Prayer & Fasting, Day 12: God is Faithful

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, (Deuteronomy 7:9). The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
 (Hebrews 13:8).

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17).

Have you ever had someone make a promise to you, then break it? It’s an awful feeling. Yet, our world abounds with broken promises. The promise to love and be faithful to a spouse is soon broken by the gaze of another. The promise to be there for someone is broken by another commitment. The promise from our leaders to be honest and transparent is broken by back room deals, lies, and coverups. It’s no wonder, then, that we have a hard time believing that God is any different.

The God we meet in the Scriptures is, thankfully, very different. God never wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. God never flip flops. God never covers up the truth. God always, only, ever does what he says he is going to do. In short, God is faithful.

The root of faithlessness in our culture has borne the fruit of cynicism—the refusal to believe anything. Inside many of us, we carry around the belief that we really can’t trust anyone, including God. But God is worthy of our trust, precisely because God is in no way like us. We read that God “keeps his covenants.” There is not one promise that God has made which he has not kept. Not one forecast that did not come to pass. We aren’t like that at all.

We also read that all God’s ways are justice. Nothing that God brings about is ever wrong, unjust, or in any way to be called into question. In fact, every good and noble thing that you and I can imagine are proofs of this fact. God has bestowed countless blessings on us. James, the half-brother of Jesus, reminds us that with God “there is no shadow due to change.” God is never turning himself to keep his less beautiful parts hidden from us. He’s never putting on a facade. No, he is always faithful, giving good and perfect gifts to a humanity that largely does not deserve them.

Chiefest among these gifts, however, is the gift of himself. The greatest promise that God has ever kept is the promise to rescue his people from their sins. His mightiest demonstration of his faithfulness was in his gift of Jesus Christ to us. No one at the time expected God to come in flesh! The best guesses were for a king or military leader. Jesus was way above and beyond what anyone could have imagined. This should show us something about the character of God—namely, that though we cannot understand or predict how God will carry out his promises, we may always trust that he will carry out his promises. This fact should make us immensely grateful that the God we serve is a God who will always be faithful. Therefore, he is always worthy of trust.

Today, you may not understand how God is achieving his promises. But before you doubt him, remember that your inability to understand God’s ways does not prove him unfaithful. It only proves him God, and you merely human. Trust him today. He is worth it.

Prayer & Fasting, Day 10: God is Sovereign.

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! (Psalm 97:1). Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Ephesians 1:3-4).

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 
(Romans 8:28-30).

“You are not in charge!” she said. My teacher looked so frustrated that tears were beginning to form in her eyes. I had always been a good student, but somewhat hellbent on taking over the class, leading the discussions, etc. After some time not taking direction well, she had lost all patience and had to raise her voice to get my attention. Now, I don’t fault her for it. I readily admit that I really liked to be in charge. In fact, I think that all of us do.

It’s no surprise, then, that the sovereignty of God is a subject of debate among us humans. Sovereignty is the character trait of a sovereign—a Lord or ruler. Sovereigns reign, and rule, and we typically don’t like that. Ever since our first parents rebelled against God, we’ve been doing our best to run our own lives, being masters of our own destinies—or so we think. But when this attitude bumps up against the unchangeable rulership of God almighty, friction happens. But I hope to convince you that God’s sovereignty is a trait which shouldn’t make you rebel, but worship.

God’s sovereignty means that he and he alone rules over the affairs of the world. The book of Psalms is replete with praise for this fact. “God is in heaven and he does whatever pleases him,” the joyful songwriter sings. For him, that was very good news, worthy of writing a song about. “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!” sings another. It is an unspeakable wonder that we not only know that God rules the world, but that we know him. Because we’re in relationship with God through the grace of Jesus Christ, we are relationally connected to the one who holds the universe together and providentially oversees every part of it, from the greatest celestial body to the smallest subatomic particle.

However, God is not only sovereign in nature. His rulership extends into our lives as well. This is especially wonderful, because we are uniquely broken. Ephesians 2 tells us that all of us, apart from a work of grace, are dead in our trespasses and sins. Dead. Not sick, not hurt. Dead. But, God (who has more mercy than we can imagine) has reached down into our dead hearts and made them alive! Our response is repentance and faith, and we are made members of God’s family—adopted sons and daughters of the King of Kings. If God were not sovereign over such matters as our hearts, then we would not, indeed we could not, be saved.

For God’s people, his sovereignty continues to be a fountain of praise. Romans 8 reminds us that nothing can befall God’s children—not even the things which seem horrible—that will not ultimately work for our good and for God’s glory. Why? Follow the verse. God has foreknown us (which is a biblical word which means “loved before all time.”) He set his love on us as the bridge of Christ. And if he’s done that, then he is sovereign enough to carry us all the way through our calling, our growth, and even rising together with Christ in our future glory. In short, the sovereignty of God assures our salvation, our sanctification (growth in holiness), and our glorification, when we will be united with Christ forever.

The choice for our us is simple. Shall we go on insisting that we really run the show, like I did with the teacher, or shall we joyfully run to our sovereign God who rules the universe with unending love and wisdom. For my part, I want to choose worship.