GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN SPITE OF ALL ODDS
"But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze'" (Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV).
There is a Yoruba adage: "Bi alagbede ba n lu irin ni oju kan, o ni ohun ti alagbede fe mu jade nibe ni." Literally: "When a blacksmith is hitting the same spot on a piece of iron, he wants to bring something out of it." This will be the third message in three weeks that the Lord would lead me to talk about His faithfulness. The first message was about the futility in the promises of man compared to the faithfulness in the promises of God. The second message, based on a popular hymn - "GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS" - composed by Thomas O. Chisholm, reemphasised magnitude of the faithfulness of God to His people. This message will focus more on the faithfulness of God to His people especially in difficult time.
It is evident that many people are experiencing difficult time every day. Many of such people may be inclined to presuppose that God is not faithful to them. This has made some people to even doubt the existence and/or the power of God. However, one's disposition and focus will guide one in this matter. If one focuses on the problem, the problem will seem to be bigger than God, but, if in spite of one's problem, one focuses on God, one will discover that God is far above the prevailing problem.
This passage, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV), is one of the most popular passages of the Bible when one is discussing about the faithfulness of God. However, it is interesting to note that it is found in a lamentation of a prophet who was agonizing for the sins of the people of Judah and the eventual calamity that befell them. Here was a prophet that was rejected by his own people because he dared to declare the words of God to them. He wrote the book of Lamentations in despair of this situation. Nevertheless, because he focused on God, he turned from contemplating his misery to remembering God's mercy. In spite of his pain and sorrow, he recollected the faithfulness of the Lord, and this gave him hope (Lamentations 3:19-21). His right focus made him to realize that the Lord is good to those that focus on Him, and therefore, he advised that it is good to wait patiently and silently for the Lord to work and accomplish His will in His time (verves 25-28).
The psalmist in that popular psalm said, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you [that is, God] are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4 NIV). He went further to declare the faithfulness of God in providing for, and elevating him even in the presence of enemies, and he knew that the faithfulness would be his portion forever (Psalm 23:5-6). Job, in spite of his sufferings, said, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him..." (Job 13:15 NIV). There are many other Bible passages that allude to God's faithfulness in spite of all odds (see Deuteronomy 31:6-8; Psalm 91:15; Isaiah 8:9-10; 41:10, 14; 43:1-2; Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:9-10; Romans 8:28-39; 2 Corinthians 12:9-12; Ephesians 3:20-21; Hebrews 13:5).
Are you still doubting about God's faithfulness over your life? It may be that you are focusing more on your circumstances. Focus more on God and you will know that surely He is faithful in spite of all odds.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).