Thursday, May 17, 2018
Promises, promises, promises. Politicians make and break them. We make New Year’s resolutions and a few weeks later pat ourselves on the back because we kept them longer than we did last year. A man’s word used to be his bond and was sealed with a firm handshake. Now, we sign multiple page contracts and must bond ourselves in case we don’t keep it. It’s a good living for lawyers who write them for us. Two people stand before a preacher and promise “until death do we part.” If the facts are correct, about half of our adult population should be dead!
According to some, promises are made to be broken. If so, that is a sad commentary on our society. When a promise is broken, someone has been cheated. In some, not all those cases, the one breaking the promise loses because it makes him a liar. Man has been a notorious promise breaker. Look at the treaties made with the American Indians but broken because of land hungry individuals. Look at the promises made to children by parents, but often broken because priorities were in the wrong place. Sometimes it is easy for the promise maker to become a promise breaker. All he must do is convince himself that something else is more pressing and important. Not so with God. His promises are true. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Sometimes the Bible student will misunderstand what a passage is covering. What does, “I will give you rest” mean? If the reader thinks God drops a job in his lap where he only has a two-day, total of eight hours work each week, without much responsibility, he has misunderstood that “rest.” If he believes that job will pay him $150,000 a year after taxes and include all the benefits, then that kind of “rest” isn’t what Jesus had in mind!
Neither does it mean that he will be given rest from all criticism, adverse circumstances, sickness, accidents, or loss of property. Peter received a face full of Paul when he put on shoes of hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-15). Ananias and spouse Sapphira received a free burial service from the church for reworking their finances (Acts 5:1-11). James lost his head over his preaching (Acts 12:1-2). An unknown number of Jewish believers lost their sainthood due to misplaced loyalty (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-29). Bad things happen to the good, the bad, and those who want to be ugly! Sometimes those who are good wonder why the bad seem to have it better than they do. Baruch misunderstood that and so often, we do too (Jeremiah 45:1-5).
The world doesn’t understand how a Christian can keep his head when they are losing theirs! It is because they possess the kind of “rest” Jesus was talking about. During hunger, thirst, opposition, imprisonment, and other adverse happenings, Paul could say, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). That “rest” gave Paul that “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). It is because of that “rest” the Christian possesses assurance of his salvation, the removal of all his sins, and understands that there is an everlasting home for him with God throughout eternity!
Do you have that “rest”? If so, remember, God keeps His promises!