God's Character: What He is Really Like

Chapter 52 - Portrait of God #4

My message this morning continues on the portrait of God. Two weeks ago we brought out that shining facet on the features of God. Love, God is love. And we saw how that love was manifest. Last week we went into the righteousness of God. Showing that God not only has the ability, but He has the wisdom to do the right thing and you can count on Him to do it. Today we're looking at another beautiful feature of God as we search the Scriptures, and that is the faithfulness of God. God's faithfulness.


The Hebrew word that describes or gives the definition of faithfulness is translated from, gives this meaning: something that will prop you up, something to lean upon, something that gives support. What God is telling us through the word faithfulness is that He won't let you down, you can safely lean on Him, He'll give you support. But you have to lean on Him to get that support. There are a lot of people trying to lean on nothing and down they go. But when you find out where He is and what He is like, and you say, "Now I'm putting my full weight, my full trust upon You." You can safely lean upon Him.


David realized this and David writes a song here that expresses God the way God had revealed Himself to him. And the things that God says or that David says about God here applies to every one of us. David is talking about a covenant or an agreement that God made with him. It was something that God gave directly to him, a message direct from His heart. God in Isaiah 55 verse 3, says every person who will lean on me, it says, "Incline their ear," meaning to lean over. Inclines their ears to me and they hear, their soul begins to live. And he said "I have a certain feeling toward people that I expressed to David, it was my covenant that I made with David. That covenant was an agreement; he called it an everlasting agreement, one He would never break. And He said I didn't just make that so David could have a little special agreement. I was merely letting David see how I feel about people who are willing to put their trust in Me.


So now in this verse in Isaiah 55:3 He said, "I will make that everlasting covenant with you even the sure mercies of David," here they are and so David now is talking about this. I would like you to hear it as I read it to you; I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations. That means our generation too. "For I have said, mercy shall be built up forever, Thy faithfulness shall thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto my servant David, thy seed will I establish forever and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders oh Lord, thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heavens can be compared with the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints and to be had in reverence of all of them that serve Him. Oh Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee, or to thy faithfulness round about thee thy rule the raging of the sea when the waves thereof arise thou stillest them." O Hallelujah.


I had somebody in my office this week, their hearts were beaten by a storm, it was raging. I told them, "I'm going to ask Jesus to make real to you the words that He spoke to that raging sea, peace be still," and as I allowed my lips to be the lips of Jesus and said "peace be still," you know what happened? The same thing that happened when Jesus spoke to those waves. Immediately there was a great calm. And the storm subsided, the winds quit blowing and that person reached out in peace just embraced the Lord who was there with her. Hallelujah. This is what He tells us. This is the God that we're talking about.


Thou hast broken Rehab in pieces as one who is slain. Thou hast scattered thy enemies with thy strong arm. The heavens are Thine. The earth also is Thine, as for the world and the fullness thereof. Thou hast founded the north and the south. Thou hast created them, tabor and Harmon. The mountains shall rejoice in thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm. Strong is thy hand and high is thy right hand. Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne. Mercy and truth shall go before thy face." Oh I like that, I like that. This is what the Word speaks of when Jesus came, "we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace, truth, that grace, that carrier of mercy. Praise God.


"Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound, they shall walk oh Lord in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day and in thy righteousness they shall be exalted. For Thou art the glory of their strength and in thy favor our horn shall be exalted. For the Lord is our defense and the Holy One of Israel is our King. Then thou sparest in a vision to thy holy one and said, I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of thy people," now I want you to notice especially the rest of these verses on down to 34. Get out your pencil and do some underlining because here are the agreements. In these other verses, David was expressing what God was like to him, all of His faithfulness. Now he said, "These are the evidences; these are the reasons why I know God is like this, what He means to me. I just can't help praising Him," he said.


So we read from verse 20 and you can take the name David out and put your name in because you heard and your soul is alive, and this covenant is yours and these are the sure mercies that He made to David. "I found David my servant," oh Hallelujah, I have found Buck. "And with my holy oil have I anointed him," oh can you feel that oil, the anointing of the Spirit? "And with my hand, with whom my hands shall be established, my arm shall also strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him, and I will beat down his foes before his face and plaque them that hate him." You better be good to me. Oh Hallelujah, you better be good to the one sitting next to you unless you want to get on the wrong side of God. Here's what He said He would do. This was the agreement, this was the covenant, and these were the sure mercies that He made here. "But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea and also in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, My God and the rock of My salvation. Also I shall make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore and my covenant shall stand fast with him." I'm not going to break that covenant, that agreement was an everlasting agreement. In seeing God, in seeing His faithfulness there's no way. He cannot be God and break His agreement. He has to keep it. "My covenant will stand fast with him forevermore. His seed also will I make to endure forever and his throne as the days of heaven." I would like to say to you, those who have praying mothers or family members; you may think that you just earned a little special favor from God even if you're not serving Him. And you may think I'm out here making a good living and God is blessing me just as much as He is blessing these other people. Quit your bragging. You know why He's blessing you? It's because of those old fuddy duddies praying for you.


