The Lord keeps his promises. Do you like this truth? Does it excite you to know that all the promises of God will ultimately be fulfilled? Before you allow yourself to be excited by those promises, remember that not every promise of God is a promise of soft living and easy futures.
As I came across the end of the book of Leviticus, I was reminded of some promises of God that not everybody keeps in their memory verse lists. Leviticus 26 contains many a promise of God. The early verses of the chapter contain many of the promises that prosperity preachers misuse, taking them out of their original context to apply them as blanket declarations of goodness for the people of God. But, a look at Leviticus 26 shows us that God was communicating with Israel that the blessings he was promising there were for the nation if it would obey his commands.
But, the vast majority of Leviticus 26 is not full of promises of goodness. Instead, the majority of the chapter is made up of the promised judgments of God on his people for when they, as a nation, refused to obey the laws that God had just given in the book. God knew that Israel would disobey. God knew that some of his laws would never be kept, not even once. And God told Israel exactly what would come to pass when they refused to obey him.
Here is one example.
Leviticus 26:34-35 – 34 “Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it.
God knew that Israel would never obey the command to allow the land to rest for the Sabbath years. So, God told Israel what would come. If the land would not get its Sabbaths because the people obeyed, God would drive his people out of their promised land until the land got the rest that God had ordered back in Leviticus25.
Of course, if you know the history of the nation, they went captive to Babylon. Judah was captured and carried away from the land for seventy years. Why seventy years?
2 Chronicles 36:20-21 – 20 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.
Judah was captured for seventy years because they had refused to give the land seventy Sabbaths of rest. God perfectly and accurately kept his promises.
Why would God give the Sabbath rest command if he knew Israel and Judah would not keep it? The law was given, not to save the people, but to help them recognize their great need of a Savior. Israel failed to obey. They drew down upon themselves the promises of judgment. The Old Testament illustrates that and helps us to see that God will keep all his promises and that, if we are going to be under his grace, it will not be because we earn it through obedience. Human beings are naturally disobedient. This is why we all need a Savior to fulfill the provisions of the law on our behalf.
So, are you glad God keeps his promises? It probably will ultimately depend on whether or not you are in a saving relationship with God. If you are forgiven in Christ, rejoice over God’s faithfulness. God promises salvation by grace alone through faith alone for all who trust in Christ alone. For such a person, there is great comfort in the fact that God keeps his word.
But, for the one who is opposing the Lord, please understand that God will keep all the promises he ever made about our judgment too. God is not faithful to promises of grace and yet unfaithful to promises of wrath. We must be under his grace or face his righteous retribution for rebelling against the Lord, our Maker.