“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the LORD your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you” (Joshua 23:14-15 NIV).
Joshua was attesting to the fulfilled promises of God. However, in reality, God’s promises are as good as fulfilled. God’s word is as sure as the certainty of the rising sun tomorrow. The entire Old Testament, up to the time of Jesus, shows that God’s word does not miss. It is impossible for God to promise what He does not fulfil.
When God declared that He created man in His own image, there is no reason for humanity to doubt being in God’s image. The man created in God’s image is God. Caught up in the confusion of not knowing the origin of humanity, one needs to stand on God’s promises. God did not create inferior humanity, viewed as not resembling God’s image.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV).
One of the greatest promises of God is not to give humanity what He did not promise. God gives according to His promises. Currently, humanity stands in between God’s promises and what God did not promise. God’s greatest gift is that of availing two options, life and death, from which humanity can choose.
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”(Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV).
It may surprise many that choosing between life and death constitutes God’s fantastic gift at one’s disposal. God empowers humanity to choose, rather than force him to choose against his will. Choosing life is freely offered by God, whose attribute is not that of a dictator. If dictated to, one would not be a product of God’s image, whose attribute is self-sustaining.
Humanity ought to be self-sustaining, just as God is self-sustaining. God anointed the Israelites to be God’s people. The Israelites were expected to demonstrate the effects of being associated with God. They were given the option of choosing between the two extremes—life and death.
The Israelites’ failure was not a hundred per cent rejection of God’s Laws. Neither was it one hundred per cent adoption of God’s Laws. The Israelites are captured with repenting when facing problems, after disobedience.
Their drifting away from God’s Laws invited problems. As long as they walked according to God’s Laws they lived comfortably. Trouble always came after their departure from God’s Laws. Enjoying God’s blessing is what invites laxity. Spiritually, a person is weakest, when enjoying physical blessings.
After the rebellion, the Israelites’ faith got diluted into other people’s cultures. The Jews maintained hope until they also got off track. God did not totally forget the Israelites, even at the point of their extreme degradation.
The first to fall from grace were the ten tribes of Israelites. Judah had maintained the semblance of God’s people in Jerusalem. But they later got overtaken by the sin of violating God’s Laws. They were, vanquished by King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was destroyed and left in an inhabitable state. This was a fulfilment of God’s promise (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged, God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar”(2 Chronicles 36:15-17 NIV).
Out of His unfailing love, God still had mercy upon His people. To fulfil His promises, God used a pagan king to discipline His people. He later used Cyrus, another pagan king of Persia, for the remnant of the Israelites who had maintained the City, to return to Jerusalem.
The rebuilding of the City of Jerusalem did not bring it back to its former glory. But at least, there was some revival. Jesus would find Law-keepers, at His coming. The see-saw type of Israelites’ relationship with God was not acceptable. But through God’s mercy, enduring forever, God’s Law and the Prophets were preserved by Jewish remnants in Jerusalem.
The troubles, even with the Jews who returned to Jerusalem, emanated from the comfort between applying and not applying God’s Laws. They sought to obey God’s Laws, but according to their convenience. This was a clear provocation of God to withdraw His patience with them. Yet, God did not display His full wrath, because His Love endures forever.
Human experience, whether good or bad, is a result of God’s promises. God does not fail to fulfil His promise. Whatever God promises, He fulfils without fail, whether harmful or not. Human suffering lies in not taking decisions, due to a lack of commitment, or lacking trust. Doubt should be regarded as the mother of faithlessness. But we have to address causes of doubt, leading to a lack of faith.
Divided attention is caused by listening to other opinions, rather than believing in God. It is impossible to receive God’s promises, as long as divided in decision-making. What causes a person to listen to other opinions should be regarded as not knowing one’s identity. The first Commandment insists on not having other gods before one’s Creator.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”(Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).
The above passage shows God’s promise and its fulfilment. As far as God is concerned, time should not be viewed as of consideration. When the Scripture says He created mankind in His own image, there is no hit and miss. The fact that humanity fumbles in not being God’s image, would not be what takes away the truth that humanity is God’s image.
This is the starting point on the basis of believing in God. We were created in God’s image. If that is the case where is the missing link? Had we become God’s image by design so that it became impossible for us to sin, then we would not be God’s image. God is self-sustaining, self-motivating and self-enduring. Hence, it is extremely necessary to choose to obey God by option.
Believing in God, whom humanity has not seen, cannot be possible without making individual choices and determination to search. The story of the Prodigal Son shows a wanderer who took the decision to look for His Father. This was after having spent years in the wilderness. The Prodigal Son was not necessarily convinced by anyone, to look for his Father. This was his personal decision.
The condition, under which the Prodigal Son had been surviving, made him reflect on his origin. It was at that time that he began to realize that such a condition had nothing to do with his Father’s homestead. He first reflected on how his Father could receive him in his pitiable condition.
What appealed to him most; was humility. He could not reflect on the possibility of him being treated heroically, as the son of his loving Father. His resolution was that he would rather persuade his Father to treat him as one of the servants, rather than His son.
At his arrival, the story shows something unbelievable. The Father does not even talk about the state of his stupidity, having squandered His treasured wealth. The Father, instead, treats him as though he was a hero. The tradition of slaughtering fat calves was always reserved for special people.
This is not difficult to understand, when aware of God’s promises being what will never fail. God’s love is steadfast. If God seems to be far away from an individual sinner, it is not God who would have moved. Like the Prodigal son, the sinner would have moved away from God, rather than God moving.
We have to answer the question, as to why God makes it difficult for most people to appreciate God’s Love. Jesus made it extremely difficult for ordinary people to appreciate His teachings. He taught in parables so that ordinary people could not understand. But He clarified the meaning of those parables to His inner circle, comprising His disciples.
Jesus’ answer points to one condition: God does not intend that one comes to Him in a state of pride. Several Scriptures show that one needs to humble himself before God, who would then lift one up. God’s countenance is such that a proud person cannot survive God’s wrath.
God deals with people, differently, according to the state of their minds. There are those called during the Christian dispensation. Others may be called during the hardest of times, due to the wickedness that abounds on earth. The entire Book of Revelations gives a glimpse of what might happen. This is why it is written that every knee shall bow to Him (Philippians 2:10-11).
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
“If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss, he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’ and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile;’ So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God”(1 Corinthians 3:11-23 NIV).
There is nothing that can stop God’s promises. There is no need to doubt God’s promises. Only the dishonest can entertain doubt. There is no record of Jesus ever lambasting the known wicked people of this world. He always castigated the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. These were the highly religious people of that time.
“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. It would be best if you had practised the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel”(Matthew 23:23-24 NIV).
The main problem with the pretenders is that they cannot be teachable. A pretender is a person who seeks to prove that he would be better than other people. This comes from not knowing that God’s promises will never fail. Attaining salvation is as easy as accepting humility, regardless of the state of awareness of the sinful condition the person might think of himself to be.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99