GOD IS FAITHFUL
Every year during football season Lucy promises to hold the ball. Charlie Brown makes her pledge that she will not move it. He reminds her that she has tricked him many times. She vows, “Never again.” Naive as ever, Charlie charges toward the ball. Just before his foot makes contact, she pulls it away. He back-flips in the air and wipes out. When he protests, she chides him for believing in the human race.
Life teaches people to distrust. When divorce took a ten-year old boy from his mom, she promised often she’d be by. He finally learned not to expect her. When he is told later in life to trust in God, he may say, “Prove it.” Most people are born idealists. Cynicism comes along as a way of coping.
Infidelity trumps faithfulness in popularity. Politicians aren’t alone in making and breaking promises. You would hope that Christians would have an edge on responsibility. After a retreat in California, a woman from our church sent me a letter bemoaning irresponsibility: “Many people excuse themselves from meeting deadline dates, registrations, and donations without considering the inconvenience on others.”
It’s not a new problem. Solomon asked, “A faithful man who can find?” (Prov.20:6). And David wrote, “Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men” (Psalm 12:1). All the more reason to look at the unchanging faithfulness of the Lord.
GOD IS FAITHFUL.
Faithful is the way God is. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). He is clothed with faithfulness (Isaiah 11:5). He has never missed an appointment, arrived late, or gone back on his agreement.
HE IS FAITHFUL TO HIS WORD. The Bible testifies that “the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised” (Genesis 21:1). Joshua told the Israelites, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled” (Joshua 23:l4).
Fulfilled prophecy reflects on a God who keeps his word. He said through Isaiah that “a virgin will conceive and bear a son and you will call his name Emmanuel.” 700 years later Mary birthed the Savior. I remember making an agreement with one of my children, hoping he would forget so I didn’t have to make good on my offer. My words stand in stark contrast to the unfailing faithfulness of God. “Let God be true, though every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
GOD IS FAITHFUL IN HIS LOVE. Moses said, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is a faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations…” (Deut. 7:9). And Jeremiah wrote, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22,23).
HE IS FAITHFUL TO FINISH. I have books I’ve not finished, projects I’ve not completed, and so do you. Not God. Paul wrote his Philippian friends, “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians l:6). His benediction to the Thessalonian saints says, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (I Thess. 5:24).
HE IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE. God’s word promises: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John l:9).
HE IS FAITHFUL TO PROTECT. St. Paul told Christians, “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (II Thessalonians 3:3). When we get into difficult circumstances, he will give us a way out: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (I Corinthians 10:13b).
And what does God’s faithfulness call us to?
l) FAITH. Many of us have been let down by family and friends. We wonder, “Who can I trust?” The answer: You can trust God. He will never let you down. That is why the Bible says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews l0:23). Sarah “considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Heb. 11:11).
2) FAITHFULNESS. God calls us to share his character. “Moses was faithful in all God’s house” (Heb. 3:2). Daniel’s accusers “could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (Dan. 6:4). Paul reminds us that “it is required that those who have been give a trust must prove faithful” (I Cor. 4:2). This is not short-term loyalty but obedience to the ultimate: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:l0). Jesus said that “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke l6:l0). Faith-fulness does not start with grandiose visions but with paying the bills, returning what we borrowed, cleaning the kitchen when no one knows who messed it up, being kind to people we suspect may not like us.
Our faithfulness grows as we trust in a faithful God. Faith breeds faithfulness. It comes less by the grit of the teeth than surrender of the heart. The more we are looking to a faithful God, the more we will walk in his ways. The Spirit produces the fruit, and he can work faithfulness in you. Day and night God is proving his faithfulness to us in many more ways than we can see. We proclaim with Jeremiah, “Great is thy faithfulness.” And as we do, we grow in faithfulness.