The faithfulness of God
by Sarah Wooten Corinth Missionary Baptist Church.
When you think of the word faithful, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Many people think of a marriage, where one spouse remains faithful to the other. Or perhaps a friend that has stuck with you through thick and thin. But, what do we mean when we say that God is faithful?
Faithfulness in the Bible is closely related to truthfulness. In fact, the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for faithfulness is often translated as “truth.” Therefore, part of what we mean when we say, “God is faithful” is that He is truthful, and He keeps all of His promises. It is utterly impossible for a falsity to exist in God. He cannot lie; everything about Him is trustworthy and true (see Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:2). However, this extends further than God not lying; everything that God says will occur does happen. Consider Joshua 21:45. When the people of Israel finally settled in the promised land after the exodus from Egypt, we read, “Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass,” (ESV). None of God’s words, promises or decrees will ever fail or prove to be false.
But the faithfulness of God includes more than God always keeping His word. When we read about God’s faithfulness in scripture, we find it is often directed at His covenant people. The first time we see the word faithfulness is in Genesis 24. Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. Once the servant sees Rebekah and knows this is the woman who will become Isaac’s wife, the servant worshipfully cries out, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and faithfulness toward my master,” (verse 27, ESV). God had previously promised to make Abraham a great nation (see Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:3-5). By God providing Isaac a wife who will have children and become a great nation, God is being faithful both to His word and to Abraham.
In the Bible, we see that God is faithful to His people, even though they do not deserve it. God entered into a covenant relationship with Israel. He promised them many things, but we’ll consider the promise that God made to David — that David’s heir would sit on the throne eternally (2 Samuel 7). It isn’t long until we see how unfaithful David’s lineage was. David’s son, Solomon, had hundreds of wives and concubines. Those women turned Solomon’s heart away from the Lord, and he turned to idols, doing what was evil in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 11:3-6). The majority of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren aren’t much better. And yet, God never forgot His promise to David. About a thousand years later, a baby was born from the lineage of David, who is that eternal king (see Isaiah 9, Matthew 1, and Matthew 9:27). He is King Jesus (see Hebrews 1:1-4 and Revelation 19:13-16).
God’s faithfulness is a constant source of hope for His people. Throughout the psalms, we see believers calling out to God and pleading for Him to preserve them in accordance with His faithfulness (see Psalm 61:7). These believers know the character of God, and they draw great comfort in knowing that God will keep His promises and never acts outside of His faithfulness. In the New Testament, believers also are to be hopeful in light of God’s faithfulness. As Paul encourages believers to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, he reminds them of God’s promise that all who are in the Son will be made like Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). Our fight against sin and to obey the law of the Lord is difficult. But Christians, don’t lose heart; God is faithful. He will complete His work in His children.