Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Resting On The Promises

One of my all-time favourite hymns is:

Standing On The Promises
(Hymn by R. Kelso Carter)

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

But there is something even better than standing on the promises...

2 Chronicles 32:6-8 And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Reading 2 Chronicles last week, my attention was arrested by this passage above, and I was pondering its meaning. The word rested here means: to prop (literally or figuratively); reflexively, to lean upon or take hold of. King Hezekiah, a sold-out servant of the Lord, exhorted his people not to fear their enemies, not to fear the invading armies, but to trust in the Lord to deliver them. He comforted them by his faith in the Lord his God. And because of his trust and assurance in God to deliver them, the people rested on Hezekiah's words - they leaned upon and took hold of what he said, and it brought them comfort. Their minds were filled with peace, not fear, dread or alarm.

Hezekiah was just a servant of the Lord, delivering to his people what the Lord would have him say. Do we lean upon the Word of the Lord? When we are going through trials, do we lean upon God's Word, and take rest in the fact that He is sovereignly in control, that He is watching over us, that He has a plan He is working out, and that He is hearkening to our prayers? When I read the reaction of the people to Hezekiah's words, I think of a little child, alarmed by some sudden fright, until the parent says, "Hush, child. Everything is alright." Then the child relaxes, and peacefully drifts back to sleep. Do you rest on God's Word, on God's promises, in the trials of life?

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

Quietness means to repose. Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives these definitions of repose: To lay at rest; To lay; to rest, as the mind, in confidence or trust; as, to repose trust or confidence in a person's veracity; To lie at rest; to sleep; To rest in confidence. Webster's also gives this definition of quietness: A state of rest; stillness; Calm; tranquility; Freedom from agitation or emotion; calmness; coolness; as the quietness of the mind.

I like what Family Bible Notes has to say in regards to this verse: "They who, in times of trouble and danger, honor God with the full confidence of their souls, shall receive from him inward peace and comfort, and also outward deliverance, so far as their highest welfare requires it."

The sad thing is in this passage, the people would not listen to Isaiah's exhortation, and missed out on the quietness and confidence they could have had if they just rested in the Lord and in His Word. They wouldn't return (ie. repent), but rebelled against his preaching - but we can return to and cling to the Lord, we can rest in Him, and then we will have the spiritual strength we need to face our day by day battles.

So many speak about standing on the promises - which speaks of a steadfast, unmovable spirit, that won't move in the face of adversity or affliction - but I want the assurance and the peace that comes from resting on those promises!

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Here we see the same word for quietness, but there is also another word here that adds to the picture. Assurance: properly, a place of refuge; abstract, safety, both the fact (security) and the feeling (trust); often (adverb with or without preposition) safely. Trusting in the righteousness which only the Lord Jesus Christ can give us - and not our own - and doing righteousness (ie. living right, according to the Word of God) brings quietness and assurance. There is a hedge of protection placed around the child of God who is in the center of God's will, doing God's will - and that believer has a place of refuge to flee to, a security, a safe place to dwell.

Psalm 32:7 says Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Selah means pause and think of that. The next time you are surrounded by troubles and trials, stop and think about your Heavenly Father being your hiding place, about Him compassing (surrounding) you about. Then confidently sing a new song to Him and praise Him for His deliverance.

Romans 4:20-21 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

About 4000 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Abraham (in one of His pre-incarnate appearances) and promised him that his child of promise would come within a year of that time. After years of waiting, Abraham is told the fulfillment of this promise would be very soon. Abraham believed God and trusted in His promise to him. Abraham trusted in the Lord God to give him a child when he was 100 years old, and the Bible says he did not stagger, he did not hesitate or falter in his belief - he was strong in his faith, trusting in God's promise, and gave glory to God for what He was about to do. Fully persuaded means: to carry out fully (in evidence), i.e. completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish. He was fully convinced, completely assured that the Lord would carry out His promise, would fulfill His Word to Abraham. (See Hebrews 11:6) His faith in the promise made him strong, strengthened him even more.

Based on this passage, I am sure we could say that Abraham rested in the Word of the Lord. How about you? Are you resting in and on the promises that you find in God's Word? Every promise always has two parts: our part and God's part. If we do our part of the promises, God is ALWAYS faithful to keep His! Just like the Lord Jesus Christ kept His promise to Abraham all those years ago, we can have the assurance today He will do the same. (See Hebrews 13:8)

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Now that we know we can rest on His promises, rely on the Lord Jesus Christ to keep His Word, here is an interesting passage about claiming the promises through prayer. Yes, we are exhorted to rest on the promises that we already know have been given to us - but here is an encouragement to search out more and confidently claim them by faith!

Resting on the promises is not passive, but active. We need to search out Bible promises and principles (like hidden treasures), find out which ones fit the situations we find ourselves in, and then boldly come to the throne of grace and claim them. After we have claimed those promises, we can rest upon them - being fully persuaded that the Lord will keep His Word to us!

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Better yet:

Resting, resting,
Resting on the promises of God my Savior;
Resting, resting,
I’m resting on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of God...
...Then resting there...

May 30th/06
Jerry Bouey


Even So... said...

I really like that. We sing that song nearly every week in our nursing home ministry.

Let's enter into the rest, amen.

WeakerVessel said...

I love that song as well! Wonderful Message..agin I was richly blessed, Thank You Jerry.

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