Deuteronomy 7:9-10 NKJV
9 “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.”
In Christian circles, we talk a lot about our faith. Many people refuse to say they are of the Christian “religion,” preferring rather to say they have faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. That is what we are admonished to have throughout the New Testament, to have faith. The great “Hall of Faith” recorded in Hebrews chapter 11 is just one example of those constant reminders that we must have faith in Jesus Christ. And yet, that wonderful description of the great faith of the Old Testament heroes and heroines is quickly followed by a description of Jesus as “the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
The author of Hebrews was not the only one to mention that our faith is not our own. Paul told the Ephesian church:
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV(my emphasis)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Here, Paul tells us that our saving faith comes from God, and it is through that faith (not works) that we receive the further gift of God’s grace. Our faith in God comes from God.
John 6:44 NKJV
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Of course, this concept of receiving our faith from God is not just a New Testament idea. As Jeremiah wrote in his lament, his hope comes from God’s own faithfulness:
Lamentations 3:21-26 NKJV
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
God is the model of faithfulness, because He never backs away on any promise He has made, never leaves nor forsakes us, never gives up on us. Whereas we sinful humans… Well, let’s just say we struggle to be faithful. The Bible doesn’t fail to mention that even God’s chosen people have trouble remaining faithful to Him. The early books of the Bible—especially Judges—are full of examples of the faithful becoming faithless. And yet God never quits being faithful.
I like today’s verses from Deuteronomy, because they use God’s faithfulness as a title: “the Faithful God.” He is not like the so-called “gods” of the pagans, who never seem to show up to save anyone at all. After all, it is hard for a god to be faithful to anyone when such a being is a product of our own imagination and self-image. How faithful can a god be whose personality and traits are modeled on men? (Read the ancient Greek myths, and I encourage you to read 1 Kings 18:20-40 for an account of the difference between a faithful God and a false god.) But the Lord our God, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, He is mighty and willing to save, and He is faithful to do so.
The word translated in verse 9 above as “faithful” is also translated elsewhere as “believed” or “established” or “sure.” The root word has the connotation of someone or something that is built up, certain, solid. If something is certain for us, would we not say it is believable?
“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the believable, solid, trustworthy God…”
Or perhaps this way:
“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the BELIEVING God…”
To say that God is full of faith is to say that He has a certain belief in us, that His faith is a certainty of things not yet seen in us and yet which He knows are there. God knows us like no one else, and He believes in us in ways we cannot fathom. That is why David can stand before the Lord and say, “Who am I, O LORD God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (1 Chronicles 17:16) David knew full well how small he was in the grand scheme of things, and the shepherd-become-king knew how humble had been his beginnings. But God had had huge plans for young David, and so that little man of faith became a great king whose throne was established forever. That is God’s faithfulness in action.
The Lord our God is not some fickle spirit who spares His favor or punishes lightly. He is a solid rock upon which we can stand, knowing that His character as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has not and does not change. (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8) He is utterly righteous and holy, and so His own word is inviolable.
Numbers 23:19 NKJV
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Our Lord is the Faithful God. That is a simple fact, and it is upon this fact that we can build our own faith. We can rest upon His promises and His holiness and know that He is true. All that He asks is that we are true, that we have that same solid faith as the heroes of old.
Who is God? He is Healer, Provider, Almighty God. He is Rock, Deliverer, and Righteous Judge. He is the author and perfecter of the very faith what saves us through His grace. He is the one true God, the Faithful God who loved us so much He gave His only Son so that we who have faith in Him might live.
Father God, great indeed is Your faithfulness! As the hymn says, “All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” My prayer, O Lord, is that You help my faith to be more like Yours. Amen.