Summary: We have a God who keeps His promises.

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A. Ann Landers, former advice columnist, challenged her readers to come up with the world's 3rd

-biggest lie. She wrote, “The world’s biggest first two lies are: ‘The check is in the mail’ and ‘I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.’ Here’s a sampling from the thousands of suggestions of the 3rd biggest lies she received:

1. “It's a good thing you came in today. We only have two more in stock.”

2. “Ten extra pounds is nothing on a person of your height.”

3. “You made it yourself? I never would have guessed.”

4. “Of course I will respect you in the morning.”

5. “You don't look a day over 40.”

6. “Dad, I need to move out of the dorm into an apartment of my own so I can have some peace and quiet when I study.”

7. “It's delicious, but I can't eat another bite.”

8. “The new ownership won't affect you. The company will remain the same.”

9. “The puppy won't be any trouble, Mom. I promise I'll take care of it myself.”

10. “You don't need it in writing. You have my personal guarantee.”

B. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to believe and what to believe.

1. Sadly, many people and companies make promises that they don’t keep.

C. But I am here to tell you that the God that we read about in the Bible is someone who can be trusted.

1. I am here to tell you that when the God of the Bible makes a promise, He keeps it!

2. God zealously protects the integrity of His Word and wants us to have confidence in the Word.

3. And for that reason, those of us who believe in God have courage, and hope, and peace, because we trust in God’s promises.

D. Today we are beginning a new sermon series on the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

1. I’m calling the series: “Restoring and Renewing the People of God.”

2. In this series, we will witness how God restored and renewed the people of God back in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

3. And as we witness the way God kept His promises and worked in their lives, we will be assured that God will continue to keep His promises and work in our lives today.

E. As we begin our study, let me begin by saying that Ezra and Nehemiah are historical books.

1. Perhaps many of you enjoy studying history, others of you may find history to be boring.

2. Some people define history as the story of civilizations, or that history is the reciting of the rise and fall of peoples and nations.

3. All of this would be true, of course, but what I propose to do is to show that history is something more than the rise and fall of civilizations and the story of cultures and the recounting of wars.

4. History is the story of God’s sovereignty over the nations to accomplish His eternal purpose and to show forth His eternal glory.

5. History is truly the Lord’s story of His redemptive work, the display of His judgment, and the preservation of His people in every generation.

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