“For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself” – 1 Samuel 12:22 (ESV)
What is in a name? Especially the name of God? Foremost it is the guarantee of an unbreakable promise. When God promised ancient Israel those with faith believed them and trusted in their fulfillment. Samuel was the last prophet/judge of God’s chosen people. The people demanded to have a king and God chose Samuel to anoint Saul to be Israel’s first king. Demanding a king, the people rejected God as their true King. As King Saul is crowned, the people are warned to not forget their God and to serve, obey and not rebel against His commandments. God’s promise that He will not forsake His people is renewed. He established the promise on His name, “for His great name’s sake.” God’s promises to us are also given to us in His name. That means the promises are unbreakable and even when we disobey, God keeps His promises. God promised to make Israel a people for Himself based on His name. His promises hold true no matter how far the people stray. We have the same promise. All faith believers are given promises of God for salvation, which include justification, sanctification, glorification. God will be with us forever.
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NASB)
The importance of the promises, as in our verse today, is better understood when we consider source and context. This is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise by David. We may have considered this verse previously and repetition of God’s promises is always beneficial. David declares our LORD God is exalted over all His creation. He favors the humble in spirit but the arrogant, who David calls haughty, are kept far from Him. Additionally, God watches over our lives and protects us from the hatred of our enemies. The conclusion of Psalm 138 has critical importance for us because we do not always turn to God and trust these promises. Our fears and worries distract us and we are prone to believe God gives up on us. He doesn’t because His promise is that He will accomplish and fulfill all that is His purpose for us. God’s love is steady and holds fast in all circumstances. We can always trust this promise even though we might strongly feel the need to call on God to continue His work in our lives. When we think we’ve lost, God says it is not finished. God’s work continues in our lives.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)
We are now eleven days into our new year. Have you some anxiety built up over the last year? We can be certain, as we find in today’s promise verse, that we do not need to fear or tremble or be in dread of what was or what lingers. Listen to the command Moses gave to the people of Israel and to Joshua his successor as leader of the nation. Be Strong. Be Courageous. Do Not Fear. We have no reason to truly live with fear or dread from possible circumstances through this year. We have the same promise that God gave to His people through Moses. We are His people too if we have believed and received His Truth, for we have been given the right to be called children of God. That’s a praiseworthy promise. And we tack on to that the promise that God will go with us throughout this year and that He will not (never) leave us or forsake us. What happened last year may have lasting circumstances in our lives but God tells us to be strong and courageous and unafraid all because He is with us and will never forsake us.