Remember that old gospel song, “Standing on the Promises?” I remember a rejoinder to that which said, “You can’t stand on the promises if you don’t what they are.” The point that was being made was that we need to know and understand the Bible – God’s word. People often think they know what God has promised based upon their own assumptions, and are often frustrated that God didn’t keep a promise that he never made! Other times people are insecure because they are not aware of God’s marvelous provision for them and their future as it is spelled out in the Bible. In short, we need to actually pay attention to what God has said.
I think that there is, however, an even deeper issue that prevents us from living confident lives dependent on our creator. Even when we understand with great clarity what the Lord has proclaimed, we just don’t believe him! Satan’s words to Eve in the garden speaks volumes; “Did God actually say…” We have struggled with that same thought over and over. We are called to simply trust him (and it is a reasonable trust), but we usually want him to give us some upfront guarantee that he will do what he says. God says “follow me” and we want to see a map of where he is taking us. We would kind of like some travel insurance for the trip!
People pray for a sign, rather than simply trusting God’s word and his character. One example of that is found in Exodus 3 when God speaks to Moses out of the burning bush. God tells Moses that he is sending him to Pharaoh to rescue Israel and Moses doubts that he is the man for the job. He is perhaps hoping for some miracle that would confirm God’s word and guarantee success. (Even though he is seeing the burning bush not consumed and is actually hearing the voice of God!)
God’s response is interesting: He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exod. 3:12 ESV) The Lord promises that He will accompany Moses, and the sign will be that the mission will be successful – they will worship God on that mountain one day after they leave Egypt. The promise is to be accepted as true, and the evidence will be seen as Moses looks back on what God will accomplish.
Is God good? Will He do what he says? To use an often misquoted old saying, “The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.” Trust his word, rely on his presence, and you will be able to look back and say “God did exactly what he said he would do.” Remember his promise to Moses and his promise in Hebrews 13: 5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”