Things God Will Never Take Back
The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Ultimately, on a national or personal level, God’s purposes can’t be sidetracked. In the middle of his letter to the Romans, Paul leaves his teaching about how to grow in Christ and turns to answer questions many people had asked: So many Gentiles are coming to Christ, but what about the Jewish people? Has God abandoned them?
Paul’s answer is an emphatic no. God chose the Jewish people to represent Him to every nation, but they failed. Since they hadn’t followed His directions, God, in essence, put them on the shelf. His plan for them, though, isn’t finished. They might have been enemies of the gospel of Christ in Paul’s day or might be in ours, but a moment in history is coming when many Jews will turn to Christ as their promised Messiah. God’s gift of truth and His calling to follow Him are still pure and strong, even if the Jewish people have walked away for a while.
God’s patience and persistence with the Jews is a picture of His relationship with us. Over and over in the Scriptures, we read of God’s promises, people’s rejection of God, and God’s grace to restore them. Our disobedience grieves God, but He doesn’t wring His hands and wonder, What in the world am I going to do now? He has complete knowledge of all of history, and He possesses wisdom and power to accomplish His purposes. Nothing confuses Him, and nothing can ultimately block His purposes.
When we think about the incredible patience of God, we are reassured that He never takes back His gifts to us and His calling in our lives.
Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, it’s own aristocracy based on excellence of performance.
James Bryant Conant
What if we walk away from the promises of God? Or what if we don’t believe in them? Does that make them null or void? Well it might, at least as long as we turn away. But the moment we turn back toward God, it’s as though none of the promises have failed. The Bible says that: Faithful is He that has promised. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, tells us that when we are facing temptation, God is faithful.
As we read the stories of the Bible, we discover that God continues to be faithful even when His children miss the mark.
One of the most powerful demonstrations of this faithfulness of God can be seen in the story of the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. It wasn’t through their effort but through God’s grace and because of His promise to Abraham. There’s nothing that indicates that the people earned or even deserved liberating for as God worked through the plagues to move Pharaoh to let them go and as Pharaoh hardened his heart and increased the labor demands, they doubted and complained. After being liberated, they began their journey only to come to the Red Sea, that they saw as an impossible barrier, they lost faith and fell into fear. They even wanted to kill Moses. But God kept His promise and opened the sea and preserved them from their enemies. All through the journey, we find the same response, on the part of the people and on the part of God. At every place of adversity, they responded with doubt, fear and complaints. Yet, God responded with grace, love and faithfulness. Again and again, His mercy overrode their rebellions and resistance. Even when He allowed them to suffer because of their sins, He continued to direct their steps toward the land of promise.
We read the story of David and discover that God continues to keep His word even when the recipient makes colossal failures. God had made David a promise that he and his seed would forever sit upon the throne of Israel. David started well. He killed Goliath and delivered Israel. When Saul threatened his life and he was hiding in caves, he never lifted his hand to take Saul’s life. He was anointed by Samuel to be king but never pushed the issue. Finally when Saul died and he was given the throne, he ruled well, led the armies to victory over Israel’s enemies and expanded the kingdom. If we stopped the story here we might surmise that David earned the right to the promise. But unfortunately the tide turned and David suffers a great fall. Staying home from battle, he sees Bathsheba and invites her to the palace. Never mind that she is married and her husband is in the battle David should have led. When she becomes pregnant, she and David tries cover it up but every strategy fails. Finally in desperation, David plots to have her husband killed. After he dies, David takes the grieving widow into the palace and it looks like everything has been covered up. But not in the eyes of God who calls David out. It would have been easy for God to have chose another for the throne of Israel, but He kept His promise. Solomon, David and Bathsheba’s son would inherit the throne. And the final promise of that throne will find Christ, the defendant of David, sitting on it forever and ever.
In almost every story in the Bible, we find that God never fails in His promises even when humans fail with theirs. And we can believe that God’s track record of keeping His promises and never taking back His word applies to us today.
We can find hope in that very fact. In these dark days of trouble and distress, when hope is almost gone, we can turn to a faithful God who is always dependable. You may wonder if God will still keep His promise to you. After all you haven’t been perfect and you have a record of failures. The answer is yes He will. Every prodigal child who runs home will find forgiveness, grace, mercy, and acceptance. They will discover a Heavenly Father who will open up heaven’s treasure house and lavishly pour out blessings on them. Oh, not because they deserve it or in some way qualify themselves to receive it, but for no other reason than He is the God who keeps His promises and never takes back what He has given. You can count on that.
That’s why we don’t fear. That’s why we aren’t anxious. That’s why we believe. That’s why we have hope.
Dr. John Thompson