The final reason why Israel was wired for worship because of the promises of God concerning them. You need to see that covenant and promise are different. A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties that carries stipulations about the completion of the agreement. A promise is a commitment made by one regarding another. God made a covenant with his people and he made promises to his people. These overlap quite a bit, and while we could examine hundreds of these, I have chosen just a few for you to see the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people.
- Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah promised that Jesus’ mother would be a virgin who would conceive by a miracle.
- Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Micah promised that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
- One thousand years before the birth of Jesus, David promised that Jesus would rise again from the dead.
The universal message of the Old Testament is “Promises Made” and the message of the New Testament is “Promises Kept.” The worry for Paul is that the promises made to Israel look as if they haven’t been kept, or that God has somehow forsaken his people, when he clearly hasn’t and is a covenant-keeping, faithful God.
So look into your own life. God has made specific promises to his people about their salvation, sanctification and glorification. Romans 8:28-30: Is this true? Remember that what is true about God is true about God no matter how I feel. We worship God because he works all things together for our good and his glory.
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Is this true? Is it true that God began your salvation and he will finish it? We worship God because he is the one who began our faith and he is the one who will finish it.
Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Is this true? Is God really at work in me? Is God working out the salvation he has begun in me for my good and his glory? Look at this verse! God changes everything! He changes my desires and my ability to honor him with my life! God does that.
Remember Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:3-8, 16-21. You and I have the bible with God’s very great and precious promises, allowing us to become partakers of a divine nature. Our testimony is more sure than if we were on the mount of transfiguration when the glory of God blazed out like rays of sunlight from Jesus. We have the Bible and the bible tells us what God is for us and what God has done in us and through us. If you have trouble remembering that, just summarize it with the children’s Sunday School song: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. AMEN.