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Before we look at the resolutions that God has made concerning all of us, I began by thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, and then I thought about what it meant and where it all came from.
It seems that the word, “resolution” had its origin back in the late 14th century. It was the process of reducing things into simpler forms, or to loosen, and as it would seem, it came from the verb “ to resolve.” In the mid 1500’s it meaning migrated more to the term resolute and that is the power of holding firm.
Today, while the meaning for the word still has all these elements in its definition, its use at this time of year comes from the late 1700’s. A New Year’s resolution references a specific intention to better oneself.
And so a New Years resolution in essence breaks down those areas in our lives that need work, and that need specific attention on our part to better ourselves in these areas.
It is where we resolve to do something, which means a determination and a firmness of purpose. We become resolute, so to speak, determining to make a positive difference in our lives and in the world around us.
Now, many of our New Years resolutions revolve around getting healthy through exercise, smarter eating habits, and giving up harmful habits and addictions. In fact, some typical New Year’s Resolutions are: eat less and exercise more, spend less and save more, and to stop smoking, drinking, sinning, and lose some weight.
On the spiritual side, besides the “stop sinning” resolution, we resolve to read the Bible daily, pray every day for at least 15 minutes, go to church and/or a Bible study every week, and then there’s the outside chance that we make a resolution to tithe.
Now, there are some less serious resolutions that I’ve run across.
• “I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast.”
• “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least there they know me.”
• “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
Now, outside these rather humorous resolutions, the sad reality of all the good and positive New Year resolutions is that almost 70 percent never last a full 30 days, and by March, 80 percent of people fall back into their old ways and habits. And by the half way point, more than 90 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are no where to be found in a person’s life, only to find them resurrected once again at this time next year.
So if we’re honest about this whole New Year’s resolution thing, what it reveals is just how unrealistic and undisciplined we really are, and that while a new year is upon us, it’s still the same old person we see in the mirror. That’s disheartening.
However, if we’re going to make a resolution, let’s make resolutions that focus more upon our spiritual lives than our physical lives. And if I can be so bold, in that while resolutions that help us get closer to God, like spending more time in the Bible and following what it says, and spending more time in prayer, should always be at the top of the list, can we resolve one more thing, and that is to believe and accept God’s resolutions concerning us, resolutions that never fade or fail, resolutions that were made by God before time even began, and are good until the end of days?
Before we look at some of the more pronounced resolutions of God, it might be good to see the resoluteness and the resolve of God that when He says something, He keeps it. And so we can trust that these resolutions will be carried out in our lives.
“God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV)
In other words, God isn’t like us, He doesn’t lie or change His mind, and once He says He’s going to do something it is as good as done, even though its fulfillment might be some time in the future.
Maybe to look at it like this, that God’s plan for our lives doesn’t always line up with ours, which is what the Lord made clear through the prophet Isaiah.
The Lord said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways … As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)
Notice the last part of our verse in Numbers when he said that whatever God promises, God fulfills. This is what Paul is getting across in his second letter to the Corinthian church.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV)
In its understanding, it says that all the promises made by God for our salvation has been fulfilled and ratified in Jesus Christ. Therefore we can say amen, that is, that this is true. But this also looks at how, because of Jesus Christ, we can trust the promises of God.
So what are His promises to us?
Now, while each of us have been given specific promises, promises that we can most certainly count upon, because God is the one who gave them. But there are also promises God has given to that we an count on as well
1. He Will Always Be There
“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV)
Because God has promised, and remember God always keeps His promises, He promised that He will always be there for us, that He will never leave us or forsake us, that we can have confidence knowing that He’s got our back, and that He will help us in times of trouble.
Just as a side note, in the Hebrew that word “trouble,” means “a tight space.” Have you ever found yourself in a tight spot, or a tight place, where you’re pressed in on every side and your options are limited? If that is the case there is no reason to panic, and that’s because God is there to help you.
After His resurrection and before His accession into heaven, Jesus gives the Great Commission and says these remarkable words, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 29:20 NIV).
The reason He can say that is because He is no longer relegated to being in one place at a time as when He was in His human form. Now, He is everywhere and is with all of us as He sits upon the throne of our lives. But He also promised that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there with them (Matthew 18:20). Therefore, Jesus is with each of us on an individual basis, and He is with us as we meet in this setting of church.
Remember, as God, He doesn’t lie. Therefore, the first resolution of God that we can count upon is that He will always be there for us. We just have to believe and take possession of this wonderful promise.
2. He Will Always Guide Us
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
One of the blessings of having our sins forgiven and being a child of God is that we don’t have to go it on our own. We don’t have to figure out which path in life to take. Instead, the Lord will guide us in the good and right way.
