Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:43-45 (ESV)
I can’t take any credit for opening my Bible and coming across this scripture today. Nope, I was on Twitter and saw one of our worship leaders posted it. It’s so cool because it’s directly correlated with a point the Lord has been trying to make all week. He doesn’t fail. In fact, I was journaling last night about something that’s recently taken place in my life and asked the Lord for a scripture to back up what He was saying. His faithfulness brings me to tears.
I want to talk about prayer for a moment. I feel like sometimes we place ourselves in situations where we can falsify an inherent truth. Let me try and explain what I mean. Jesus said, ask and you shall receive, keep knocking and the door will be openend. I think we read these words and start forming some expectation that everything we ask for will be given. I mean, that’s what it says. But I’m wondering how did He mean for us to understand this? Because if we got everything we asked for, would that be good for us? Then we would start thinking our prayers were like some kind of magic words that, presto-change-o, would bring about everything we ever wanted.
There are two things I’m learning: God is after my heart, and this life is not about me.
We are God’s children, and as His children, He wants the best for us. The best might not be exactly what we want, but it is what we need. This deals with our prayers to Him. Since He is all-knowing, He knows best. Now, let’s take a look back at that passage in Joshua and talk about His promises. Those will never fail. I think too often, I get in this mindset that my prayers are God’s promises. Not true. Because my prayers often come out of selfish desire.
My brain is turning a million miles an hour in different directions because I think this could go really deep really quickly, but I’m not well versed in all scripture to back my point. What I’d like to hit home today is that God never fails us.
We may look at unanswered prayer and see it as failure. But as Perry Noble put it so well in his first message of the Life of Job series, when we start looking at God and telling Him how to run the show, it’s basically like seeing ten seconds of one of the six StarWars movies and then telling George Lucas how dumb the plot was and what he could have done better. We can’t see the whole picture. “No” doesn’t mean He’s failed us. Sure, we may be disappointed, but that no will probably change into an even better yes down the road.
God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives: to prosper us and not to harm us; to give us a hope and a future. THIS, my friends, is a promise. He will never leave us or forsake us. THIS, too, is a promise. God will keep waiting for us until we come home when we’ve run away. THIS is a promise. Look at these words and let them sink in:
Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
Not one word.
This people. Israel, wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Not all of them saw the promise fulfilled…but the fact of the matter is God did come through. We may never see the promise, but we have to keep pressing in and pressing on. God had victory over every one of their enemies. He said He would keep them safe…He did. It doesn’t mean there weren’t battles; it doesn’t mean that the people didn’t experience challenges. The point is, He won. Not one word of the good promises of the Lord fails, you guys. Not one. Let it sink in, let it overwhelm you. This is good news.
So yes! Ask for God’s dreams and His will for your life. You will get an answer. Seek His heart. You will find it. Keep praying for those around you, for your needs, for your deepest desires…yes. Knock…He will answer the door…but don’t expect that room to look anything like you expected it to. He might open the door and say yes. He might open the door and say no.
He never fails us, you guys. Never.