, not a human being that he should change his mind” and my personal favorite in Deuteronomy 32:4 we read, “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice. Righteous and upright is He.“ It is extremely important to understand that being “faithful” is not what God what does — it’s who He is. And the only way for us to rest in that truth is by building a relationship with Him that will further reveal the depth of who He really is, not just of what He can do.
As people, we often become faithless in times of trials, chaos, or difficulties. When we are facing trials, it’s important to be on guard (“be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour..”) because that’s an equally open opportunity for us to either draw closer to God and see His faithfulness, or an equally open opportunity for the enemy to shift our focus from the faithfulness of God to our own scheming. That was Abraham’s problem, and for most of us the same problem we deal with today too. He relied on his own schemes as opposed to trusting God. When you turn from the Lord to your own schemes of deliverance, you get yourself in deeper trouble, and you’re left to figuring out even more schemes. Simply put, the farther you go down the path of self-reliance, the further you get from the Lord, and the further you get from Him the harder it becomes to see or trust in His faithfulness. Abraham’s journey began with the promise of God, so there was no need to go through all that trouble. God had already promised that He would make him into a great nation. The end result — the guarantee, was already given to him.
Today, we walk around with the promises of God over our lives. We walk around with the guarantee of what God will do which is suppose to serve us as hope throughout our journey until we see the promises fulfilled. Sadly enough, in times of chaos we drift away from that voice and rely on our own understanding and ability, while forgetting to realize that everything we are and continuing to become is the fulfillment of that promise. The faithfulness of God should not be something we expect to see, rather something we should be certain of if we really know who God is.
As this week begins I want to speak into your life this unchanging truth – God is faithful. Not because of who you are or who you could be, but only because of who He is. You may be going through a season where you are questioning if God is still with you, or if God even brought you to where you are. You may be going through a season where you’re trying to make sense of what is happening all around you. Through ALL of this remember that He is faithful. Speak that over your life and over your circumstances. Don’t ever let the journey you’re on distract you from the destination He has already prepared for you. I encourage you to build a relationship with Him that will allow you to understand His character. That way, in times of trouble or chaos you will be confident on His faithfulness — NOT because of what you believe He’s capable of doing, but because you KNOW who He is.
See you next Monday!