Friday, 2 May 2014

No Promise But Jesus

The Bible is full of promises. Promises we think we can cut out and use like coupons, handing them up to God like we can just exchange them for all that will fill our deep, longing hearts. And oh, our confusion when we find it doesn't work that way! 

God keeps his promises. Without doubt, he is faithful. But he will not be conjured. He doesn't come when we ring the right bell. His time and his ways are inscrutable; past finding out. We cannot know how or when he will work, and in a world of time, that fact in essence renders a whole Bible full of promises useless as coupons. 

Martha of Bethany learned this. She had sent Jesus word: "Lord, the one you love is sick." When Jesus came to her, too late to save her brother from death, she reminded him of what he could have done.  She knew - not just believed - that he had the power to save Lazarus from dying. 
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
 There was no confession like this one in all Jesus' days on earth. Martha, the one Jesus rebuked - not sweet, worshipping Mary - knew Jesus as the Son of God and said it plainly. She believed that He was able to not only cure Lazarus' sickness, but even to raise him from the dead. Her faith was straightforward and practical. She was sure of what Jesus could do, yet she had learned not to presume, not to try to guess what he would do.

There is only one promise for us, just as there was for Martha, and that is who God is: “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

Let us hold fast to him, the resurrection and the life. Let us fling ourselves wholesale on him, and risk all that we are and hope for on who he is, that One Who Cannot Lie. What he has for us must be better than we would choose for ourselves. It must.
If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
where then is my hope—
who can see any hope for me?
Will it go down to the gates of death?
Will we descend together into the dust?” (Job 17:13-16)
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8)
"No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame..." (Psalm 25:3)
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:5)

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