May 30, 2012

The Primary Promise

Isaiah 43:1-7

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
—Isaiah 43:5


If you treat the Bible like little more than a list of promises, you can slip into thinking that life is supposed to be easy for Christians.

For example, you might think that if you are having trouble in your marriage, God has a promise that will make your marriage better. If you are struggling financially, God has a promise that will make your bank account swell. All you have to do is pick and choose the verse that contains your favorite promise, and life will get better.

The problem with that way of thinking is that the primary promises in the Bible are not that you will be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Instead God promises that he will be with you.

In Isaiah 43, the prophet does not say that God will prevent fire and floods. Instead, God promises that he will be with us as we pass through fire and as floods overwhelm us. You may think this is a cheap promise, but if you understand God’s nature, you can grasp that this is a tremendous gift.

God is the source of all good things, so having God with us is the best possible way to live. His presence does not guarantee that every moment will be blissful, but it does mean that we have the greatest blessings available. God’s gift of himself is the greatest gift of all.

Lord Jesus, we praise you for being Emmanuel (God with us). Help us to know the true value of your presence. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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