As you have read and memorized various passages in the Bible, what sections have seemed the most difficult to believe?
Prophecy? Narrative portions? Doctrinal passages? God’s promises?
Many Christians have trouble believing the promises of God. Oh, they sound nice, and sometimes they even cheer us up. But we wonder: Are they really true? Subconsciously, at least, we question whether or not God keeps His promises.
In the Old Testament we read, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled” (Joshua 21:45; compare 23:14–15). Solomon later declared, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56). None of God’s promises has ever failed!
God has gone on record many times throughout His authoritative Word and has given us—His pilgrims passing through this world—“very great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).
Some of His promises were made specifically to an individual (Joshua 14:9), a group (Deuteronomy 15:18), or a nation (Haggai 1:13). We must be careful not to haphazardly claim promises intended for someone else!
Many Old Testament promises, thankfully, are repeated in the New Testament and are ours to claim today. God promised Joshua, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). In Hebrews 13:5 God transfers that promise to us as Christians.
Charles Spurgeon stated, “Do not treat God’s promises as if they were curiosities for a museum; but believe them and use them.” We appropriate God’s promises by learning them through reading and memorization, by seeing our need for them through meditative prayer, and by giving God time to work them out in our daily experience.
Any of God’s promises that we can claim in Jesus’ name are guaranteed and will be performed for us by God for His glory (John 14:13–14; 2 corinthians 1:20). What is the need of your heart today? The Lord has promised to meet that need! Simply take Him at His Word.
Claiming God’s Promises When We Hurt
But what about in times of crisis? We often remember Romans 8:28 in such times: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” That promise is a solid anchor when the storms of life beat heavily against us.
The apostle Paul claimed that very promise many times before he ever penned his famous letter to the Romans. As one of God’s pilgrims passing through this world, he knew what it was to suffer hardship, persecution, indifference, betrayal, loneliness, stonings, beatings, shipwreck, nakedness, destitution, sleeplessness, and immense pressure.
What kept Paul from going under? I believe it was his utter confidence in the God who promises to sustain us. At the end of his life he could say, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
In the Old Testament we read, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3). That promise applies to us even today, as the New Testament repeatedly affirms.
Do you face a difficult situation, my friend? God has not allowed this challenge to come into your life to discourage or defeat you. Every trial you and I face is an opportunity for God to demonstrate that He is the One we can always depend upon, no matter what.
King Hezekiah saw God demonstrate His care for him in a dramatic way. Read Isaiah 37 and record the steps King Hezekiah took when faced with a serious problem.
- Hezekiah acknowledged that he had a problem (37:1).
- He sought to know what God’s Word said about his problem (37:2–7).
- He didn’t allow anything to distort his perspective (37:8–13).
- He prayed to God—first worshiping Him, then presenting his request, and finally asking that God would be glorified (37:14–20).
Use these same steps when you face a difficulty or trial. Remember, it is in the hard places that we get to know Him better.