Summary: This sermon looks at seven promises, resolutions of God that God's people can take hold of as their own with full assurance that God will keep every one of them.
Before we look at the resolutions that God has made concerning all of us, I began by thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, and then I thought about what it meant and where it all came from.
It seems that the word, “resolution” had its origin back in the late 14th century. It was the process of reducing things into simpler forms, or to loosen, and as it would seem, it came from the verb “ to resolve.” In the mid 1500’s it meaning migrated more to the term resolute and that is the power of holding firm.
Today, while the meaning for the word still has all these elements in its definition, its use at this time of year comes from the late 1700’s. A New Year's resolution references a specific intention to better oneself.
And so a New Years resolution in essence breaks down those areas in our lives that need work, and that need specific attention on our part to better ourselves in these areas.
It is where we resolve to do something, which means a determination and a firmness of purpose. We become resolute, so to speak, determining to make a positive difference in our lives and in the world around us.
Now, many of our New Years resolutions revolve around getting healthy through exercise, smarter eating habits, and giving up harmful habits and addictions. In fact, some typical New Year’s Resolutions are: eat less and exercise more, spend less and save more, and to stop smoking, drinking, sinning, and lose some weight.
On the spiritual side, besides the “stop sinning” resolution, we resolve to read the Bible daily, pray every day for at least 15 minutes, go to church and/or a Bible study every week, and then there’s the outside chance that we make a resolution to tithe.
Now, there are some less serious resolutions that I’ve run across.
• “I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast.”
• “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least there they know me.”
• “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
Now, outside these rather humorous resolutions, the sad reality of all the good and positive New Year resolutions is that almost 70 percent never last a full 30 days, and by March, 80 percent of people fall back into their old ways and habits. And by the half way point, more than 90 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are no where to be found in a person’s life, only to find them again when they are resurrected at this time next year, that is, when New Year’s resolutions roll around once again.
So if we’re honest about this whole New Year’s resolution thing, what it reveals is just how unrealistic and undisciplined we really are, and that while a new year is upon us, it’s still the same old person we see in the mirror. That’s disheartening.
However, if we’re going to make a resolution, let’s make resolutions that focus more upon our spiritual lives than our physical lives. And if I can be so bold, in that while resolutions that help us get closer to God, like spending more time in the Bible and following what it says, and spending more time in prayer, should always be at the top of the list, can we resolve one more thing, and that is to believe and accept God’s resolutions concerning us, resolutions that never fade or fail, resolutions that were made by God before time even began and are good for all eternity?
Before we look at some of the more pronounced resolutions of God, it might be good to see the resoluteness and the resolve of God that when He says something, He keeps it. And so we can trust that these resolutions will be carried out in our lives.
“God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV)
In other words, God isn’t like us, He doesn’t lie or change His mind, and once He says He’s going to do something it is as good as done, even though its fulfillment might be some time in the future.
Maybe to look at it like this, that God’s plan for our lives doesn’t always line up with ours, which is what the Lord made clear through the prophet Isaiah.
The Lord said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways … As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)