Trusting The Lord And His Promises
By Rich Carmicheal
This issue of Herald of His Coming focuses on the theme of faith. This is obviously a vital matter because “without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). As this Scripture reveals, faith has to do with how we view the Lord and relate to Him. As one Bible dictionary notes, faith involves taking God seriously, counting on Him, committing ourselves to Him, and acting in accordance with the particular message He has given to us. In other words, faith is “a personal, trusting response to God who speaks through words of a promise.”
One of the challenges to such faith, however, is our natural bent to rely on ourselves and on resources other than the Lord. To trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5), is counter-intuitive. For example, as in the case with Gideon, it makes no sense to pare down an army to 300 when the opposing army is so large. Instead, when facing an insurmountable situation, we are inclined to do as Dietrich Bonhoeffer notes in one of his sermons:
“We collect all of our own strength, reach out for all kinds of help; we calculate, evaluate, count; we prepare our attack and defense – until suddenly, unexpectedly, no one knows when, the living God Himself falls upon man: ‘Do you have faith? If so, lay your weapons aside, I am your weapons; lay aside your armor, I am your armor; lay aside your pride, I am your pride.’”
The reality is that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways His ways (Isa. 55:8). To trust Him is to not lean on ourselves or on our own understanding. Instead, to trust Him is to lean on Him, on His character, on His Word and on His promises.
To do so, however, is not just a matter of theory or mental assent. To trust God is to actually put the matter on the line. It is to respond and act according to His revelation of Himself and according to His Word and promise to us. Faith involves obeying when He commands, waiting when He says to be still, working when He says to work, persevering when He says to persevere, while in all things drawing near to Him in heartfelt prayer.
Take God at His Word
The common denominator of the people of great faith in the Bible and throughout history is simply that they believed God and took Him at His Word, regardless of how much sense it did or did not make. By faith Noah, when warned, prepared an ark (Heb. 11:7). By faith Abraham, when called by God, went out, not knowing where he was going (v. 8). And when promised a son in impossible conditions, he did not waver through unbelief, but was fully convinced that God could perform what He had promised (Rom. 4:20-21). And when tested by God, he by faith offered up his son (Heb. 11:17). By faith Moses forsook Egypt and “endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (v. 27). By faith the boy David faced Goliath, trusting that the Lord would deliver the Philistine champion into his hand (1 Sam. 17).
By faith Jeremiah obeyed and bought a field and placed the deed in a jar to last a long time, symbolizing God’s promise that the people would return from exile and that houses and fields and vineyards would again be possessed in the land (Jer. 32:15). Even though at the time the situation looked hopeless, Jeremiah expressed his confidence in God’s ability as he prayed, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You” (v. 17).
By faith Ezra, when leading a large delegation back to Jerusalem, including children and significant amounts of gold, silver and other possessions, did not turn to the king for protection from the threat of enemies and ambushes along the treacherous trail, but led the people in fasting and prayer to God for His protection (Ezra 8:21-23, 31). Can you imagine the confidence that Ezra had to have had in the Lord? As the leader of this group, not only did he entrust his own safety to the Lord, but the safety of many others. He put everything on the line because he believed that God was with them and would indeed protect them.
By faith Nehemiah, when deeply grieved by the distress of God’s people and the broken down condition of Jerusalem, turned his attention fully to the Lord and to His promises and power. He acknowledged God’s greatness, faithfulness and mercy, and reminded the Lord of His promise to restore His people if they returned to Him (Neh. 1). Though he was “dreadfully afraid” (2:2), he approached the king about allowing him to go to Jerusalem to rebuild it. And though he faced many challenges along the way, and even direct opposition, he continued to pray, putting all of his hope and confidence in God, endeavoring to accomplish all that God had put in his heart to do.
“I Believe God”
Think also about the Apostle Paul during the terrible storm on the Adriatic Sea that threatened the lives of everyone aboard the ship bound for Rome. As the storm raged on, the men gave up all hope of being saved. Paul, however was told by an angel that God would spare his life and the lives of all aboard (Acts 27:23-24). Paul then gave this word of encouragement to the men: “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (v. 25).
“I believe God” – that is the key! Do you believe what God says to you? Do you trust Him fully and take Him at His Word? Are you responding fully to Him and His Word to you, whether it makes sense from man’s perspective or not? God is pleased with faith, and He always proves Himself faithful to those who put their hope and confidence in Him!
By way of special encouragement to readers who may be in great need, I am listing below just a few of the many of God’s promises to His people. As you in faith believe that God is, and as you diligently seek Him, including through promises such as these, He will be faithful to minister to you. As D. L. Moody is credited with saying, “Tarry at a promise and God will meet you there.”
This word from A.W. Tozer may also be particularly encouraging: “…If you are in trouble and concerned about your situation and willing to be honest with God, you can have confidence in Him. You can go to Him in the merit of His Son, claiming His promises, and He will not let you down. God will help you, and you will find the way of deliverance. God will move heaven and earth for you if you will trust Him.”
Some of God’s Precious Promises
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you…” (Psa. 55:22).
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psa. 43:5).
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).
“Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught” (Prov. 3:25-26).
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isa. 43:2-3).
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psa. 50:15).
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
“…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (Jas. 1:5).
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ...Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Jas. 4:8-10).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thes. 3:3).
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).