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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Word of the Month - Attributes of God: FAITHFUL

 

Attribute n. - a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

Psalms 36:5  Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

I struggled last month remembering the word, but a thought came to mind.  The picture on my calendar had some blank space, so I wrote “TRUSTWORTHY” there.  I’ll do the same this month’s word.  Maybe this idea will help you too. :-)  Otherwise, you may go to this link where you can save the photo to print, or order a copy from Smugmug.com (I won’t receive anything from that as they are being sold at cost.)  Please let me know if this doesn’t work.

As you may remember from last month, I am trying this year to think of a different attribute of God each month.  This month’s word is “Faithful”.

This attribute brings a lot to mind.  We are so unfaithful to the Lord so many times.  I’ve struggled with this myself even lately.  Also, for over a week now I’ve had a number of nagging disappoints.  Both life and people can be so disappointing, and much of that comes from the fact that we can’t count on either one to be just what we’d like it to be or what they should be.  Then too, there are the bigger changes and challenges in life – long term illness, moves, loss of work, conflict with people, death, calamity, persecution, and on and on.  When I think about it in relation to the faithfulness of God I’m so deeply impressed with how very much we NEED a faithful God!

2 Thessalonians 3:3  But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

I also can’t help thinking about how unfaithful the gods of many other religions are – often they are portrayed as whimsical, fluky and sometimes even malicious to their followers.  This ought to be another evidence that the God of the Bible is the one true God!  As weak, unfaithful humans we need a God who is absolutely faithful to depend upon for our eternal salvation!  Nothing less with do.

1 Corinthians 1:9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 we read,  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

There’s so much there that I won’t be able to touch on it all right now.  But note especially that God is faithful in not allowing us more temptation than we can bear.  He does this through the way of escape that He is faithful to provide.  I don’t know of any heathen god that has that image, and even some people who claim to believe the God of the Bible don’t believe His faithfulness is as great as He says it is.  Now, who are we going to believe?  Him, or mankind (including ourselves)?  Romans 3:4  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.  I love what the Holy Spirit put in verse 14 for us.  First we hear of this amazing power of God to help us escape temptation and to limit temptation because He is FAITHFUL, then we’re promptly told to flee idolatry!  Do you realize that when we deny God’s faithfulness to us, when we claim He can’t keep us saved or that we’ve been tempted above what we were able and He wasn’t faithful, we are in essence committing idolatry?  We are setting ourselves, or some other entity, up as being more powerful and mighty than God Himself.  That should give us pause to consider, shouldn’t it?

Regarding suffering, the Holy Spirit tells us through Peter, 1 Peter 4:19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Suffering.  That is something that makes one recoil inwardly just to think about, isn’t it?  It is never neat and tidy nor is it what we imagine it will be.  It is usually much worse in areas we didn’t anticipate and easier in areas where we expected worse.  It is always painful whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental.  Usually it is all of these things at various times.  And yet, what did Peter say?  That we should commit the keeping of our souls (not our bodies, Matt. 10:28) to God in well doing (not in suffering for our faults as the context says).  Why?  Because He is a faithful Creator!  I think this best explains that: Psalms 103:13-14  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

That is also a great promise when thinking about the trials of life.  The Lord is faithful in so many ways.  God’s faithfulness is as good when we are old as it is when we are young.  It is the same in hard times and in good, in sorrow and in joy, in peace and in conflict, in health and in illness.  It is enough for the great trials and for the little disappointments.  And, as we noted about His goodness before, He is faithful even when we are not!  His faithfulness is not dependent upon ours, even though He wants us to be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).  2 Timothy 2:13  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

As it is written …without faith it is impossible to please him…, Hebrews 11:6.  We can’t be saved without faith.  But, in “the body of this death” (Romans 7:24) it is virtually impossible for us to be faithful to God on the same level that He is faithful to us.  If we could be that faithful in and of ourselves we wouldn’t need a Savior, now would we?

Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ we read in Revelation 19:11,  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

That is a wonderful name, isn’t it?  Faithful and True.  Oh, what a comfort and consolation in a world that is literally plagued with unfaithfulness and lies!  Our wonderful Lord and Savior is Faithful and He is True.  Of all the places that we NEED Faithfulness and Truth it is in the Lord!  Praise God that He is.

Hebrews 2:17  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Jesus Christ is a merciful and faithful high priest.  There is a double-sided reason here it seems to me.  It seems that one thing you might take from that verse is that He is merciful because He knows what it means to suffer in a human body, and He is faithful because He is God and He was faithful to His Father in all that He did – in things pertaining to God.  Regardless of how you take that, it is clear that He is a faithful high priest!

Finally, we should not be ashamed to declare His faithfulness.

Psalms 89:1  I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Psalms 40:10  I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

2 comments:

  1. This is another good one to meditate on and keep fresh in our minds - thank you, Mary. Things can go awfully "wrong" in this world (by our estimation), and at those times it is so easy to dwell on our sorrows (and feel sorry for ourselves!) and forget that He is just as faithful in the tough times as He is in the good times of showers of blessings. In fact, if we could only see it/look for it/notice the truth of it, He is still showering us with blessings even during the tough times because He is faithful and without Him it would be even worse.

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    1. You're welcome, Clara, and thanks for the encouragement. I agree with you so much on what you said. If we looked more diligently for His faithfulness how much more we would see it. And, since His faithfulness is inexhaustible, we can never see all there is of it this side of heaven!

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