Creed: God Keeps His Word
- Monday, November 29, 2004
Editor's Note: "Creed" is an ongoing article series that discusses the core beliefs of Christianity as expressed in the Apostle's and Nicene creeds. Links to the other installments are listed at the end of this article.
When it comes to parents, I am incredibly blessed. I'm not saying my parents are perfect. I'm saying I'm blessed. In spite of their imperfections there was one thing - one very real thing - I knew I could always count on when it came to my relationship with them. Out of their love for me (and my brother), they were "keepers of their word." Whatever they said they would do, they did.
In turn, I learned early on the type of parent I wanted to be. In fact, the type of person I wanted to be: a keeper of my word. If I tell you I will do something, by golly, I'm going to do it, come what may.
When my children were young, I learned rather quickly that to say "we will do this..." or "we will do that..." meant "I promise." There was something about the word "will" that made them believe it was so. Something about the word "will" coming out of my mouth, more specifically.
For example, one late afternoon I said, "Tomorrow we will go to the park and have a picnic and play." I remember the delight of my girls. "Yeah! Tomorrow! The park! A picnic!"
And then, the following day - the tomorrow - the sky poured liquid sunshine! It rained so hard; I swear I think I saw Noah building an ark! That's how hard it rained.
"I thought we were going to the park," one of the girls said.
"It's raining," I pointed out.
"But you promised...."
And so I learned: don't say you'll do something...anything...unless you absolutely mean it and you know that you know that you know nothing will keep it from happening.
God the Father, Keeper of His Word
We've talked about a few of the incidences of God being referred to as "Father" within the Old Testament. We've studied the references of God as "Father" in the New Testament. Now, I want to talk about the assurances we have in God the Father as the "keeper of His word," by looking at but three of the many with whom He made covenant.
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. (Genesis 15:1)
When the Lord came to Abraham, then known as Abram, in a vision, it was the beginning of the covenant He would make between the two of them. But, before we get to that, look at how God identified Himself.
"I am your shield...your very great reward."
The reference of God as a shield over individuals or group of people is seen several times within the Bible.
Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. (Deuteronomy 33:29)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84:11)
The shield, a military device, was used as a defensive weapon. The shield blocked whatever might come hurling toward a soldier. God is saying that He is Abram's (our) protector. Whatever comes against us must get past Him first...and nothing gets past Him!
God also reminded Abram that He was Abram's "reward." Not just any reward, but great reward.
The Hebrew word used here for "reward" is "Sakar," and denotes something earned...such as pay for a job. For whatever Abram had done up until this time, God was pleased and willing to then make a covenant pact between the two of them. How exciting this must have been for Abram!
Do you recall the book Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz? Well, exactly! Abram might have just as easily written a book entitled, Just Give Me Yahweh!
Okay, let's get to the covenant. God has established with Abram who He is and now He is ready to talk business.
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars-if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (Genesis 15:2-5)
Did God keep that promise? You bet. Sure, it took awhile...years, in fact. Years and years and even a little slip up (okay, a big slip up) between Abram, his wife Sarai, and her maidservant Hagar.
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. (Genesis 16:1-4)
Is this what God had meant to happen? No. But, God is a god of His word...whether Abram is able to wait patiently or not.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.... God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." (Genesis 17: 1-7, 15,16)
Indeed, Sarah did have a son. And Abraham named him Isaac.
Isaac was but the beginning of the kept promise between God and Abraham.
Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. [Which means "laughter"]. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:19)
Notice one very important word: will. Sarah will...I will. God is saying to Abraham, "I am a keeper of my promises."
Also, notice that God is establishing a promise within the promise. "I will establish my covenant with him..."
The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." So Isaac stayed in Gerar. (Genesis 26: 2-6)
Isaac, already married to the beautiful Rebekah (see Genesis 24), is now given the same promise as that which was given to his father. That promise would begin when Rebekah gave birth to twins, two sons: Esau and Jacob.
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."
When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. (Genesis 25: 21-26)
The covenant continues....
Next Time: God's Covenant with Jacob, God the Father Almighty
Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson is a recent graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary. Her work includes Intimate Moments with God and Intimate Encounters with God (Cook). She is the author of Shadow of Dreams, Summon the Shadows and Shadow of Light. (Barbour Fiction) She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at
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