There are some of you who had some things that have been pretty rough and things have gone really bad. But God hasn't forgotten you and He stays on you because He has something better for you. He makes the same covenant with you as He did with your loved ones but you have to lean on Him, not on your own understanding. He will not let you down. Let's take these other verses and I want you moms and dads to thank God from the bottom of your heart that this is not just some empty statement. This is a covenant that God has made and He can't break it. He can't break it. Even if those kids of yours have gone the very farthest limit, He made another covenant for you. The Palestinian covenant that said "even though they get carried away to the farthest point and are worshiping other idols, and care not about Me. If they call unto Me from thence I will hear them." There's another covenant you see. God cannot break those covenants that He made. These covenants reflect His attitudes and His feeling toward people. He wants you, He loves you, He has room for you, and He's going to stay on you in that effort to bring you to Himself. Here's His covenant: "if his children forsake My law and walk not in My judgments, if they break My statutes and keep not my commandments. Then will I visit their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless will I not take my loving kindness utterly from them, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. You ought to circle that word faithfulness there. That means something that can't change; you can safely lean on Him for support. He will not let you down. Are you putting your faith in Him? He's not going to let you down. Praise God. "My covenant will I not break nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once I have sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David," I will not lie unto Buck. I got my name in there, got yours there?


This covenant is yours if you listen to His voice and you pay attention and incline your ear to Him, listen to Him, and Life begins moving within you. The life that you feel within you cannot be stopped. Bullets can't stop it. Floods can't stop it. Atomic bombs can't stop it. It's life, His eternal life flowing through you. The passing of this life into His presence can't stop His life. It just continues on in a greater and fuller measure. Praise the Lord Forever. Do you know it's so important for you to know what God is like? I see people in several different categories or different levels of security of faith, and weighing them wondering what the difference is, why are some people so firm in their faith when the same things are going wrong with them, then with someone else? And this other person can't seem to make, and investigating I found that the person who is able to stand and cannot be moved from their position is a person who has caught a glimpse of God as He really is. The other person may hear the words the way they're written but they don't see God the way He is, and their apt to hear anything the enemy would like for them to hear and these are the reasons for these messages.


I would like you to see God as He really is. And then as you read the words you can rightly divide it. This is for the rebellious, that's not for me. I think the enemy would like to have God's people constantly search the Scriptures for something to condemn themselves with. Christ isn't in the condemning business right now. He's in the business of justifying you. It's the enemy that's condemning. Now some of you said Pastor what about the wrath of God, are you one of those people that kind of ruin things by just preaching the love of God. Next Sunday when I preach on the mercy, I'm preaching on the mercy and the wrath of God. But don't boast that you want to hear the wrath of God. When you say you want to hear more of the wrath of God you're giving an indication that you have not seen Him as He really is.


There is definitely two sides, there is the dark side of the cross where Jesus weighted right into the teeth of the wrath of God and took upon Himself the guilt and the wickedness of the world and felt the sting and the searing heat of God's wrath and God's judgment. But He did that for us so that we might live in the bright side of the cross, God's rest. That we might take His place in God's love, and God's mercy, but people who refuse to identify with Jesus and say, "no thank you Lord, I'd rather carry my own sin," they're going to have to face the dark side of the cross and the wrath of God. And the wrath of God can only be measured by the extremeness, the total opposite of His love; human love can hardly comprehend the love of God because God's love is so much deeper, and fuller, and greater.


By the same token, human wrath, cannot comprehend the depths and the extent of the wrath of God because we can only relate to the human wrath and evil as we know it. But the wrath of God is so much more complete, but still dictated to by the justice of God. But I want to emphasize this to you to show you the portrait of God that He has toward you is not weakening the gospel, it's letting you know what God wants you to know. For His Word first of all was given as a revelation of Himself. He wants us to know what He's like and if we look for something else other than that revelation of Himself we will get a warped view of the things we are looking for because we cannot see them then in the light of what He really is, His nature. That true portrait of God gives us a frame of reference that we can align with other things too. But if we do not see God as He really is we are going to be at sea on every subject you find in the Bible. You must see Him first of all. His Word is the revelation of Himself both through the words and the messages that He gave to man. He showed what His heart was like in His dealings with man; He showed how He felt toward him. In His object lessons, the patterns of worship, the types and feasts, all of this He showed again what He was like. He reveals Himself in His plan and so that's the first and the highest purpose. That's what David saw as he wrote this 89th Psalm and in my reading of the Word, I thank God for this revelation of God. And if in my ministry I am telling you what God is like, we need to know what He is like.


