“Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
Not one word
The Lord is not loose with His tongue like we are. Every word He says, He means. Every thing He promises, He will carry out. He is trustworthy. He is reliable. He is faithful.
- Exodus 34:6; “The LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness….”
- Deuteronomy 32:3-4; “I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”
- Psalm 36:5; “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”
- Psalms 40:11; “As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!”
- Psalms 57:9-11; “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!”
- 2 Corinthians 1:18-20; “As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
All the good promises that the Lord had made…all came to pass
God’s faithfulness to Israel serves as an assurance of His faithfulness to us. According to Romans chapter 11, we have been grafted into the olive tree of Israel and stand by faith. Furthermore, according to the book of Galatians, we are sons of Abraham by faith. We are the circumcision–Israel–who worship by the Spirit of God, glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in our flesh. As surely as God was (and is) faithful to Israel, He is faithful to the church.
The promises He has made to us will be kept.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
Sanctification: practical righteousness here on this earth. Blamelessness at His coming: an eternal righteous standing before God. He who calls us is faithful, He will surely do it.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3; “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
- Philippians 1:6; “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge–even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In everything, God is faithful. Faithful to return for us, faithful to give us eternal life, faithful to make us righteous, faithful to guard us against the evil one. He is faithful to sustain us, faithful to present us to Himself without spot or blemish. And since He is faithful, let us now, with confidence, draw near to Him with a true heart in full assurance of faith, through the body and blood of Christ.
- Hebrews 10:19-23; “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places [God’s presence] by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
“You shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day.”
Webster’s 1828 dictionary of American English defines cling as “To adhere closely; to stick to; to hold fast upon, especially by winding round or embracing; as, the tendril of a vine clings to its support. To adhere closely and firmly, in interest or affection; as, men of a party cling to their leader.” Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions defines the Hebrew word here translated as cling as “to cling, stick, stay close, cleave, keep close, stick to, stick with, follow closely, join to, overtake, catch.”
Clinging to the Lord is clinging to His word. It’s holding fast to the promise He has given us of eternal life. It’s believing Him. It’s regarding Him as faithful. It’s abiding in His love. It’s continuing with confidence in the gospel He has preached to us through Jesus Christ. It’s hanging on the certainty of forgiveness, righteousness, justification, salvation, eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
- Psalms 119:31; “I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!”
- Luke 8:15; “As for [the seed that fell] in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
- Hebrews 3:5-12; “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.” As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”‘ Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”
- Hebrews 4:14-16; “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
- Hebrews 6:17-20; “When God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
- Hebrews 10:19-23; “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.”
On those who fear him
Verse 13 of this same chapter says the Lord sees everyone. He knows everything. He is aware of all circumstances. In Matthew’s gospel were even told He blesses both the evil and the good alike.
But for those who fear him, those who hope in his steadfast love, they can trust in the certainty of the promise: he will deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Deliver their soul from death
It’s not that those who trust the Lord will never physically die. However, we have the eternal hope of life after death. Our soul shall never die.
- John 11:25-26; “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'”
- John 5:24; “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
- 1 Peter 1:3-6; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
And keep them alive in famine
We rejoice in God and our hope of eternity, though now for a little while, if necessary, we have been grieved by various trials. As the hymn writer sang, “Whatever my lot, though hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul!” We don’t have a promise of never going through famine, but of being protected in it. We don’t have a promise to never endure any hardship, we have the assurance that the Lord will always be with us in them.
Just ask Job.
- Job 1:21; “He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'”
- Job 13:15; “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”
Just ask Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
- Daniel 3:17-18; “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. When we go through times of trial on this earth, we can rejoice that the Lord has delivered our soul from death and that He promises to sustain us in difficult times. Whatever ill this life can throw at us, we know God is with us.
- Romans 8:35-39; “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.”
The people were hanging on his words
The words of Jesus were unique. When officers were sent by the Jews to arrest Him, they returned empty handed saying, “No one ever spoke like this man!” In Luke 4, after He stood in the synagogue to read the scriptures, it says, “All spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth.”
Jesus’ words were the very word of God. His words were truth, they were compassionate, they were merciful, they were perfect.
Hang on to His words. Cling to His promises. Hold fast to what He has written down for us. Abide in the truth of His unconditional love. Adhere to the promises of the eternal life He has promised through faith in Him.
- John 8:31-32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”
- 1 John 2:24 “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
- Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.”
Truly, abiding in His words, clinging to His promises, is in fact holding fast to Him.
- John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
- John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
- 1 John 2:28 “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”
- Jude 1:20-21 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”
- Colossians 2:6-9 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
“These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the LORD, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.”
