1 Kings 11:38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.
What an awesome promise! However, Jeroboam missed one word: if. He was familiar with God’s promises to David, and being offered the same sort of thing was doubtless a huge rush, but he failed to recognize and fulfill the conditions. He was told clearly that it was Solomon’s idolatry with the gods of his foreign wives that cost his son the 10 tribes, so he didn’t claim any of those, but he still set up idols, making the humanistic calculation that the people needed something to distract them from the temple in Jerusalem. That cost his descendants the lasting kingdom that might have been theirs. We are so prone to rejoice at God’s promises and blithely ignore the conditions that are clearly stated. It would be very easy to compile a list of such promises that are frequently “claimed,” but the the one that comes to mind first is James 4:7. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” People run around trying to “resist the devil,” and complain when he just laughs at them, when they aren’t really submitted to God in the first place. When we are genuinely submitted to God, temptations indeed lose their power, but if we try to work up resistance to temptation without humble submission to God, we will fall flat sooner rather than later. I couldn’t begin to count how many times people have said to me that God’s promises aren’t really reliable, but I can say without hesitation that they either misunderstood the promise or they ignored the conditions, or both. God’s word stands forever! (Isaiah 40:8)
I’ve done my share of ignoring conditions, and/or misunderstanding promises in the first place, but I have certainly experienced an abundance of God being true to His word. If God said it, that settles it whether I believe it or not! I am very aware that God’s promises don’t operate like a vending machine, to be called on whenever convenient, and also that God’s time frame is very different from ours. Peter had to deal with that, and reminded us of it very clearly: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9) I try to help people understand this, but we are very much in an “instant” culture, and seem to have forgotten how to wait. I am to walk in obedient trust myself, waiting expectantly on Him, (Isaiah 40:28-31) so that others too may learn to trust Him and so that His will may be accomplished on His schedule for His glory.
Father, thank You for Your perfect faithfulness. Help me be faithful in response, walking in full obedience so that I may be available to You at all times in all ways, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!