Now real quickly I'm going to give you some references to look up. I want you to see how we can see God's faithfulness, how He proves His faithfulness. Hebrews 10:19-23. You see the picture of the work that Jesus came to do. Our great High Priest that opened up a way where we could come into God's presence. And then He said He opened up this way, He promised it, He made it possible, faithful is He that promised who will also do it. If He made the way, He'll see to it that you have the way to get there. Praise God. And in first Kings 8:56, while Solomon was praying and thinking about all of the things that God had promised the children of Israel, Oh what a great God He said He was, full of kindness and love and truth, and he said there was not one promise, not one word of all of His good promise, He proved that He was faithful. Then we gave you the reference of Ps. 89:33-34. God's display of His faithfulness, of those you love.


Look up Lamentations 3:22-23. In this light God proves His faithfulness. Now this might shock some of you, He proves it by standing by His people and saving them, even when they fail Him. No, that can't be. Well let's read it and see what He says here. Here it is. This book in Lamentations is a book of terrible weeping and poor old Jeremiah, caught a glimpse of God like we have to do. And he said, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. We have earned the wrath of God but it His mercies that we're not consumed," why? "Because His compassion's fail not, they are new every morning," oh God, great is Thy faithfulness. God is so faithful; He knows what His aim is. He knows what His goal is; His goal is not to prove what a stinker you are. His goal is to help you and provide the means so you can get back into fellowship with Him. That's what His goal is and so He's faithful to follow through with the goal that He has for your life.


Let's take another one here. 1 Samuel 12:20-22. God was dealing with the children of Israel because of the sins of the people and Samuel wasn't trying to scare them but he wanted to show them the reason why they should want to live for God, that God wasn't closing the door on them. You know what God did? He sent some real scary things, He sent thunder and lightning and rain. He said, "You people have defied Me, you're living in My wrath, you better get back" and God was letting them see some divine judgments at that time. Now here's what Samuel said, they had asked for a king and God didn't like it. God wanted to be their ruler and Samuel said unto the people, "fear not, ye have done all of this wickedness, you're guilty yet turn not aside from following the Lord. But serve the Lord with all of your heart." What a terrific opportunity. Samuel missed to skin those people; he missed the best opportunity of his life to really crack the whip there. But he said though you've done this, Samuel caught a glimpse of God, he said, God doesn't want to kill you, He wants to save you. Though you've done all of this wickedness, don't turn aside now but get in there and follow Him, go to Him if you want to follow Him with all your heart. Then he said, "Why turn aside, if you should turn aside then you should go after vain things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are vain." But here's what he said, "Though they had done this wickedness, the Lord will not forsake His people for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people." Hallelujah.


There are some of you who have displeased God. You've gone after your own way, you've defied God and you know there's nothing you can look forward to but His wrath and judgment. But God is telling you today, don't turn from Him. Now is the time to come to Him. He is the God who loves you, He wants you, He has room for you, He will not forsake, His loving kindness is still going to stay on you and He's going to have some angels hounding your steps. Can you see a glimpse of God there? I don't believe there's anybody here if this wasn't God's nature. God had to stay on us, we've missed Him so much but instead of listening to those discouraging words from the enemy, you've gone and done it. Now you just well go all the way, there's no hope for you, you've gone and done it. God is saying here, "The Lord will not forsake you, He chose you, He wrote your name down before He made this earth, and He wants you. He wants you to pick up your reservation to confirm it by following Him. It's a bunch of nonsense that if there is only one person in a congregation who is not in unity that God can't move. If someone is crying out to God, God will meet them. Jeremiah, 51:5, "For Israel hath not been forsaken nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of Host. Though their land was filled with sin against the God of Israel, against the Holy One of Israel," God said I'm not going to let that sin give me directions. I've got some people I want to help. Hallelujah.


Satan tried to give God some directions a few times but God wouldn't listen to him. You don't think He would listen to him now either do you? There's a lot of wickedness around but God isn't going to take His cue from them. God says, "I have purposed, I know what I'm going to do and nothing is going to turn Me from doing what I want to do." Praise God. And this is our hope. It's only of His mercies that we are not consumed. Then there are times when we miss God and we have a hard time, and we can't understand how God could be so good to us, how these promises could be so. And so we fail to believe Him. 2 Timothy 2:15, "He abideth faithful," we may not believe, we may not comprehend, but God said, "I cannot deny Myself, I made a promise, I made a covenant with those people , I cannot deny Myself, I'm going to have to do, I cannot deny Myself." Hallelujah.


