- Keith Harris
Promise & Assurance from God
For every life-situation we could possibly face, God has supplied specific promises that give us mercy and grace to help in time of need. The old Puritan, Thomas Watson, put it very quaintly in a sermon in England on August 17, 1662: “Trade much in the promises. The promises are great supports to faith. Faith lives in a promise, as the fish lives in the water. The promises are both comforting and quickening…The promises of God are flotation devices to keep us from sinking when we come to the waters of affliction. O! trade much in the promises; there is no condition that you can be in, but you have a promise.” J. I. Packer comes to the same point in his book Knowing God: “In the days when the Bible was universally acknowledged in the churches as ‘God’s Word written,’ it was clearly understood that the promises recorded in Scripture were the proper, God-given basis for all our life of faith, and that the way to strengthen one’s faith was to focus it upon particular promises that spoke to one’s condition.”
In one memorable scene from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian, finding the pathway difficult, climbed over a stile to walk to a meadow bypath. Eventually the ground grew soggy and covered with poisonous vines. The sky became black, and Christian spent the night huddled at the foot of an oak tree, caught in a downpour. The next morning, Giant Despair came upon him, captured him, beat him, and imprisoned him in the dungeon of Doubting Castle with its grim battlements and thick, black walls. Christian tried to sing, but couldn’t. His mood was dungeon-dark. Giant Despair beat him mercilessly, and he grew weaker each day. He found in his cell a rope, a knife, and a bottle, the tools of suicide, and for a moment he was tempted to end his misery. But one evening about midnight he began to pray, and “…a little before day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out into this passionate speech: What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am sure, open any lock in Doubting Castle.” And it did. Using the key of God’s promises, Christian escaped, never again to fall into the clutches of Giant Despair or Doubting Castle.
Throughout the pages of Scripture, God makes known his great and precious promises. The reality of God’s nature, his faithfulness and love, allow even us today to know for certain that God will keep his promises made to his people. What blessed assurance is ours! What wonderful promises he has made! How great it is to be a part of God’s family. By his love and through his family, God meets our needs, comforts us in hardship, and brings peace to our lives.
GOD MEETS OUR NEEDS
One of the greatest promises of God is also one of the most often repeated promises. God assures his people he will meet every single one of our needs. This promise is so all-inclusive that every other promise of God fits under its umbrella! Some may ask, “What needs does that include?” ALL of them! Isn't that a wonderful answer? In fact, did you know that one of the names by which God identifies Himself in the Old Testament is “Jehovah Jireh”? Jehovah Jireh literally means, “I am the God who supplies ALL your need.” A. W. Tozer said, “With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack?” God is the great provider. No matter what the need, it is not greater than God. In God, there is great assurance of provision. In Philippians 4:19, Paul says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Robert Byers wrote a poem entitled, My God Supplies All Needs. The last stanza of this poem reads, “So however dark the vale, through which your pathway leads, of this your faith can be assured, my God supplies all needs.” What a wonderful blessing to know that God stands ready and willing to meet all our needs!
GOD GIVES COMFORT
Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught a vessel off a rocky coast and threatened to drive it and its passengers to destruction. In the midst of the terror, one daring man, against the orders of the crew, went to the deck, made a dangerous passage to the pilot house and saw the steerman at his post holding the wheel unwaveringly, inch by inch turning the ship out once more to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. Then the daring passenger went below and gave out a note of cheer: “I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well.” Storms of life are inevitable. At any given point, we all experience difficulties – struggles in life that leave us terrified and feeling uncertain about the future. We are terrified simply because we’re unsure of the outcome. In spite of our uncertainty, the God of all comfort is more than willing to wrap his arms around us, sharing his love, support, and victory. We can rest on the promise that no matter what our circumstance – no matter what storm we face, no matter what may be our plight – God is there offering to us his incomparable comfort.
GOD BRINGS PEACE
The Personnel Journal reported this incredible statistic: “Since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3,530 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8,000 peace treaties have been made…and broken. Matthew Henry once said, “Peace is such a precious jewel, that I would give anything for it but truth.” There is what is called the “cushion of the sea.” Down beneath the surface that is agitated with storms, and driven about with high winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed for hundreds of years. A. T. Pierson said, “The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep down in the praying soul to be reached by any external disturbance.”
Many people go through life with a sense of restlessness. This unsettled feeling they experience often stems from the storms of life that wage war against the security for which they long. Sadly, many look for peace in every other place except the one that will provide true peace. Deep within us all lies the imago dei – the image of God. An inseparable aspect of the imago dei is the peace of God. When we choose our own path instead of the path God would have us travel, we separate ourselves from God, putting ourselves at enmity with God. The peace of God is then distorted until it’s unrecognizable. And we find ourselves floundering around, searching and striving to restore peace in our lives. The truth is that God provides to us the peace we so desperately need – and he does this only through the gracious gift of Jesus. In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Paul says, “…may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.” He is more than willing to grant to us the wonderful blessing of peace, if only we’ll turn to him.
How blessed we are to have a God who is faithful to his word. He shares with us his great and precious promises, and we can know for certain that he will keep them. We serve a God who loves us more than we can imagine. The greatest promise of all is realized in the gift of God’s Son. We know that because God is faithful – because God loves us, because Christ came to earth, died on the cross, and rose again the third day – we know that we have available to us the blessing of an eternal home with God. God supplies all our needs. He provides comfort to the hurting. And brings peace to all through Jesus. What more could we hope for? “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).