In my post Beautiful Heirs, God had me highlight the need for us to be expectant for Him to fulfill His word. Having spent over a decade in ministry, I’ve come to find one of the major blocks to believing God wants to bless us comes in the form of us thinking we don’t deserve it. Sometimes that comes from a general sense of unworthiness, and sometimes because of specific choices we’ve made. In this post, God is reminding us that He is faithful regardless of whether or not we are.
We do need to remember that God’s faithfulness is not necessarily dependent on the fulfillment of His promises because some of His promises are conditional. To give an example, if a mother says to her child, “If you eat your peas, you can have dessert,” and the child does NOT eat his peas, is he entitled to dessert? No. This was a conditional promise. However, if the mother says, “We are going to Disneyland next month.” Does the child get to go to Disneyland if he is good leading up to the trip? Yes. Does he still get to go if he has not been good? Yes. This promise was unconditional.
In the same way, God has made both conditional and unconditional promises to us. One of the things He is highlighting today is that even if we are struggling with whether or not we qualify to receive His conditional promises, we can rest assured we are the heirs of His unconditional promises. We can know that He loves us. We can know He will never leave us or forsake us. These promises (as well as others) are unconditional.
Lest we resent the fact that He gives conditions on some of His promises, lets pause for a moment and think about why conditions are needful. What happens to a child who is lavished with blessings with no expectations of good behavior? They become entitled, spoiled brats. God is a GOOD Father, so He wisely gives us conditions on some promises, but we must remember those conditional promises are given for our own good. He is growing our character even as He inspires our obedience with promised blessings.
Additionally, He is so gracious to us that He makes it easy for us to return to a place of obedience if we have wandered away. In His word He reminds us that even if we are unfaithful, we have only to repent to realign with His best for us. We find this in 2 Kings 13:23 (VOICE) “But the Eternal One was gracious and compassionate toward them. He was good and turned his face to them because of the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Eternal, true to His promise, had protected them and remained near them until now.”
This verse comes in the midst of hearing about Kings of Israel who were unfaithful, but one king, Jehoahaz, turned to the Lord and repented and called on His name. Not surprisingly it was adversity that caused him to turn and seek the Lord (I know trials have a tendency to do the same with MANY of us). We see in verses 4-5 God’s response (emphasis mine), “Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. So the Lord provided someone to rescue the Israelites from the tyranny of the Arameans. Then Israel lived in safety again as they had in former days.”
So we need to understand that we are heirs to His promises – both conditional and unconditional. We must keep our eyes fixed on Him, and if we find our gaze (or actions) have wandered, simply choose to turn back because He is ALWAYS faithful. So trust Him to be true to His character, and embrace your identity as His child and heir.
I found this quote from John Piper in a teaching called “If You Are Christ’s, You Are Heirs of the Promise” that really highlighted an important point when it comes to obedience (which is necessary to qualify for God’s conditional promises).
If you don’t have a heart to trust God and rely on mercy, the law will feel like a burdensome, offensive, deadening job description given by a harsh schoolmaster. But if you do have a heart to trust God and rely on his mercy, then the law will feel like a much-needed and desired prescription from a wise and beloved Physician.
So as we go forward, may we embrace with new joy the trust we have in our Heavenly Father who is good and faithful and true. He is more than worthy of our whole heart, and so desires to bless His children. Let us walk in the fullness of all His promises by living in joyful obediences to His instructions, and eagerly anticipating the fulfillment of His word – both logos and rhema (written and whispered to our spirit by Him).