Brian Bell mediates on the above …
Perhaps you too have said something like that…’There must be something better…’ when you found yourself in a difficult situation. Particularly one you didn’t understand or in which you were struggling to cope.
Psalm 118: 8 offer us encouragement regarding something better: ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.’ ‘Better’ … that’s the Hebrew word tobe meaning ‘good, cheerful, well-favoured.’
Here’s three encouraging thoughts on God’s promises based on this scripture for all who trust – ‘have confidence in’ – the Lord.
We cannot live in the world without at least a measure of confidence in other people – for example, a doctor, family members, close friends, work colleagues and even given today’s climate politicians!
Despite the generosity and sincerity of other people and their promises, we can sometimes be disappointed or feel let down when they are not kept – even if such occasions are not deliberate or intentional.
I have to put my own hand up and say that I can think of times when I have not always lived up to my promises – perhaps you may feel the same way. And we may all know people who have been hurt or let down for different reasons. Perhaps, for example, because marital promises were not kept.
The key point this verse makes is that God’s promises are not like ours – Psalm 146: 6 declares that ‘He is the one who keeps every promise.’
Hebrews 8:6 echoes this truth about his Son, Jesus: ‘He is the one who guarantees for us a better covenant with God based on better promises.’
Here are two specific promises God keeps:
(1) He will never turn away those that come to him in faith – acknowledging their sinful condition, repenting and wanting to live for him.
(2) He will never leave us or forsake those who love him and seek to live for him.
We may sometimes struggle with our promises or in the hope others will keep theirs – but we have a God whose promises are better.
Hebrews 12:24 (NLT) says of those who have accepted Christ as Saviour: ‘You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Abel.’
What does this mean?
Unfortunately in my country, Northern Ireland, we have known much bloodshed over many years, in many cases that of innocent people and we have heard cries for justice – if not for vengeance.
When we remember the many conflicts around our world (past and present) we have heard about those who shed their blood to maintain liberty and freedom – many wonder if the blood shed has been in vain.
The blood Jesus shed on Calvary fell to the ground just like Abel’s (Gen.4:10) – God is not seeking vengeance – he is graciously calling men and women to forgiveness. In Jesus death God’s justice on my sin (and yours) was perfectly paid in full – it offers better security in a salvation which I cannot earn by my self-righteousness, prayers, or good works.
It is good to strive for better things. Much as we criticise our government, they are striving to build a better economic future. If you have children or grand-children then I am sure you will encourage them to do and give their very best. Would you like to look forward to a future which did not hold any sickness, weakness or pain or be dependent on how much you own or earn?
However the future may be for each of us from a material, financial or physical aspect and however we may benefit from improvements in each of these areas, they will not last for any longer than life itself.
God is not confined to time – he dwells in eternity. The future from God’s view is not limited to the life of a parliament, or a financial investment, or any other timescale by which men and women may plan – God sees forever.
• In Hebrews 10:34 the writer, speaking to the believers who had known terrible persecution, says: ‘You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity.’
• In Hebrews 11:16, speaking about Abraham and those who lived by faith, the writer says: ‘They were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland … for he has prepared a heavenly city for them.’
• John, in Revelation 21:4, writes: ‘He will remove all of their sorrows and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain for the old world and its evils are gone forever.’
This is a promise which everyone who trusts in the Lord Jesus by faith alone will realise a better future – it is a promise waiting to be fulfilled.
Ezekiel 3:10 (NLT) encourages: ‘Let all my words sink deep into your own heart first, listen to them carefully for yourself.’ Verse 11 then requires of us that we go share God’s good words (and promises) with those in need.
Moving into this new year of 2016 with fresh hope, we can believe for better things – based on the unfailing word of God!
Let’s go for it – and inspire others with these godly truths. It was CS Lewis who said, ‘There are far better things ahead…’
Brian Bell is a member of Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland and is grateful for the privilege and opportunity he has been given to serve the Lord. He also works as a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. Link: firstname.lastname@example.org