SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
December 21, 2008
Believe it: God Never Fails to Keep His Promises
Key Verse: The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. – Luke 2:20
If you pray very much, you often praise God for his faithfulness. As believers we continually celebrate this shining truth: God is faithful. That is one of the bedrock truths upon which our faith is founded. God keeps his promises. You can count on it.
A trusted friend may betray you. Your landlord may go back on his word. Your employer may close down his business, leaving you without a job and owing you three weeks back pay. The stock market may fail, depriving you of investments you had planned to live on in retirement. Perhaps that is why the Psalmist says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). Ultimately we cannot trust in horses, or in men, but in God alone.
The biblical stories of Jesus’ birth all remind us that God keeps his word. He kept his word to Joseph and to Mary, to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and to the lowly shepherds. Had we been counseling God, we might have suggested that he announce the Messiah’s birth first to the rich and powerful, prominent rulers and kings. They could have used their resources and influence to make Jesus known to the world.
But God surprises everyone by
sending his angels to announce the birth of his Son to the shepherds, common
laborers with no influence and no credentials. Startled and afraid, as surely
we would have been, the shepherds mulled over what they had heard. Then they
decided to hurry into
Mary and Joseph could testify to God’s faithfulness. The shepherds could testify to God’s faithfulness. Through the centuries the saints of God have testified to God’s faithfulness. But the question remains, can you?
The faith is “caught” by others who hear and believe your testimony of God’s faithfulness. Perhaps this is your testimony:
· Burdened by sin and thirsty for forgiveness, I found peace with God by trusting Christ as my Savior. I believed his promise to save me if I trusted him: “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:10).
· Weary of trying to be a disciple in my own strength, I found rest and freedom by going to Jesus. I believed his promise to give me rest: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
· Distressed by defeat and disappointment, I found hope by turning my problems over to the Lord. I believed his promise: “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
· Bewildered by tragedy and heartache, I realized that God never forsakes me and is always working for my good in every situation. I believed his promise: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
· Troubled by having to suffer for my faith in Christ, I found comfort in his promise: “So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you” (1 Peter 4:19).
· Plagued by doubt I believed his promise and he renewed my faith: “Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong right up to the end, and he will keep you free from all blame on the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will surely do this for you, for he always does just what he says, and he is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:6-9).
There it is: all the assurance we need about the faithfulness of our God – “he always does just what he says”! Paul saw it too!
Is this your testimony? If so, it is mine also. Let us follow the example of the shepherds and tell others that God keeps his promises. God is faithful! Believe it! And invite others to believe it!
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