Oh, the Faithfulness of God!

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How can anyone as finite, definable, and limited as we humans are describe something as infinite, unmeasurable, and unlimited as God and His faithfulness? It’s impossible.

That’s the position I find myself in.

The best we can do is the best we can do. We have available to us a repertoire of fine words in the English language that are amazing at conjuring pictures in our minds of what is being written about. However, when the human attempts to measure or describe or quantify the Divine, we come horribly short. Yet we’ve been touched with a degree of the Divine: God.

The prophet Jeremiah, lamenting about the demise of his beloved Jerusalem, pens these well-known words:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22, 23, RSV).

In the midst of his pain and sorrow, Jeremiah still speaks of God as being faithful. In fact, he says, “Great is Your faithfulness.”

Our story

In recent times, my wife and I have also come to experience the faithfulness of God. I, too, can say, “Great is Your faithfulness.”

Loss of work and health issues put us in a position that can be described as humongous horribilis! I’d lost my job and couldn’t secure any employment. I’d had a couple of heart attacks to add to the growing number I’d had in the last few years. Furthermore, there was a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s. For a long time I couldn’t work. Our finances were under severe pressure, to say the least.

But something else happened. God’s Word was alive to me, and in the regular rhythm of my morning devotions, the Divine was revealing something amazing. Promises were deposited into my heart. Things I’d never seen before were uncovered. The curtain was rolled back just a little, so that I saw something of the wonder, the glory, and the dependability of the faithfulness of God.

I came to the book of Jeremiah and read these words: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word’” (1:12).

This truth was being refreshed to me, that God watches over His Word to bring it into being. Of this passage, the NIV Bible Commentary states:

Two visions were granted Jeremiah, evidently to authenticate his call. The first vision was that of an almond tree, which blossoms in January when other trees are still dormant. It is a harbinger of spring, as though it watches over the beginning of the season. So the Lord was watching to bring judgment on Israel’s sins. What former prophets had said would come was about to happen. God was prepared to act because of world conditions. . . . God keeps his word promptly and works toward an early fulfillment.

Finding hope

This greatly encouraged me. God watches over His Word to see that it is fulfilled. I found this truth exciting. About a year before, I read the words of Psalm 107, and the Holy Spirit quickened them to me. They lodged in my heart and became a source of comfort and hope in the months that followed:

Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven (Psalm 107:28-30).

My wife and I were crying out to the Lord in our trouble. We were in distress. There was a storm! But! God would bring us out so that He could bring us into a desired haven, so that He would bring us out of our distress and calm the storm. He would, in fact, guide us to this haven.

Now we were excited. Though nothing had changed, everything had changed. Nothing in the physical realm had noticeably altered, but everything in the unseen spiritual realm had. We knew God was with us; we knew that He knew where we were and was doing something about it, which we would see in due course.

God’s will

Again and again in my morning Bible readings I came across this theme that when God declares something — a promise, a commitment to act in a certain way (one of God’s “I will” statements) — then the whole of God’s creative power, the whole of His authority, His ability, His omnipotence, and divine supremacy, is brought to bear on earthly human affairs so that it happens. Nothing will stop God’s Word from coming to pass. No human kingdom, no event, no circumstance is beyond the ability of God to change, lift up, put down, move out of the way so that the Word of the Lord comes to pass.

Here are a couple of examples.

And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:24, 25).

Joseph knew the promise God had given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now he reiterates promises to the future generations: “God will surely visit you and bring you out.” God will fulfill His promises. In other words, God watches over His Word to perform it. God guards His promise. Here’s Joseph, now the fourth generation from the first mention of the promise, and God is still on its case. God is faithful.

Another example is back in Jeremiah:

“And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. . . . and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden. And he will spread his royal pavilion over them’” (27:6; 43:10).

God can use anyone anywhere at any time for anything. Even the ungodly king Nebuchadnezzar was simply God’s servant to fulfill God’s purposes. His purposes will not be stopped by anyone. God can and will use anyone to ensure His Word comes to pass.

Great assurance

When God is up to something in a nation, when He wants to move things here and there, even an ungodly king is a pawn in His hand to accomplish His purposes. That’s how big God is, that He can and does at times use whomever to accomplish His promises. Nothing will stand in His way. Nothing will block the passage of God’s will.

When God is up to something in an individual, when He wants to move things here and there, even unruly circumstances will be a pawn in His hand to accomplish His purposes and promises. Nothing will stand in His way. Nothing will block the passage of God’s will.

This gives us great assurance that God will defend the will of God and the promises of God in our lives and use whomever and whatever in His purposes.

Great is Your faithfulness!

Desired haven

Our story has a good ending. Through a series of events that can be explained only as the hand of God, our house sold. We then spent the lockdown in 2020 with family. During this time, our house sale settled. When we as a nation (New Zealand) were at the highest emergency level (four) during the COVID pandemic and everyone was confined to their homes, our house sale settled. Amazing!

But then, another incredible event took place. The purchase of our next place settled — and all during level four of the lockdown. So when the lockdown level was reduced sufficiently, we moved into our haven. We are now living in the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord: “so He guides them to their desired haven.”

And it is exactly that. The peace and quiet here is deafening. The Word of the Lord has come to pass. God watched over His Word, protected it, and brought it into being in our lives.

Oh, the faithfulness of God! How can you describe it? The best we can do is tell the stories, relating what happened in our world. Then hopefully, the human will catch a glimpse of the Divine.

 

Stephen Whitwell and his wife, Wendy, have two children and eight grandchildren. He loves God, the Bible, his family, life, fine food, writing, living in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, and helping people discover who they really are! A retired pastor, Stephen writes and publishes, including Brief Word, a free eletter/blog, and serves on two Christian trusts. Visit his website at www.goodwords.nz.

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