“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:4-5 (ESV)
God’s call of Jerimiah as a prophet, contained a message intended to motivate Jeremiah for the task God was giving him. Take a moment to recognize that this passage reveals to us God’s omniscience – that is, His knowledge of everything past present and future in our time frame. God tells Jeremiah that He had selected him to be His prophet even before Jeremiah had been formed in his mother’s womb. God has plans for His own that are made before our existence. The promises he has given to us have been given decades and centuries before we were conceived and born. Let’s not be led astray thinking this is reincarnation or the like. This is not reincarnation; it is God’s all-knowing cognizance of Jeremiah and God’s sovereign plan for him before he was conceived. The word ‘knew’ means far more than intellectual knowledge. It conveys the sense of God’s close personal loving relationship with Jeremiah and with us. Trust this promise because God says that before the foundation of the world was made, God chose us in Him. We’ve been in God’s plan for longer than we can comprehend. He has done all for us in love (Ephesians 1:3-14).
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” – Isaiah 55:6 (NASB)
Our promise today is one that brings thankfulness to our hearts and without fail, we can trust the promise. But, more than a promise, it is an invitation from our Lord God. God is near and being near means he is ‘findable.’ This appeal is for all people, believers, but especially those who have not yet chosen to believe in the only God, our Savior Jesus Christ. What can we believe when we seek the Lord? We can believe that we will receive mercy and pardon. From the beginning of time the Lord has required the same thing for salvation and that is that we trust in Him. Salvation by grace and mercy has always been available to the all who are willing to seek the Lord and call on Him. There is a warning, God can be found only while He is near, which means while His offer is still available. There are also promises of a time of His judgment when it will be too late to receive the mercy and pardon God offers it to us now. Be thankful today if you in faith have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:4 (NASB)
Let’s look at the Hall of Faith chapter found in Letter to Hebrews, 11. Every person (except Cain) who is mentioned in this chapter have a testimony as faith believers. Faith is essential for salvation. Faith is vital and indispensable. If we desire to know God. Even to be able to approach God in prayer, we must have the faith which Enoch had. He was the first person who was “taken up” to be with God was Enoch. By faith Enoch walked with God and pleased God. Without such faith it is not possible for anyone to “walk with God” or “please Him.” Our promise is that knowing God is for those who by faith believe that He is; the emphasis here is on “He,” the only true God. Genuine, a gift from God, does not simply believe that a divine being exists, but that the God of Scripture is the only real and true God who exists. Many people believe in the existence of a Supreme Being and some call Him “the man upstairs” without ever by faith believe that He is the one and only God. Our promise is that He is a rewarder of God seekers.
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” – Luke 6:35 (NASB)
The fuller context of our passage is Luke 6:17-49. Some will say this is the same discourse as the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. Others call it the Sermon on the Plain. It could be the same or it could be at a different time and place. That Jesus taught these important lessons on unconditional love more than once is likely. Jesus repeated his lessons many times to different crowds of people who followed Him around. It would be fair to suggest that the commands given here by Jesus on how to live in difficult circumstances with difficult people are too often overlooked, ignored, or deemed too difficult to do. Yes, if we try to exercise love of this kind in our own strength. But it can be done. Jesus never commanded us to do the truly impossible. He is with us always as he abides with all faith believers. This love is unconditional, the love that God demonstrates to us every day. As God’s children we should bear the indelible stamp of His moral character. Since He is loving, gracious, and generous—even to those who are His enemies—we should be like Him.
“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26 (ESV)
Can’t we all agree that we have a weakness when it comes to holding the line on what we know and believe faithfully? Literally the verb in this verse is simply “fail,” not “may fail.” Asaph was enraptured by God. His testimony is, “I have failed! I am despairing! I am dejected! I am overcome with depression!” Then he fires a broadside against all this despondency: “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” This is our promise for when the blues attack. Refuse to yield to their effects. Instead, battle our unbelief; respond with a strategic counterattack. It comes down to this if we trust the promises of God: when in ourselves we feel weak and unable to cope; when we are physically spent and have lost heart, that is the time to not yield to whatever the reason is for our despondency. We trust God and not ourselves. We have hope because God is our strength and our portion forever. These testimonies in the Bible are for our use to fight the unbelief of despondency. And, we fight with the blast of faith in God’s promises.