They finished dividing the land
Hundreds of years have passed since God made His promises to Abraham. We get the privilege of reading this testimony of God’s faithfulness as it unfolds. Too bad Abraham didn’t get to read what we are reading! Having the promise of an inheritance in Canaan and of an offspring as numerous as the dust of the earth, he believed God without receiving the outcome. He “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar;” Hebrews 11:13.
- Romans 4:18-21 “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
Abraham looked forward to that which was unseen. His faith, we’re told, was reckoned to His account as righteousness. The Lord considered Abraham to be a righteous man because he took God at His word and trusted Him as able to do that which He promised.
We have received promises like Abraham did. With some of the promises we even have their fulfillments written down for us in the book of Revelation. Having witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness to Abraham, and having every reason to believe He is both faithful and able to carry out His promises to us, let us also grow strong in faith.
We have the promise of Jesus’ continual guidance and presence on this earth
- Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'”
- Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Psalms 48:14 “This is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”
- Matthew 28:20b “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We have the promise of Jesus’ return
- John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
We have the promise of Jesus’ kingdom
- Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
- Hebrews 12:28 “Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
- James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
- 1Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We have the promise of being brought into Jesus’ presence for all eternity
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
- Revelation 21:3-5 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”
- Revelation 21:22-23 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
- Revelation 22:3-6 “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true.'”
I have only mentioned a fraction of His promises and a fraction of the verses concerning the fraction of promises I mentioned! How overwhelming does the Lord need to convince us before we believe in Him wholeheartedly?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.”
God desires that we stay near to Him without being forced. He promises to teach, counsel, and guide us; He promises to watch over us and instruct us. As our part, He asks that we be willing. He asks that we be inclined to Him. He asks that we not be like stubborn beasts that have to be pushed and pulled, but rather like trusting sheep who follow their Shepherd unreservedly.
We all were once like sheep who had gone astray. We all can relate to the words the hymn writer sang, “Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.” But when we first came to God in faith, He gave us a new heart. Ezekiel tells us He transplanted our heart of stone with one of flesh. We have a new nature and the Holy Spirit residing within us. We reciprocate God’s desire for fellowship with us. We have a soft heart toward Him and a willingness to be lead.
- James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Since we have a new heart, let us pursue an enthusiasm for walking near to the Lord. God wants to foster within us a heart that is submissive to Him without compulsion. He wants us to cheerfully, willingly love, follow,, and live for Him.
In light of all He’s done for us, this should be easy; we just need to be reminded from time to time.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
- Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”
- Romans 14:7-9 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”
We are not our own. We have been purchased with Christ’s blood. He died for us so that we might live with Him. He wants us near to Him, following Him, listening to Him, obeying Him with a willing heart. Furthermore, the very God who desires these things of us has given us the means. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” Paul said in Galatians chapter 2. Christ lives in us, His Holy Spirit lives in us, to give us not only the desire, but the ability to do that which is pleasing to Him.
“‘Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'”
Receive the kingdom of God
Receiving the kingdom of God is a matter of faith. In the same way a child unreservedly, without prejudice, without pride, ambition, and vanity (John Gill) receives what is promised to him, so ought those who desire eternity receive the kingdom. Jesus promised, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom;” Luke 12:32. As a child resting in the secure care of his parents are those who receive the promise of God’s kingdom.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the absolute assurance of an expectation, the conviction concerning something unseen. Faith is the response of one who receives a promise and believes it, trusting in the character of the one who made he promise. Like a child unreservedly trusting in her parents, we receive God’s kingdom.
- 1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:18 “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know [have assurance] that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
What must I do
I doubt it is a coincidence that the ruler’s question is so closely recorded after Jesus’ words about child-like faith. Jesus just finished saying, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” The ruler subsequently asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” It’s just like us adults to be thick-headed and clueless.
Jesus said in the negative tense, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” So, we can obviously accurately assume the positive form is true: “Whoever does receive the kingdom of God like a child shall enter it.”
What must I do to inherit eternal life? What must I do to live forever in God’s kingdom? You must receive Him–the King–in the same simplistic dependency as a child.
By receiving Jesus Christ, you receive life and are made to be fit for heaven.
- John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
- John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
- John 6:40 “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
There’s nothing you can do but believe
The ruler addressed Jesus as good when he inquired about the kingdom. Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” He then proceeded to tell him that the way to inherit eternal life was through absolute perfection. But no one is good. No one but God. So, in essence, what Jesus was saying was, “There is nothing you can do; only God can.”
Luke 18:27; “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
It is impossible for man to maintain the required perfection to enter heaven. “Then who can be saved?” (18:26). Anyone who believes in the Lord–anyone who receives Christ and His kingdom through faith.
- Galatians 2:16 “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law [by maintaining a self attained righteousness] but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
- Romans 3:21-25 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”
No one but God is good. If you receive Him, you will be given His righteousness and made fit for the kingdom and an heir of eternal life.
What must you do? Believe.