The God who Keeps His Word
Issues of truth and trust are crucial in life. We rely heavily upon believing what people tell us. We have to trust what a doctor gives us when we are ill. We rely on the news we hear to be accurate. We hope our lecturers will feed us with the correct information.
And these issues of truth are brought more sharply into focus as our society becomes increasingly skeptical of whether anyone is reliable with the truth. Innuendo follows innuendo as public figures fall from grace because off ill-judged words; successful prosecutions for libel land the newspapers themselves in the news; ‘being economical with the truth’ has become an all-too-familiar phrase. Think of the massive cheating of exams witnessed in our campuses, lies over the phone among others. One would ask this, who can be trusted? We live in a world of truth decay.
As we prepare to celebrate Easter, I am reminded of the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Easter morning, women rose to visit Jesus’ tomb. You would be allowed to conclude that they had not understood Jesus’ promise that He would rise again from the dead- so trusting Him became an issue for them. Things had looked so promising. Jesus had said so much that was good. But now… everything had gone so badly wrong. They had gone from hope to humiliation in a matter of days. Dreams had turned into nightmares- and all because things had apparently not worked out like he said. They had trusted Jesus. He had never let them down before. But now…
Today we sometimes face issues like this. Circumstances lead us to wonder if God can really be trusted. Reality does not always match up with the promises we believe God to have made- and we are plunged in a crisis. If the very source of truth breaks his word, where does that leave us?
Through his angels, God himself came to the rescue of the women, to restore calm to their troubled hearts and minds. And He did this simply by reminding them of what He had said and what He is like. The women had forgotten Jesus promises that He would rise again. It was time to jog their memories. Notice that three of the Gospel writers record their own recollections of the angels’ words:
‘He is not there; He has risen, just as he said.’ (Matthew 28:6)
‘…just as he told you.’ (Mark 16:7)
‘Remember how he told you.’
Do you see where Jesus is getting at? He is saying in effect, ‘Don’t you remember what I have told you before? Remember all the times I have promised something- it always came true. And it’s no different now. Don’t you remember that I said I would rise again?
What makes you trust someone else’s words? Isn’t their character which makes the most difference? Character adds credibility to communication. And there’s no one who carries finer character references than Jesus.
Cast your own mind back to his life. Remember how the centurion in Capernaum knew that it would only take a word from Jesus to heal his servant: “But say the word…” (Luke 7:7). Remember how the royal official took Jesus at his word, to find his dying son restored to life (John 4:50). Remember how the disciples followed Jesus’ instructions to prepare the Last supper and found everything ‘just as Jesus had told them’ (Luke 22:13).
It is not only in the New Testament that we find a God who is faithful to his word. How about Abraham and Sarah- an elderly couple, and yet Isaac is born to them, true to God’s promise. Solomon, one of the wisest people to have lived understood God’s nature: “Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:5. And the Psalmist wrote: He is faithful to all his promises’ (Psalm 145:13).
And God is the same today. He is the God who keeps His word. There is never anything he has promised that He will not fulfill. He is not fickle; His goals are good, and so is His word. His faithfulness is primarily a matter of the integrity of His character. It is impossible for God to act out of character and be unfaithful to his word: that would be denying His very nature.
When we look back, it is always easier to see how God has kept His promises. But the real challenge of faith is to take His promises and allow their truth to encourage us to move forward, even when the future is uncertain. But the faithfulness of God shines out clearly, whichever way we look. He has kept his word down the years and will continue to do so in all our remaining years.
By FRANCIS WACHIRA