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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Promises!

Promises! They’re not always easy to keep. I suspect that each of us has been let down by someone who made a promise to us. Perhaps we have even let down others to whom we have made a promise!

The Bible portrays a God Who always keeps His promises. In the Old Testament (the Jewish Scriptures), we read that He promised a man named Abraham that, although old and childless, he would be the father of a great nation. That promise was kept – through Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve tribes of Israel.

A young man named Solomon became king. In a dream, God asked him to name whatever he wanted. He asked for understanding and wisdom to rule Israel well. God was pleased with that response (I wonder how pleased He would be with the answers that you and I might give?!). He gave Solomon wisdom – and promised that He would give the young king all the things that he might have been expected to ask for, as well. And God kept His promise. The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s wisdom, and wealth, and travelled a long distance to visit him. Her verdict is recorded for us: “... she said to the king, "The report was true which I heard in my own land of your affairs and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me; your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report which I heard.” (I Kings 10:6-7).

By Sunday, millions of people around the world will have celebrated Easter – arguably the most important festival in the Christian calendar. They will have remembered Good Friday (“good” because, according to the Christian Gospel, Jesus of Nazareth, known to His followers as the Christ, was paying the price for all of our breaking of God’s commandments) and Easter Day.

And on that very first Easter Day, some women went to the tomb to complete the task of embalming the body with spices. To their utter astonishment, there was no body to be found! What they did discover was an angelic being who told them: “He is not here; for He has risen, as He said.” (Matt 28:6). “He has risen – as He promised”! Once again, God had kept His promise.

It is my conviction that God still keeps His promises. Many will be aware of that best-known of New Testament verses – John 3:16. But John continues: “Whoever trusts in Him is not condemned; whoever does not trust is condemned already, because they have not trusted in the Name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18). And I believe that God keeps both of those promises!

Easter is not just an excuse for hot-cross-buns, and chocolate eggs. It’s the anniversary of what Christians believe was the greatest victory in all of history – when God, in Jesus, broke the devil’s claim on you and me, enabling us to be at one with Him, and to have His life within us – a heart transplant, with no fear of rejection!

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