Archive for November 2009
The fullest confidence is available to believers in their suffering because of God’s immutable covenant promise by which He has obliged Himself to believers.
But the inspired writer, calling to remembrance the promises by which God had declared that he would make the Church the object of his special care, and particularly that remarkable article of the covenant, “I will dwell in the midst of you” (Exodus xxv. 8), and, trusting to that sacred and indissoluble bond, has no hesitation in representing all the godly languishing, though they were in a state of suffering and wretchedness, as partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells. . . . What advantage would we derive from this eternity and immutability of God’s being, unless we had in our hearts the knowledge of him, which, produced by his gracious covenant, begets in us the confidence arising from a mutual relationship between him and us? The meaning then is, “We are like withered grass, we are decaying every moment, we are not far from death, yea rather, we are, as it were, already dwelling in the grave; but since thou, O God! hast made a covenant with us, by which thou hast promised to protect and defend thine own people, and hast brought thyself into a gracious relation to us, giving us the fullest assurance that thou wilt always dwell in the midst of us, instead of desponding, we must be of good courage; and although we may see only ground for despair if we depend upon ourselves, we ought nevertheless to lift up our minds to the heavenly throne, from which thou wilt at length stretch forth thy hand to help us.” . . . . As God continues unchangeably the same — “without variableness or shadow of turning” — nothing can hinder him from aiding us; and this he will do, because we have his word, by which he has laid himself under obligation to us, and because he has deposited with us his own memorial, which contains in it a sacred and indissoluble bond of fellowship.
There is always hope, even in the adversities of life, because “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, to confirm His covenant towards them by watching for their safety.”
— Peter Lillback, quoting Calvin in The Binding of God, pp. 270-271.
Douglas Wilson writes of parents shepherding wiggly disciples on Sunday morning:
Many of you are here as parents of little ones and, in some cases, many little ones. For you, the worship of the Lord is a far more arduous task that it is for the rest of us. All of us are engaged in the work of worshipping the Lord, but you are carrying young ones in your arms as you perform the same labor that we do. . . .
Read on for encouragement that is really applicable to all of parenting: our parenting is unto God, and he intends for it to be a real part of our worship.
John Loftness writes:
Humility . . . drives us away from self-sufficiency to believing in the promises of God.
Diligence alone will never make a good parent. Faith will. Faith in God’s promises. When we see what he’s promised about our children, it will shape how we think, what we expect, and therefore how we act. The only way to pray by faith for our children is to begin with a focused belief in God’s will for them. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
These are the words that Nancy and I abide in. They shape our prayers and fix our hope:
“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God will all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deut. 30:6)
“All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Is. 54:13).
“‘And as for me, this is my covenant with them,’ says the LORD: ‘My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,’ says the LORD, ‘from this time forth and forever more'” (Is 59:21).
“For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39—read the context, too).
JI Packer quotes Samuel Clark about God’s promises: “A fixed, constant attention to the promises and a firm belief of them, would prevent solicitude and anxiety about the concerns of life” (Knowing God, p. 115). Is there any greater concern than the concerns we carry for our children? Is there any greater comfort and hope than to hear and believe the promises of the one who spoke and worlds came into being? So pray the promises about your children. And see God work, in them and in you.