Last Sunday Pastor John completed a four-Sunday walk through the Old Testament, highlighting the lives and failings of several major characters and observing that God keeps his promises. We also observed, however, that God almost never intervenes in the earthly consequences of our actions. He promises to walk with us through them and to use them for our ultimate good, but he generally does not rescue us. This is important for several reasons.
First, it makes us take responsibility for what we think, say and do. Our lives are our own. While Jesus cancelled the eternal debt that stood against us, giving us the power to be children of God, he never promised to just “make it all ok” if we choose poorly. God will not change a cheese puff into a carrot stick on the way down your throat! The things you choose to think say and do — or not think, say or do — have real consequences for your life.
Second, this truth keeps our relationship with God right. Sometimes people get mad at God for not intervening in places where God never said he would intervene anyway. Some people walk away from faith because of a tragedy in their lives, even though God never said he would prevent tragedy in our lives. God keeps the promises he has made. He doesn’t keep the promises that you and I wish he would have made.
Thirdly, assuming that when God doesn’t intervene it is because of our lack of faith or praying incorrectly dishonors all those who have suffered — and in many cases died — for their faith. How can we question the faith of someone who boldly faces a martyr’s death by saying they could have been released if only they had more faith or had prayed in the right way?
This may not sound like the most uplifting message, but it is the truth. The Bible says that the truth will set you free. If you are walking through life with the expectation that God is going to do things that he never promised to do, you are in bondage. You will be ever wondering if your faith is strong enough or trying to figure out if God really loves you.
Let me tell you: God loves you like crazy. God loves you to tears. He loves you so much that he, himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, absorbed the eternal consequences of your sin. You are forgiven, freed, adopted and loved. But just like good parents don’t rescue their children from the consequences of their actions, neither does God step in and rescue us. He pays us the honor of true choice in our lives and he allows us to experience the real growth that comes from real consequences.