Sound Words, February 10, 2019

Sound Words, February 10, 2019

The Best Record in History

It’s a pretty big deal for sports teams to have a perfect record throughout the season.
It’s also extremely difficult to maintain, especially after a team has held one for a while. For one thing, players feel the additional pressure of perfection that tempts them to strive not to lose rather than fighting to win. But they also experience a lot of extra attention as every other team tries to dethrone them. Invariably, perfect records dissolve as teams face inevitable defeat. No one athlete or team has ever been able to hold a perfect record indefinitely. Some may have the best record for a really long time, but even a team with the best imperfect record will probably relinquish its coveted spot before too long.

This does not apply to God.

There’s no competition when it comes to His success rate. God never loses; God never
fails. This is one of several foundational truths taught throughout Scripture. It’s crucial
to understanding the entire story of the Bible, but God’s perfect record is important for
another reason: it’s the reason we can trust Him.

The Hebrews writer clearly communicates that a relationship with God necessitates
trust. This trust consists of more than the belief that God, as He has revealed Himself,
exists; it also demands that a believer seek God in order to receive the reward He
offers (Hebrews 11:6). This condition of trust isn’t limited to our relationship with God,

For any meaningful relationship to thrive, it must be based on trust. Consider a
marriage, for example (to which, by the way, God often compares His relationship with
His people). Do you think a woman would trust her husband if his record consisted of
empty promises and giving his word but never actually accomplishing anything? He
could be a genuinely nice person, but do you think his inconsistency would help or hurt his marriage? The only way he could rebuild that bridge of trust is by consistently being honest about his intentions and doing exactly what he said he’d do. God’s matchless trustworthiness lies in the fact that He’s been honest about His intentions since He created man and has always accomplished everything He’s purposed.

Take a moment to think about some of the promises God fulfilled in the book of Genesis alone. Snakes still travel on their bellies and women endure intense pain with every childbirth. The world was destroyed in a flood, and it’s never been consumed by the same catastrophic event since that time. Countless languages and dialects still present barriers between peoples. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are ancient heaps of salt. Sarah had a son named Isaac. Ishmael had twelve sons who were princes. Jacob became rich as he tended Laban’s flock. Jacob made it back to his home from the country of his relatives. The cupbearer regained his position and the baker died by hanging. Egypt and the surrounding regions experienced seven years of plenty and famine, respectively. All of Joseph’s brothers bowed down to him. And when Jacob died, Joseph closed his eyes.

Who do you know that has a surer word than God? Keep in mind that this barely
scratches the surface of God’s dealings with man. Also keep in mind the intended
audience of the Genesis account. Can you understand God’s anger at His people
because of their lack of trust? He had decimated the nation of Egypt before their eyes
with plague after plague. In addition to the wonders He had showed them while He
conquered their oppressors, God had led them out of Egypt through the Red Sea on
dry land. What excuse did they have for failing to trust God?

From our vantage point, it’s easy to criticize the nation of Israel for faltering in their faith, since God had been perfectly and astonishingly faithful. Maybe it’s a little too easy to criticize them and forget that we have an anthology chronicling God’s perfect record over several thousand years of history. Yet, how often is our faith weak or lacking entirely? What excuse do we have? What more does God have to do to prove His trustworthiness?

“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we
are faithless, He remains faithful— for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:11–13

Perhaps the most disappointing thing, then, is how often people ignore the written
record of God’s perfect record. If trust stems from consistent honesty and keeping
promises, how can we ever hope to trust God and live faithfully like we should if we
neglect to remind ourselves of everything He’s accomplished?

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift
away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and
every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if
we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was
attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders
and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
(Hebrews 2:1–4 ESV)

People take pride in the records of their beloved sports teams, yet those teams pale in
comparison to God’s perfect record throughout history. Doesn’t He deserve our
attention, our devotion, our faith, and our obedience?

BJ Young (2019-02-10)

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