Believing the Promises

I have been reading through the Old Testament in my personal Bible reading, and I have enjoyed reading the stories of God’s faithfulness with his people. But I often struggle with their constant faithlessness. God shows himself time and time again and they grumble and complain. But what always strikes me most is that I know the end of the stories. I know that God fulfills all of his promises because I live on this side of their fulfillment—Christ’s coming to earth. I live on this side of the completion of the canon.

But the Israelites of the Pentateuch and the entire Old Testament only had a promise. They waited a long time for their longed for Messiah to come. Many died before he came, clinging only to a promise. Many didn’t believe even when he did. They lived in unbelief. The point is that those who stopped believing gave up. They didn’t believe God’s promises, even when they had seen him work in the past. They didn’t believe that he could be trusted, or that he was good and wise and cared. So when there was no prophetic voice from God for 400 years (the time from the prophets until Christ’s birth) they abandoned the very God who gave them life.

It’s really easy to look at these stories and judge them for their faithlessness. But our discontent and unbelief reveal the same bitter, hard heart of the Israelites many thousands of years ago. We just so often don’t see it.

I don’t want to prove faithless in the end. I may not get all of my earthly longing met. But my deepest longing—and greatest promise—has already been fulfilled by the coming of this promised Messiah and his death and resurrection on my behalf. We don’t have to only cling to a promise like the Israelites did. We have the Promised One.

Where are you on your “400 year journey”? Does it seem like God has stopped working for you? I assure you that he hasn’t. His seeming silence is part of a loving plan to bring you the greatest treasure of all—Jesus Christ. Let’s not be like the Israelites before us, believing God to be unfaithful and abandoning his word. Instead let us cling to our Christ, who reconciles us to God—the One who always does what he says.