A God Who Merits Our Trust
HUMAN promises are often unreliable. Despite this, there are still people whom we trust. Why? Our confidence is mainly based on their past record of dependability and trustworthiness. We know that any number of things could prevent them from carrying out what they have promised. But we do not let these possibilities keep us from trusting them.
What about our Creator? Does he not merit far greater trust? Yes, he has given us basis for being sure that nothing will ever prevent a single promise of his from being fulfilled. The past record of Jehovah God as a Fulfiller of his word is without as much as even one flaw. Take the case of the Israelites in the time of Joshua. They witnessed the fulfillment of God’s promise that they would be given the land of Canaan—a promise that had been made to their forefather Abraham over four hundred years earlier. (Gen. 15:13-21) Also, in fulfillment of God’s promise given through Moses and with divine help and protection, they succeeded in taking over Canaan despite the fierce opposition of stronger nations. (Deut. 7:17-21; 11:23) Looking back on what Jehovah God had done, Joshua could say to the Israelites: “Not a promise failed out of all the good promise that Jehovah had made to the house of Israel; it all came true.”—Josh. 21:45.
NO OBSTACLE CAN STOP THE FULFILLMENT
How different it is with man! Unless he can carry out his promise in a comparatively short time, he may be prevented by unforeseen occurrences from ever doing so. His word of promise could become a dead word. But in the case of the eternal God, his word of promise is always ‘alive and powerful.’ (Heb. 4:12) Nothing can prevent its accomplishment.
Through his prophet Isaiah (55:10, 11), Jehovah declared: “Just as the pouring rain descends, and the snow, from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth and makes it produce and sprout, and seed is actually given to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”
Once rain or snow starts falling, who can prevent the precipitation from filtering down into the soil? The water descending in the form of snow or rain is bound to accomplish its purpose. Combining with nutrients in the soil, it will provide what plants need to grow and to produce fruit. In the case of grain, part of the seed produced may be set aside for sowing in the next season and a far larger portion may be ground into flour for making bread. In this way the ultimate purpose of the precipitation is realized.
Similarly, every detail of God’s promises will be fulfilled, regardless of what obstacles might stand in the way. This is well illustrated in the case of the specific word of promise under discussion in Isaiah chapter 55. Verses 12 and 13 read: “With rejoicing you people will go forth, and with peace you will be brought in. The mountains and the hills themselves will become cheerful before you with a joyful outcry, and the very trees of the field will all clap their hands. Instead of the thicket of thorns the juniper tree will come up. Instead of the stinging nettle the myrtle tree will come up.”
This promise pointed forward to the time when the desolated land of Judah, overgrown with thorns and nettles, would again be cultivated and inhabited. The fulfillment of this promise, however, may have seemed nearly impossible to the Israelites who were taken into Babylonian exile. The capital of the Chaldean Empire, Babylon, was strongly fortified, invincible from all appearances. As long as the Babylonian dynasty ruled, there was no hope of ever being set free. That dynasty is described in Scripture as having the reputation of ‘making the productive land like the wilderness, overthrowing its very cities, and not opening the way homeward even for the prisoners’ or exiles.—Isa. 14:17.
Yet this great obstacle did not prevent the promise from being fulfilled. Suddenly, in one night, great Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians under the command of Cyrus. Shortly thereafter, Cyrus issued a decree enabling Jewish exiles to return to the desolated land of Judah to rebuild the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem.—2 Chron. 36:22, 23.
ADDED ASSURANCE GIVEN
Another reason why we can have the utmost trust in God’s promises is the fact that he has staked his very name or reputation on his word. In the case of his promise to Abraham, for instance, he even added his oath. At Hebrews 6:13 we are told: “When God made his promise to Abraham, since he could not swear by anyone greater, he swore by himself.”
The amazing thing about this oath-bound promise is that its fulfillment did not rest solely with Jehovah God. How so? In that it was to be through the “seed” of Abraham that ‘all nations of the earth were to bless themselves.’ (Gen. 22:18) The primary “seed” of Abraham proved to be Jesus Christ. (Gal. 3:16) As such, would he maintain perfect integrity while on earth? The fulfillment of God’s promise depended upon that.
Jesus Christ did maintain his perfection down to the very death. So the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, as well as of all other promises of God, is certain. Now there is no question about the identity of the primary one of Abraham’s seed, nor about the possibility of that one’s proving himself unsuitable for being the one through whom all nations would bless themselves. Second Corinthians 1:20 gives this faith-strengthening assurance: “No matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him. Therefore also through him is the ‘Amen’ said to God for glory through us.”
Rightly Jesus Christ is even called the “Amen,” meaning, literally, “sure,” “truly,” “so be it,” “truth.” (Rev. 3:14) As such, he is more than just a speaker of truth. His life course of perfect integrity-keeping as a man, including his sacrificial death, confirmed and made possible the realization of all the promises of his Father. In Jesus Christ all of God’s promises find fulfillment.—John 14:6.
It was Jehovah God who made it possible for his Son to become the primary seed of Abraham by miraculously causing him to be born of the virgin Mary, a descendant of Abraham through the royal line of David. As a loving Father, Jehovah felt keenly the terrible suffering to which his Son was subjected on earth. Yet he was willing to make the supreme sacrifice, giving his Son in behalf of the world. So we cannot imagine that Jehovah God will now in some way fail to keep his word after having laid a solid foundation for its fulfillment at the cost of the life of his dearly beloved Son. As the apostle Paul pointed out: “He who did not even spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all, why will he not also with him kindly give us all other things?”—Rom. 8:32.
Yes, how could anyone fear that perhaps some promise of God might remain unfulfilled? Jehovah God has already made the supreme sacrifice. His word and his oath to Abraham proved to be no lie but absolute truth. Through the course of human history, Jehovah has demonstrated his trustworthiness. Never did he fail in keeping his word of promise. Truly, Jehovah is a God who merits our absolute trust. He will not fail us. May we, therefore, strive hard not to fail him, exerting ourselves to maintain an approved standing before him.