The Bible is a book of hope.
It is a life-giving and life-changing book. It tells the story of a God who cares deeply for his people (Ps 23) and his creation (Ps 24:1)—a God whose ways are higher than our ways (Isa 55:9). The Bible tells the story of how God is rescuing and redeeming a world broken by sin (Rom 8:20-22), sin that causes us to be blind and deaf to God’s presence everywhere around us. And in the seasons of life when it seems God is nowhere to be found, we need his promises to crash in on us like a wave and overwhelm us with reminders of our hope.
Hebrews 13:5 is one of those great promises: “be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” This one single verse has given much comfort to God’s people when they can’t see his hand in action. And there is much comfort—even joy—to be had in knowing and believing that God will never leave us.
But what causes God to make such a promise? What’s behind this promise ensuring that God will always be there? After all, he’s God—he can do whatever he pleases! How can we be sure that God won’t change his mind? On some level we’re all susceptible to doubt and suspicion. We, ourselves, are fickle people; we know we’d probably change our mind.
One answer is found in 1 Samuel 12:22, which doesn’t simply make the same promise as Hebrews 13:5, but goes one step further. “For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself” (1 Sam 12:22). Why will God keep his promise and never leave us or forsake us? Because of himself! Because of his faithfulness. And because of his own pleasure.
Deuteronomy 7:6 tells us God chose his people to be his “treasured possession”—in other words, he treasures the people who belong to him. He has pleasure in saving his people! But we’re not treasured because we kept all the rules or earned his love; he will not forsake his people—he makes such a great promise to us—“for his great name’s sake.” At the risk of his own name and glory, he will never leave us nor forsake. Why? “Because it pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself” (1 Sam 12:22).
And this is the tidal wave of hope for our salvation! That God will keep his promise—that he will never leave us nor forsake us—because it pleased him to make us a treasured people for himself. He will never leave us because he has pleasure in keeping his promises, and after all, God does whatever he pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6).
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