The Faithful Promise
James Smith, 1856
"Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses." 1 Kings 8:56
The magnificent temple was now finished. The people were assembled to dedicate it to God. Solomon, the happy monarch officiated on the occasion; he reviewed the past, he gazed with rapture on the present; he looked at the promises, he recognized their fulfillment; he turned witness for God, and in the fullness of his heart, exclaimed, "Not one word has failed of all His wonderful promises!" Beloved, let us imitate Solomon. Look back — look around. Compare what God has said — with what God has done; examine carefully, closely. What is the fact? You must say, "Not one word has failed of all His wonderful promises!"
Here is an allusion to a fact.God had made promises — promises to Abraham, and to his descendants, the people of Israel, and now after a long series of years, these promises were recognized, acknowledged, and made good.
Just so, God has made promises to us; great, glorious, precious promises. They are scattered over his Word, they are gathered up into Christ, they are confirmed to us by his death. There are promises that refer to the SOUL: promises of pardon, peace, strength, instruction, deliverance — in a word, promises of salvation; promises as various as the soul's needs — as vast as its desires — as durable as its existence. Promises which comprise all that it can require — and all God can confer.
There are promises for the BODY. God has given us his Word that he will feed us, clothe us, and at length raise us from the dead in the likeness of the glorious body of his Son. He has not promised luxuries — but he has promised necessities.
There are promises to meet all our CIRCUMSTANCES.
Promises for times of prosperity — and promises for times of adversity;
promises for times of sickness — and promises for times of health;
promises for life — and promises for death.
The promises of God embrace all of his people, anticipate all their needs, and provide for all their necessities. Let us now look at the text again —
Here is a testimony borne."Not one word has failed of all His wonderful promises!" God has kept his eye on his promises — he has not lost sight of tnem for one moment. Man may forget his promises — but God never will; they are as fresh in his memory today — as if he had only made them this morning. He has regulated his dealings with his people by his promises. His precepts are our rule; promises are his responsibility. He is every day making good his Word. In our darkest seasons, in our most trying times — he is but fulfilling his Word. Therefore, in looking back, we see with Solomon that he has exactly made good his Word.
We have doubted, and, in so doing, have dishonored him, for what reason had we to doubt? Did he ever break his Word? Did he ever fail his people? Did he ever violate his promise? Never! "It is impossible for God to lie." Yet our doubts and fears go far to make God a liar. For this he will correct us. Because of this he often frowns upon us — but he will keep his Word notwithstanding; hence the Apostle says, "Though we believe not — yet he abides faithful, he cannot deny himself."
Our doubts are very often our disgrace. We should look upon them as sinful, confess them before God as such — and seek pardon for them, as much as for any crime we commit. Satan has often suggested that the promises do not belong to us, and that God will not make them good in our experience; but Satan is a liar, and therefore not to be listened to or believed. We are directed to give him no place — but order him out of the house as soon as he comes in. We must resist him, steadfast in the faith; steadfastly believing what God has spoken and recorded in his Word, in opposition to all that Satan may suggest or say.
Satan is the great enemy of our holiness and happiness; therefore as God sanctifies us, and makes us happy through his own Word, especially through his precious promises — he does all he can to make us disbelieve them. Sometimes he suggests that they are too great and too good to belong to such poor, base, and worthless worms as we are; as if anything was too good or too great for God to confer on us, for whom he has delivered up his own Son.
Providence has frowned. True, providence seems often
to work in order to try our faith in the promises. But we may rest assured
of this, that the work of God's hand will never run counter to the
Word of his grace. The promise is . . .
the staff on which we are to lean,
the compass by which we are to steer,
the manna on which we are to live.
Providences change — but promises are
providences are intricate — but promises are plain.
We cannot tell what a providence means, until we get to the end of it — but we can see the meaning of the promise at once.
Though we have doubted,
though Satan has suggested,
though providence has frowned —
yet God has kept his Word, and "Not one word has failed of all His wonderful promises!"
Brother, let us witness for God. He calls to us, and says, "You are my witnesses." And are we not? Have we not proved him faithful? Have we not found his promises true?
We have been in difficulties and dangers,
we have been tempted and tried,
we have doubted and feared,
we have listened to Satan, and judged by appearances;
but, notwithstanding, all the promises have been made good! We must say, with Paul, "Having obtained help from God — we continue unto this day." We have often broken our word — but our God has never broken his.
Let us, therefore, not only witness for him — but give thanks unto him. All he asks of us for all the favors he confers on us — is to praise his name. Let us then unite heart and voice in praising and thanking the Lord.
Having praised him for the past — let us ask of him more for the future. "He gives more grace." What he has already given us — is but a pledge of what he will give us; his promises are true this day — never more true. God is willing to make them good in our experience, he never was more willing. We know not what a day may bring forth — but let it bring forth what it will, the grace of Jesus will be sufficient for us, and we have his Word, that as our day — so shall our strength be. Jesus is saying to us at this moment, "Whatever you ask the Father in my name — he will give it to you. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."
Let us renew our confidence in God. Never, never had we so many reasons, or so much cause, to be confident in God as now. We have received so much mercy; he has answered so many prayers; he has kept his Word during so many years. Oh for confidence, strong confidence in God! May the Holy Spirit work it, both in the writer's and the reader's heart.
Let us, in conclusion, consecrate ourselves afresh
to the service of our God; he never has failed us, he never will.
He has used us, he will use us still. Let us, then, seek grace that we may
afresh consecrate our persons and powers, our time and our talents — all
that we have, all that we are, and all that we can do —
entirely and forever to the service of our God.
If we think — let us think for God;
if we eat — let us eat for God;
if we give — let us give to God;
if we speak — let us speak for God.
Never were we under such powerful obligations as at present, to dedicate ourselves, and our all, to the service and praise of God. Witness for us then, O angels of God, you servants of Jesus — that we bear our testimony for God, that "Not one word has failed of all His wonderful promises" — and that from a sense of his great love to us, and unquestionable right in us — we dedicate ourselves body, soul, and spirit, to his service and praise forever!