God Is As Good As His Word

“God heard their groaning
and he remembered his covenant with
Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob…”
Exodus 2:24 (NIV)

Depending upon who it is who makes a promise we may rest easy or have no rest at all! Christians are rich with many promises from the Lord. One biblical word for promise is “covenant”. Covenant in Scripture means a sovereignly given promise for certain things to be done by the Lord and received by the appropriate response of His people.

When Christians hold communion services, they are stating they are in covenant with the Lord. The bread and wine symbolize the broken body and shed blood of our Saviour which was once for all given at Golgotha. Just as the bread and wine consumed in faith sustains our bodies, so the broken body and shed blood of our Lord on the cross guarantees our eternal redemption.

When Scripture speaks of God “remembering” His covenant it refers to God “enacting” or “performing” the promises in the covenant. So “to remember” means much more than simply calling to mind a promise made long ago. When the dying thief asked Jesus to “remember” him when Jesus came in His kingdom, he obviously was asking to be made a part of our Lord’s eternal kingdom. The man knew the promise and acted in faith.

As we suffer, we need to read the God given promises to His people and bring them to our heavenly Father in faithful prayer asking that He “remember” them and thus ask Him to fulfil the promises given. While the Lord is faithful to His promises, He expects His children to remind Him of His covenant with His people.

In Ezekiel 36 we read of numerous promises the Lord makes to His covenant community but at the end of the list of promises we read in V37 (KJV);

“Thus saith the Lord God;
I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel,
to do it for them…”

So, in our difficult times we must search the Bible for promises and then present one to our heavenly Father for its fulfilment. This way we show the sovereignty of our God in “remembering” the promises and our responsibility as His children in pleading for their fulfilment.

Here are a couple of promises to present before the Lord in faith as you navigate your way through this difficult time. Look for more promises and take heaven by “storm”.

Deuteronomy 31: 8

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

“…call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

Psalm 50:15 (NIV)

Remember, God is as good as His Word.

Never Out of Earshot

“The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out,
and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.
God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with
Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”
Exodus 2:23-25 (NIV)

At the time of Exodus 2 the Hebrew people were in captivity to the Egyptians and were suffering greatly. For long years, even for generations, they were tormented without relief. Their prayers sometimes seemed to rise no higher than the roofs of their homes. Where was God when they needed Him? Had He abandoned them? Their pain was great, and no relief came or was coming as far as they knew.

Over millennia the Hebrew people have suffered much at the hands of gentiles. During the Holocaust, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel verified a story told about Jews in Auschwitz who put God on trial (Wiesel said he witnessed the trial). God was found guilty of abandoning His people. Then the men prayed. We recognize the wisdom of the men for praying even when they thought the Lord had abandoned them.

Our text for today speaks of four actions on the Lord’s part when His people suffered. 1. The Lord “heard”, 2. The Lord “remembered”, 3. The Lord, “looked”, and 4. The Lord “was concerned”.

First, we are taught in Scripture that our prayers are heard by the Lord. We may pray alone but we are not alone. The One to whom we pray is by our side whether we sense His presence or not. This is what encourages us to continue praying in the toughest of times.

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.”

Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)

What About Jesus?

“We esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53:3

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As we listen to various people offering their opinions on who Jesus is, the variety is remarkable. As far as I have heard, most people classify Jesus as a fine person. No one seems to say anything negative about Him or the work He tried to do.

However, many people simply ignore the Saviour of the world.  They don’t speak against Him but they just do not give Him a serious thought. This is the tragedy of it all.

I am convinced that if anyone starts to read the four biographies of Jesus—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—in the Christian Bible, they will come away with many serious thoughts and questions.

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The Lord Sees

“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake,
and he was alone on land.
He saw the disciples straining at the oars,
because the wind was against them.”
Mark 6:45-48 (NIV)

When the Saviour had ordered the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee He stayed back and went up a mountain nearby to pray. However as the storm whipped up the waves Mark notes that Jesus observed His beloved disciples struggling in the vicious storm.

The fact that the Good Shepherd saw His sheep in trouble is a wonderful comfort. Sometimes we are so busy looking at the storm that we forget our loving Lord always has His eye on us.

Usually young children playing outside do not think about mom and dad as they enjoy themselves. Only when some form of trouble comes do they look for and call for mom or dad. Once they make eye contact with a parent will they calm down and feel secure once more. Children find great comfort in the knowledge they are being watched.

We can learn a lesson from our young children or grandchildren as they teach us to relax and find peace in the knowledge that the God Who gave us eyes with which to see always see us. Remember that nothing comes to us until it passes the critical eye of our Father in heaven.

Remember the teaching of Jesus when He tells us that our Father in heaven even observes the bird that falls from a tree and we are far more precious to Him than birds. Your loving Father in heaven is carefully watching you as you seek to come through the present world pandemic. Take heart and rest comfortably in the loving arms of your heavenly Father.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground
outside your Father’s care.
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
So don’t be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Costly Obedience

“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake,
and he was alone on land.
He saw the disciples straining at the oars,
because the wind was against them.”
Mark 6:45-48 (NIV)

We note that the disciples were commanded by our Saviour to get into the boat on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee and sail west to Capernaum. So they were clearly in the will of the Lord as they sought to navigate their way across the sea at night.

However, as they sailed along, they found themselves in the midst of a life threatening storm. This body of water was well known for sudden very violent storms and these men, some of whom were seasoned sailors, had experienced such storms before as they conducted their fishing business on this sea.

It did not help that they were there in the middle of the night. So, they were paying a frightening price for their obedience to the Master. In some ways we as followers of the Good Shepherd find ourselves in frightening situations as our resources drain away due to the financial issues of this precarious time.

We feel confused and wonder why our sincere efforts to walk well with the Lord are not bringing us security and peace of mind. But now is when we need to remember that this world is no friend to the obedient child of God. But we are promised that we shall ultimately win the good fight of faith.

“ As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:36-40 (NIV)