I had a man in my office who said I just can't believe, and I said it makes no difference if you believe or not. My statement to him wasn't the same statement I might have made to you but I wanted him to get his eyes off of what he may have been thinking at the moment. He was trying to measure his belief and he couldn't really tell whether he believed or not. I said, "What brought you here?" Oh he said, "I came all this way because I'm just hoping God will do something for me." So I told him, you're not here by accident. I have an agreement with God you see. Nobody gets in there that God doesn't bring. And I know that when God brings them, He isn't going to back up there and take another look and say woops I made a mistake, this guy doesn't believe. He's there, I know God's going to help him and when I told him that God wasn't going to pay a whole lot of attention, God had already made up His mind about it, tears started running down his face and he started quivering all over just weeping before God and you see God hears words that we don't hear. God has a third ear that listens to the heart and longing. God ministered to that man and helped him. Rivers of laughter and joy gushed from him. And God helped him.


Mark this down, that God never did give you a scale that you could measure your faith in, so don't sit there and say well I don't have enough faith, I have this much and this much, you don't know. Whether you know it or not most people who say they have a lot of faith, by demonstration don't seem to have quite so much. They've been mislead, they misunderstand God. You know faith to God, what reads faith to God, to us it may read perseverance, it may read sensitivity, and it may read hunger. But that sensitive person who loves God, who says I don't have any faith. God sees them and says, "I see their faith" and when God looks at a person and says they don't even have anything that spells faith but they need help so bad, then His grace spills over to them and ministers." His grace becomes the determining factor, becomes the pipeline that transmits all of God's power. So let's remember this that His faithfulness is seen even when people don't deserve help. Then it's seen by confirming and establishing those He has called in keeping you from evil.


Second Thessalonians 3:3. He said, "Faithful is He who called you who will also do it. The Lord is faithful who established you and will keep you from the evil one." First Corinthians 1:8-9, he said, "the one who called us now will see you through." First Thessalonians 5:23-24. He said, "He is faithful to do the thing that He promised He would do." John 10:20-29. Jesus said, "I give unto you eternal life and you will never perish. Neither shall anyone pluck you out of My hand." You're right here in the safest place in the universe. Jesus said I know that some of you are going to wonder about My ability to hold you. God wants you to know so much, how true and faithful that He is in keeping His promises, that not only is the everlasting hand of Jesus but the Big Hand of God comes right over the top. Jesus said, "My Father which gave you to Me is greater than I am, He has a bigger, stronger hand and He puts His hand over the top."


Now which ever way you happen to be all twisted around, you got divine hands all around you. Hallelujah, "I give unto you eternal life and you shall never perish, neither shall anyone be able to pluck you out of My hand." What about eternal security? Do you know eternal security isn't half as false doctrine as people who go around pulling the rug of your security all the time? Now just so you won't go out thinking that I have jumped ship somewhere down the line and that people that are ungodly and have taken themselves out of God's care and are living for the devil are going to be in God's favor, no one is going to pluck you out of His hand but God gives you the right if you don't want to live for Him. If you choose to go the way of the enemy, God will open up that hand, you can walk out. But He's not going to let anyone else pluck you out. But you can walk out if you want to. But who would want to? If we would look to our source of strength and realize the faithfulness of God, we could settle back and hear those words, fear not, I'm on the job.


You may feel like everything is going out from under you, but I want you to know, settle back and rest, for not only is My hand there, but I've got some big strong arms there, underneath are the everlasting arms. Hallelujah. When you read the Word, look for flashes and glimpses of truth. Look for the gracious words that fall from His lips that He wants you to hear. If your desire is to live for God, don't go around looking for verses that are only going to condemn you all the time. Kick the devil in the shins; tell him he's a big liar. Hallelujah. When you know Him, you're not going to take everything He said here and apply it to yourself. He may be speaking to rebellious people; He may be speaking to the devil in the spot that you're reading. But when you know God, you will understand the things that He says in the light of His Word; you will be able to rightly divide the Word of Truth. These things He's saying to the rebellious, I'm not going to rebel, I don't want those things on my mind. These things He's saying to those who want to serve Him, walk with Him. He's not saying them to the perfect because nobody is perfect. He's saying to the person who is putting their faith, that's leaning on Him, Hallelujah, don't you love Him? Praise God.