1 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with splendour.
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.”
Despair and complete devastation is both a physical and a spiritual human experience. Feeling completely alone and without hope is one of the worst places to be. The prophet Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, and he wrote these words of utter despair after the city of Jerusalem was destroyed: “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, He has turned His hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. He has walled me in so I cannot escape; He has weighed me down with chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone; He has made my paths crooked. Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, He dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. He drew His bow and made me the target for His arrows. He pierced my heart with arrows from His quiver. I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, ‘My splendour is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.’ I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” (Lamentations 3:1-20)
These words tell the story of someone trying to make sense of tragedy. If you listened carefully to Jeremiah’s words, it is clear that he is a believer who had made his confidence in God known to others, and had been ridiculed for it. And in these words he is brutally honest. He is deeply disillusioned with God, and he even goes so far as to suggest that God has it in for him, that God is against him.
Have you been there? Have you ever felt so alone that you believe even God has abandoned you? Maybe as you heard the words of Lamentations 3, you were thinking, “I can relate to that. I’ve felt just like that. I’ve felt like my face was rubbed in the dirt. I know the taste of utter despair, the feelings of emptiness, and wondered if God was angry with me.”
When it came to talking to and about God, Jeremiah didn’t hold anything back.
This was a time of real struggle and tragedy in Jeremiah’s life, but even in those moments of struggle, he still held onto God. After pouring his heart out and verbalising his anger and sorrow, he wrote these words in the next 3 verses: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Today we’ll be looking at one of the greatest promises in Scripture: the absolute assurance that regardless of the turmoil and stress that is crowding into your life right now, whatever pain you are suffering today or will suffer tomorrow, God’s steadfast love for you will never, never end. Every day He offers us the strength, grace and mercy we need, and this truth can be summarised in three simple, but profound words: “God is faithful.”
What does it mean to be faithful? Think of someone in your life that you could always rely upon - someone who would support you and come through for you, no matter what. Someone who is loyal and trustworthy, constant and reliable. That’s a tall order in our ‘trust no one, do whatever it takes to get ahead’ self-seeking culture, but even so there is at least one person you know or have known that can be described as a faithful person.
Now multiply that faithfulness by infinity. If you are a Christian, you have been adopted by a Father who is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has loved you with an everlasting love – a love that had no beginning and will have no end. As eternal as He is, so is His love for you. He will never write you off, and He will never leave you or forsake you. If you are a part of God’s family by faith alone in Christ alone, then the promises of God are yours. God is faithful, and He is faithful to you.
Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.”
In Malachi 3:6-7, He says, “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you.”
Even Job, a man who lost everything – even he came to this wonderful understanding of God’s faithfulness when he wrote in chapter 42, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” This man who had suffered so terribly that even his wife told him to curse God, held onto Him instead. He didn’t understand why these things had happened to him, but he never rejected God, and in the end, God was faithful.
Human faithfulness is fickle and cannot be trusted. We’ve all experienced the pain of being let down by someone we thought we could trust, and yes, we too have broken promises when others were relying on us, but God is faithful, and His word stands forever.
And because He is faithful and He can be trusted, we are able to build our lives of faith on Him. By His very nature He is faithful, and this means His word can be trusted.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
What this means is that whatever God speaks, happens. Because He is the eternal God who never changes, His word stands forever. He doesn’t chop and change His mind as we do. Even this world as we know it will come to an end, but God never will. Hebrews 1:10-12 says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
The Word of God is His bond, and He will keep all His promises, and will fulfill every prophecy He has made. The English Bible scholar Arthur Pink wrote in one of his books, “He never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good. (He then quotes from Numbers 23), ‘For God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?’”
Because God is perfect, He never changes. So what He says will be just as true a million years from now as it is today. You can trust His promises to you.
He will keep you and He will protect you. What we need to remember is that this life and all it’s hardships will pass. This is not our home.