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)
We continue talking about hope, and by that we mean hope that has faith as its foundation. It is not a ‘wistful’ hope but a hope out of conviction that God’s promises are ours to keep and trust. “Seeing is believing” but that isn’t believing by faith and it isn’t “seeing is hoping.” Even our faith is a gift from God. Because of our faith, we have hope that what we do not see now is yet truly ours. It is not really hope at all if we say we hope in what we can see and confirm. We do not really have hope for what we see when assurance and proof is right in front of them. We hope for heaven and that hope will not disappoint; we know it is ours although we do not see it now. We have our hope in God’s promises, in His word. God has said, “Take My word on it.” So, we can and do that with faith and hope from God. It is because of that hope and our conviction in the promises that we are able to patiently wait for it to be.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
We consider some of the narratives found in our Scriptures. Those narratives have prophecies, revelations and promises from God’s Word. The key to receiving these promises and the blessings they bring is ‘faith.’ We all have a kind of faith and exercise it every day. We have faith in a light switch, but not when our supply of electricity has been cut off. However, a promise from God in which we have hope and are convinced it will be is because of our faith. When we learn of a promise from God it is by faith that we have assurance of its fulfillment and that is where our hope is. By faith believing in what God has promised, we have assurance and conviction even of things we cannot see. Hope in God’s promises and convictions that what is promised is true even if we cannot see it, feel it, or touch it, is because we have faith. Heaven, is a promise. Jesus Christ coming back one day is a promise and we have hope and conviction in its truth. What promise of God will be good to have faith in today? Let’s do so and we will not be ashamed.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13 (ESV)
In the letter the Apostle Paul wrote and sent to the believers in Rome, he takes time to proclaim how our God seeks to fulfill a promise He made to the patriarchs of the people of Israel. God has intended from the beginning to include in His plan of salvation, all nations, all people, all races without distinction. To the Jews at the time, all non-Jewish people were called Gentiles. This is the term Paul uses to identify all the people in the world, Jews and non-Jews. God is the source of eternal hope, life, and salvation for every person. He is the object of hope for every believer. Unlike our English. word “hope,” the New Testament word contains no uncertainty or ambiguity. This hope expresses something that is certain, but not yet realized. The believer’s eventual providence is to share in the glory of God and that hope will be realized because Christ Himself secures it (1 Timothy 1:1). It is only because of the clear and positive promises we have in the Word of God, that we believers have a sure foundation for hope. It is a hope that will not disappoint.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:11-12 (ESV)
If you followed current events in July 2021 you know that two very wealthy men have successfully left Earth’s gravity and reach Zero-G space. Each for only a very short time but they did it on their own dime. Zero-G is found more than 60 miles straight up. That is quite a distance. Yesterday we considered how God’s ways are higher than our ways and Isaiah compared that with how the heavens are higher than the earth. The heavens in these verses from yesterday and today is much more than simply reaching Zero-G. The heavens are everything from there to the unknown end of the universe. David, like Isaiah, uses such immeasurable distances to demonstrate how much God loves those who fear him. He adds another comparison – the distance between east and west. That is also an immeasurable distance. By going westward from anywhere, we never actually find where east begins. If we travel eastward, we will circumnavigate the globe without reaching west because it will always be behind us. God has removed our transgressions from us to a point that cannot be found. This is a promise for all who in faith believe in Jesus.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)
Our God has compassion on all who in faith believe in Him for forgiveness and salvation. Many people do not believe and do not understand God’s ways. We as human creatures, while created by God, use our reasoning and try to fit God into it. Such an exercise does not work at all. Our minds and our ability to reason are limited. It is what we think and say that is finite and flawed. God has no limitations. He is omniscient (knows all things) and omnipotent (all powerful). He does perfectly whatever He wills and it is all good. When we try to understand God by using our limited facilities to think and reason, we are actually trying to compel God to fit into our convenient box of understanding. God is omnipresent (everywhere present) and cannot be contained. To make God’s ways fit our reasoning, we change the definitions of God’s words giving them a different meaning – a meaning which does not exist in what God has said. We’re pretending our ways are higher than God’s ways and we’re putting our words into God’s mouth, words that He has never spoken. Let’s not do that. Let’s take God at His word.