Chapter 4 - Standing on the Promises
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Standing on the promises
- The foundation of our Christian faith is the
absolute trustworthiness of God's promise that He will protect us and keep us
safe, even in the midst of adversity and suffering
- Psalm 12:6 - And the words of the LORD are
flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.
- There is no truth which is more generally
received - than that God is true; but there are few who openly give him credit
for this when they are in adversity.
- The Christian needs to stand on the promises of
God in His Word, despite the circumstances they find themselves in.
promise of God is the foundation of our faith
- Paul, after an enumeration of all possible
adversities (Romans 8:39), glorifies that they can never separate us from the
love of God; and in his prayers, he always begins with the grace of God, from
which all prosperity proceeds.
- Romans 8:35-39 - 35 - - Who shall separate us
from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or
nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face
death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No,
in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither
the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither 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.
- And David - - Psalm 23:4 - Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me ; your rod and your staff, they
comfort me. (The promise here is that God is with us and will comfort
- Faith admits God's truthfulness in all things;
Faith properly begins with the promises of God, on which it stands and on which
it ends. (When you say I have faith in God - you're saying I have faith in the
promises of God)
- Faith seeks in God the promise of undeserved
mercy! Where does this mercy come from - - - - Christ....
- When pain and suffering strike,
our faith is well founded if it is standing on the promises of God. For all of
God's promises have strong confirmation in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20 - For no
matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And
so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.)
- "All the promises of God rest upon Christ
alone as their support...., and it is in Christ alone that they are
- Because of our faith in God's promises thru
Christ - - -we have nothing to fear.....
- When we are standing on the secure foundation of
God's grace in Christ, the light of God's grace can clear away the clouds of
- Psalm 27: 1 - The LORD is my light and my
salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life
of whom shall I be afraid?
- Psalm 43:3 - Send forth your light and your
truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place
where you dwell.
- Light=favor; Truth=promises
Faith in God's promises sometimes falters
- In times of trouble and suffering, faith in the
promises of God is often overshadowed by doubt and overcome by
- David is an example - how often his mind was
far from peace is documented by innumerable complaints:
- Psalm 42:5 - Why are you
downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, my Savior
- Psalm 31:22 - In my alarm I said,
"I am cut off from your sight!" Yet, you
heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.
- Psalm 77:9 - Has God
forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
- David's conclusion -
- Psalm 42:5b - Put your hope in God
- Psalm 31:22b - You hear my cry....
- Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the LORD; be strong and
take heart and wait for the LORD.
- Psalm 116:7 - Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
- Calvin concludes - strangely, among the
commotion, faith sustains the believer's heart -- we see David's
response in 27:14....and the conclusion of Psalm 42:5b and 31:22b - - only the
person who knows the promises of God can make these type of conclusions........
- Calvin comments on Psalm 42:5 -
- Faith often fails in times of suffering from
disease or of some special difficulty, consequently, we are so overcome by fear
that we lack courage and are afraid to enter into the conflict.
- Remember - the Godly are frequently called into
situations requiring subduing the desires of the heart and to contend against
feelings of distrust. As James tells us - - - its a test of our faith....(James
1:2-3 - 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many
kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops
- 2 evils assail our heart - sometimes at the same
time - one is discouragement; the other disquietude ("a state of
uneasiness" leading to grumbling, complaining and worrying)
- The answer is David's answer in 42:5b- Hope in
God - - - 27:14 - Wait for the Lord......why? because the promises of God are
God's promises are solid and sure
- God is the number one promise keeper, and if we
rely on God alone and persevere thru the trials, we will experience the
certainty of his promises.
- Prayer is an evidence of our trust that we
consider all his promises to be stable and sure. (Why would you pray to someone
who couldnt answer the prayer?)
- And faith "lies idle and even dead without
prayer" (an evidence of faith is prayer - - you pray to deepen your
relationship with Christ)
- So, if we have faith - we have prayer.........
David confirms one of th epromises of God - "God hears our
- Psalm 145:18 - The LORD is near to all who call
on him, to all who call on him in truth.
- "All who call on him in
truth"=believers; therefore, God is near to believer's prayers
- If our faith supports us in times of trouble, it
is only because faith is founded on the promises of God; without faith in God's
promises we become distressed and discouraged beyond measure.
- David would have perished one hundred times over
had he not trusted in the promises of God !
must rest on the promise of God
- When David was being pursued by Saul, he penned
Psalm 11 - - - When advised to flee to the mountains and hide, David responded
with Psalm 11:1 - In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me:
"Flee like a bird to your mountain."
- Psalm 11:1 teaches us that no matter how much
the world may hate and persecute us, we must stay steadfast at our post so that
we may not deprive ourselves of a right to lay claim to the promises of
- Another psalmist cried out: (Psalm 119:107 - I
have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.)
- The psalmist here may be at the point of
- Calvin notes that at the beginning of our
trials, we may call upon God with much promptness, yet when the trial increases
in severity, our hearts fail, our confidence fails, and fear sets in. However,
here the psalmist is calling upon God near the point of death......He is still
confident in God to keep his promises....even to the point of death....
- Another example:
- Habakkuk 3:17-18 - Though the fig tree does not
bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the
fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in
the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my
- Habakkuk trusts in the promises of the God of
our salvation. - - the evidence in that trust is that he has joy depsite
- Only the inward joy that faith can bring to us
can overcome all fears, terrors, sorrows and anxieties...(So, trusting in the
promises of God leads to joy....... Consider the promises of eternity... what
joy this should evoke in the believer)
Fulfillment of promises is sometimes deferred
- When we are suffering affliction, we become
agitated and impatient if our prayers for recovery are not answered
- Psalm 62:1 - My soul finds rest in God alone; my
salvation comes from him.
- When God does not immediately answer our prayers
for deliverance from affliction, we tend to look elsewhere for relief.
- Psalm 13:1-2 - How long, O LORD ? Will you
forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I
wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will
my enemy triumph over me?
- The Lord doesn't promise a timetable for his
- When suffering goes on and on and we grow weary
and impatient, read Psalm 37 with its star-promise (v4) "Delight yourself
in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Calvin reminds us, regardless of our lot in
life, if we are satisfied in the enjoyment of God alone, he will bestow upon us
all that we desire....(Psalm 16:5-6 -LORD, you have assigned me my portion and
my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in
pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.)
- In Psalm 37:9, David promises - - For evil men
will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
- But, promises are not always realized this side
of eternity....because it is the will of God that we live as strangers here,
that we don't have easy lives so that they may more desire the everlasting
dwelling place of heaven.
- The flesh is always seeking to build its nest
here for all time, and if we were not tossed here and there and were allowed to
just rest, we would forget heaven and the everlasting inheritance.
- While we may languish in despair, God is non the
less faithful, kind, and good.
- We pray not to provoke your wrath against us,
Lord. We know that the hardness and obstinancy of our flesh is so great that it
is necessary for use to be inflicted in various ways; so, grant that we bear
your chastisement AND under a deep feeling of sorrow, flee to your mercy. May
we, in the meantime, persevere in the hope of your mercy, which you have
promised, and has been exhibited in Christ, so that we may not depend on the
earthly blessings of this perishable life, but relying on your Word, may
proceed in the course of our calling, until we reach our true home, heaven,
through Christ our Lord, Amen.
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