This morning when I went outside to leave for church, it smelled like rain! It looked like it might rain…something we desperately need. And as I drove, there were about 37 drops of rain. That was it. But what lasted way longer than the raindrops was the rainbow in the sky. It wasn’t very bright but there it was, a full half circle of color. And I was reminded yet again that God has made promises to us. That rainbow in the sky reminds us that God will never again bring a flood of total destruction upon this earth. But in my humanness, I said out loud, yes but there isn’t a promise about total fire or a worldwide pandemic. Nothing about fires, pandemics and hurricanes all happening at once.
But the Bible is full of promises God has made. From Genesis to Revelation God makes promises. He made promises to some of the ‘major players’ and others to regular folks like you and me. And the promises God made are sworn by the highest authority. When we swear an oath or promise we often swear using God’s name. But there is no higher power than God, so He swears on Himself. We find this in Hebrews 6:13. “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself.”
Over and over in the Old Testament, and then the New, we see God making promises, or covenants, with His people. They often ended with these words. I will be your God and you will be my people. In Joshua 1:9 God promises He will be with His people wherever they go. In Isaiah 40:31 God promises that those who wait for Him will have renewed strength. They will not get tired but will have strength to run. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God has plans for us and those plans involve a future and hope.
We read in the gospel of John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” This promise is all about salvation. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He will give us the power to become a child of God. The best part…we do not and cannot work for our own salvation. It is a gift when we choose to believe in Him. And this from James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God is not one thing today and another tomorrow. He is constant. He is God who is and who was and who will come again, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
In both Deuteronomy 31:8 and Matthew 28:20 God promises that He will be with us always. He will be with us through the fires. He will be with us through the hurricanes. He will be with us amid the pandemic and racial unrest and the election. He will walk with us every step of our lives. He has promised us daily bread, living water and a way back to the Father. He has promised us forgiveness from sin, His love and a place for all eternity. Jesus has promised us rest from our burdens, light for our way and the example of what giving and serving looks like. In Him we have the promise of peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit and healing.
Everything we might need has been promised to us by God. Perhaps not everything we might want but everything we need. In 1887 a hymn was written by two men named Anthony J Showalter and Elisha Hoffman. It is based on the words of Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Some of you have sung the hymn. It is called ‘Leaning on the Everlasting Arms’. The song has been used in a handful of movies, several TV shows and a couple of commercials. The song has been recorded by many artists. But it is best sung in a place of worship with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a reminder that we lean on Jesus as well as one another. Here are some of the words. What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms.
There is much up in the air in this world right now. Information changes at breakneck speed. But we have one constant, one place where we will find shelter from the troubles of the day, one place that will always welcome us. And that is in our Lord and Savior. We can lean on Him. We can count on His promises. We will never be turned away. He promised.
In His grip
Pastor Matt W