One of the main ways He does this is through His word.
In Psalm 119:105, the Psalmist says that God’s word is a lamp to our feet, and a light onto our path.
Solomon tells us that when we trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and no longer lean upon our own understanding, and submit ourselves to His leading and guidance, then He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As His children, God has a perfect divine plan for our lives, and He will guide our every step on the way to its fulfillment.
And consider how infinitely superior God’s way is to our own. He has at His disposal all the wisdom, data and details of our lives, past, present and future, and with all of His infinite power, why would we even want to try it on our own.
And so, while we make our plans, it is the Lord that directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). And while the way we choose may seem good and right, the ending is the way of death as the Bible declares in Proverbs 14:12.
And so we can have this assurance that as we look to Him, He will always be there guiding us along the good and right way.
3. He Will Give Us A Hope and A Future
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
What is this hope? It is nothing less than Jesus Christ who shed His blood upon the cross and then sprinkled it upon the altar in heaven. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is now our hope, and that this hope of Jesus is an anchor for our soul, and is both sure and steadfast.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus.” (Hebrews 6:19-20a NKJV)
And so God gives us hope, but even more, because of Jesus, those who believe can have a glorious future, which not only is an abundant life right here and now, but an abundant life in heaven in the very presence of the Lord Himself.
Jesus said that He is going before us to get our heavenly dwelling ready, so that when He comes back, we can be in heaven with Him forever (John 14:2-3).
4. He Will Meet Our Needs
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV)
This has always been somewhat tricky for us, because often times our needs become more greed centered than of necessity, and that our needs are not always what we truly need.
The Apostle Paul talked about this saying that physical exercise isn’t as profitable as godliness (1 Timothy 4:8). Therefore, it is our spiritual needs, that is, our relationship with Jesus that is our greatest need of all.
I believe this might be why Jesus tells us to seek God’s kingdom first and foremost. And when we do, God will meet our temporal needs like that of food, clothing, and shelter.
Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
And again I go back to what Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV)
And therefore by faith we can say, “If God said it, I believe it.”
This saying from Tony Evans I think sums up what our faith should be in God and His word.
“Faith is acting like it is so even when it is not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so.” (Tony Evans)
5. He Will Always Lift Us
“The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:4 NKJV)
The Lord will always lift us up when we fall and find ourselves stuck and unable in our own power and ability to get ourselves out.
In our worship today we sang John Wesley’s hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” In that he quotes King David’s second verse of Psalm 40 that says, “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” (Psalm 40:2 NKJV)
Now, miry clay is deep sticky mud that holds fast to anything that has unfortunately found itself in its grasp. Figuratively, it is used of a troublesome or intractable situation.
However, in this Psalm of David, Psalm 40, David has been in this condition for some time as He waited upon the Lord to lift him out.
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1 NIV)
While God is always near and hears our cries, He sometimes allows us to stay in certain conditions because there is something that He is trying to either work into or out of our lives. And by patiently waiting, we are revealing our faith in Him to answer our prayers.
The Apostle James said that the testing of our faith produces patience, and as James goes on to say that this patience will then produce within us God’s perfect work, so that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:3-4).
And so, when we find ourselves stuck, we can have this assurance that Jesus is always there and hears our cries, and as we humbly wait, or as the Psalmist said, bowed down, He will lift us up.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NKJV)
6. He Will Always Love Us
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV)
I love what the Lord says here, that His love for us lasts for all eternity. In other words, there has never been a time where God has stopped loving us.
Often times I will hear someone say that they don’t feel God’s love, or because of something that they did, God has stopped loving them, but this is the furthest thing from the truth. God has never stopped loving us.
But what I find sad is how when God doesn’t meet our expectations in how we think He should love us, then we stop loving Him. But even then, look at what God continues to say, that His lovingkindness will continue to draw us back.
And God’s lovingkindness is seen at the cross, where Jesus died for our sins so that we can have this loving relationship with God for all eternity.
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
And so God shows His love for us through giving His only begotten Son, Jesus, so that we could forever be in this loving relationship, through our faith, that is, through our belief in Him.
7. He Will Always Finish What He Starts
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV)
Remember God doesn’t lie or retract the promises that He gives, and so since His promise is that He will finish what He starts, we can have that same assurance.
I believe this is why the Apostle Paul could say at the end of His life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8a NKJV)
And so today, we can have total assurance that for each and everyone of these promises that God makes, that He is resolved to keep them, and therefore we can be resolute, that is, we can hold firm to each and every one of them. And just as we began by quoting Numbers 23:19, we will now end saying that God is not a man that He should lie, or change his mind. He acts upon what He says, and fulfills His promises.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study