Paul reminds us of another wonderful promise in 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 – “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” What do these words mean? The NKJV says “He will confirm you to the end.” The literal meaning is that He will establish you, or make certain about you. These words speak about the promise that you have the absolute guarantee that you will be saved. You will be blameless, and not because of what you have done or will do, but because of God, His unchanging mercy and sealed by what Jesus did on the cross for you. His grace is sufficient for you. It is sufficient to hold you and keep you in this life, and it is sufficient to seal your eternal salvation.
The assurance of your salvation is not that God will save you even if you stop believing, but that God will personally see to it that you keep believing - He will sustain you to the end. He will make your hope firm and stable to the end. He will cause you to persevere. That’s His promise. And what is the basis of that promise? Verse 9 again: “God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
God took the initiative in your salvation. Salvation is not your idea or your plan. It is God’s. He is the one who has “called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” And because of His very nature, and because He does not break His covenant promises, He will not abandon what He started. He will complete what He has begun in you, simply because God is faithful.
Jesus spoke about this in John 6:37-29. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”
When life is good it is easy to trust God and believe in His promises with absolute certainty. But what about the hard times? In a moment we’ll be singing that wonderful hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness, but how many times have you sung it while doubting God’s faithfulness? How strong is our faith when we feel like Jeremiah did when he wrote those heart-breaking words in Lamentations? Can our faith be trusted when we feel like we’re drifting away from God or we feel like He has somehow forgotten about us? The point is that our faith cannot be trusted because there are times when we do struggle to believe Him completely. The good news is that He understands our fickle faith better than we do, and He will strengthen our faith if we ask Him. In the same breath, the depth or shallowness of your faith has no impact or influence on the faithfulness of God.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:12, “I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” We sing those words often but what does Paul mean here? He means God will keep you because God has committed Himself to completing your salvation. Our salvation does not depend on us and on the strength or lack of our faith. It depends on Him, and on the eternal promises He has made to us in and through Jesus Christ. God is faithful.
What about temptation? What happens when we fail Him? We may have trouble believing what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, but he would not have written them unless if the Spirit prompted Him to: “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
When your faith is weak and temptation seems to have a grip on you, just remember this: If you are a Christian, then God has adopted you into His family, and you are His. And this is what Jesus has to say about those who trust Him and believe in Him in John 10: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
Because He is faithful, He keeps His side of this covenant relationship even when you don’t. Will you still fail? Will you still struggle with sin in your life? Sadly, yes. But keep seeking Him out. His promises will never fail. God is faithful and He will not break His promises to you. When you feel that it’s all too much for you to cope with, remember Him. He is faithful and His mercies never end.
And because He is faithful, you can depend on Him and count on Him for strength and peace in the storms of this life, and even more importantly, you can trust Him to deliver on His promise to you in John 3:16. For God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. And if you will put your faith in Him, no matter how strong or how weak that faith is in Him and in Him alone, you will not die, but will inherit eternal life.
That is God’s gift to you.
God is faithful.
Homegroup Study Notes
Read Isaiah 55.
Discuss some of the promises of the faithfulness of God we find in these verses.
Our faith in God is often dictated by the circumstances in our lives at any given time. When life is good it is usually easier to be faithful to Him than when we’re struggling.
If you feel able, share with your group a time when your faith was weak.
How did you experience God’s faithfulness to you, and what did you learn about His character?
Discuss some of the key differences between human faithfulness and the faithfulness of God.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13
Do you agree with this? Why, or why not?
If God has promised that He will help us to resist temptation, but we fail, what does this say about us?
What does it say about God?
Read 1 John 5:13-15
The Bible makes it clear that God wants us to be absolutely sure of His promises, yet we often fail to believe Him completely.
Why do you think our faith fluctuates so much?
What are we (or more specifically, God) able to do about our weak faith?
Close by praying that the Lord would strengthen your faith, and remind you of His unchanging nature and His faithfulness to you.