Isaiah 25:1 (NIV)
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.
This verse from the Prophet Isaiah is a call to praise and worship … exalting God for His “perfect faithfulness” toward His people. We first find this gratitude for the faithfulness of God in the Book of Genesis – so this understanding of His nature has been affirmed at least since the time of Abraham. Let’s look at that passage and some others:
Genesis 24:27 (NIV)
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned His kindness and faithfulness to my master.
Exodus 34:5-7 (NIV)
5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
Psalm 57:9-11 (NIV)
9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 71:22-23 (NIV)
22 I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I whom you have delivered.
So I think you get the point. The earliest believers recognized and praised God for His manifested love and faithfulness toward them. So I think we need to be mindful and grateful ourselves. As you look back on your life and all of your relationships and experiences … can you see the hand of God in your life? Can you see the faithfulness of God in sustaining you through all the challenges, hardships, and sufferings of life … creating the unique story of you? I know that I can. In fact, without the faithfulness of God to guide me through the pitfalls and challenges I have faced, I would not be here to share this testimony. I have absolutely no doubt about the faithfulness of God in our lives. So the question is whether we have been faithful to Him. Ask yourself, “Have you been as faithful to God as He has been to you?”
I’m sure we all feel indicted by that question. None of us have lived a perfect life. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Even after we came to a knowledge of the truth; received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior; and experienced rebirth through the Spirit; most of us have stumbled at best to walk the narrow road and to love one another as He has loved us. I think of Peter who boldly and rashly proclaimed that he would die for Jesus at the time of His arrest … only to swear that he “did not even know the man” just a few hours later. (Cf. Matthew 26:74-75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:60-61; John 18:27) So zealous was his boast and so vehement was his disownment. And note how every Gospel writer recorded what happened! Oh, I’d say each of us has wept as bitterly as Peter at some point in our life because of our own unfaithfulness to God….
What amazes and encourages me, though, is that Jesus takes the initiative to comfort Peter and restore him to fellowship. You can read about it in John 21. And when we find ourselves in despair over our sin and unfaithfulness to God, the Apostle John shares with us this word of encouragement: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) John reminds us of that timeless truth: God is Faithful. And so I repeat that message here because someone needs to hear it. Someone needs to know that the discouragement and despair of unfaithfulness that has been defeating their life can be overcome. Yes, you ARE forgiven! Your life and fellowship with God will be restored! God is faithful even when we fail…. Like Paul, I am convinced that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Cf. Romans 8:38-39)
One thing that caught my attention about this passage was the phrase “things planned long ago.” I thought about that a moment. I thought about the plan of salvation that was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world. I wondered, “What other things did God plan long ago?” Well, He planned my birth. He determined the date, the generation, the place, the nation, etc. God knew when and where He wanted me for His plans and purposes. And despite a time of rebellion during my youth … in spite of the disobedience, failures, and unfaithfulness in my life … God planned my reconciliation and salvation. I am His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. (Cf. Ephesians 2:10) And each day of my life becomes another revelation of the things He planned long ago for me. Yes, God is faithful over your life and mine….
So I am certain there is someone who needs to know that God is willing and ready to restore your life just like He did for Peter – a man who disavowed even knowing the Lord Jesus … just like He did for Paul – a blasphemer and a murderer … just like He did for me – another wretched sinner saved by grace through faith. God planned your day of reconciliation long ago. God knew just the right time … when you would bitterly weep … and open your whole heart to Him. God knew your moment of confession would come, and He is faithful and just to forgive your sins because you have called on Him. He is at the door of your heart … knocking. And I can assure you, it is an indescribable feeling to experience the great love and faithfulness of God poured out in your life! I urge you to open the door and bid the Lord Jesus to come in … and let your healing begin!
Father, I thank you and I praise you for your perfect faithfulness. You have done wonderful things … too many to count as well look back over our lives. Each one is a testimony of your surpassing kindness and your steadfast love. Help, Lord, each one of us to embrace that you have been faithful to redeem us … to give us a hope and a future … to give us eternal life. These promises were established long ago … and we can receive them by placing our faith in you. You have proven yourself trustworthy, and I pray any person who has questioned the deep of your love will see the truth found in your Word. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Great is Thy Faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy Faithfulness … Lord unto me. ~ Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960)