Able to Keep Promises
by John Duncan
When I was young, the average superhero seemed uncomplicated. He saved people from peril, foiled robberies, outmaneuvered villains, returned stolen property to its rightful owner, and, after checking in with the local mayor, went quietly back to the secret hideout.
But there is a new type of superhero these days. He is conflicted and bitter. He is confused about his duty and can’t decide if humanity is even worth defending or preserving. He is loved and hated by the people he “serves.” Though he possesses great power, he is inconsistent in its use. The result is often an unlovable hero and a fickle thankfulness from the people. At the heart of these type of misadventure tales is our desire for a reliable, infallible, benevolent, and just person to protect us and lead us.
Christianity offers no such fabled hero but rather the testimony of Scripture to the all-powerful protection of the one God of the universe. He is the God of kept promises, unwavering protection, sustained life, and supreme justice. To every situation He administers perfect knowledge, counsel, and remedy. He has never failed, He will never fail, He can never fail, and the Scriptures record His actions for us as far back as we have lived on earth and further.
In Joshua 24, Joshua gathers the elders and all the people of Israel together to remind them, in great detail, of God’s faithfulness to them and their ancestors. This solemn commemoration occurs as they stand in Shechem, the very spot where God first promised the land to the descendants of Abraham.
Joshua recollects the covenant blessings of God in the land of Canaan, through the crossing of the Red Sea, in the bountiful inheritance of land and provision along the Jordan, and in the conquest of numerous enemies continually threatening Israel.
Joshua admonishes the people that because of God’s extravagant love and protection, they (we) should fear God in sincerity and truth, putting away false gods and serving Him (v. 14).
The response of a changed heart to God’s extravagant love is worship and willingness. Our zeal to honor and obey our Great Protector is proof of our true desires. We should be living monuments to God’s great deeds in our lives. Our confidence can never be in our own sufficiency but in God’s unfailing promises.