28. Faithfulness is God's Gold Standard


     Faith seems to be what God values the most in His people. The "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11 lists all who exemplified faith. We are people of faith, but are we faithful? In other words, are we people who can be trusted ourselves?

     It would seem obvious, right? People of faith being faithful. We who trust God, is it right for us to be anything less than trustworthy? We believe in Jesus, but do people believe in us to be genuine?

     There is a legacy of faithfulness found in Genesis. Not perfection, although Joseph is said to be someone in the Bible who did not demonstrate an identifiable sin. And consider his legacy of faith.
  • Abraham the testimony of Faithfulness, showing obedience in leaving, offering, and trusting. His testimony demonstrates that faith in God should not be based on sight, but on what and Who is unseen. First he left all in Haran and Mesopotamia for a country he could not see. Then he believed God would grant him a child in his and Sarah's old age. Abraham promised that he and the lad Isaac would return, even though he had already purposed in his heart that Isaac would be sacrificed. God rewarded Abraham with Laughter.

  • Isaac was the type of Faithfulness, demonstrating resurrection from the  sentence of death. Surely he could have overpowered aged Abraham from being on the altar. Yet, he was a type like Christ, willingly laying down his life in faith. It was through Isaac that the Seed of the Woman would come to crush the serpent's head and though he favored Esau, Isaac blessed Jacob though trembling. We see twice the God of Abraham, but the Terror of Isaac (Gen. 31:42, and again in verse 53), the fear of the Lord. Isaac's faith was not in the absence of fear but in the very presence of fear and trembling, he showed the genuineness of His faith. Through his lineage would come the Christ. God rewarded Isaac with a Legacy.

  • Jacob/Israel was the testing of Faithfulness through his struggles with Esau, with Laban, even with the angel of the Lord. A deceiver from the beginning, Jacob would go through the trials and testing of faithfulness. Stealing Esau's birthright, then his blessings, Jacob never had the approval from his father that his brother had. His guile was repaid when Laban tricked the trickster and deceived the deceiver. His testing of love for Rachel was vindicated not only in his labor but in his fruitfulness. When he returned to face his family, he found himself face to face with God Himself, wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. Those who face the testing of faith are used mightily but often walk afterwards with a limp, a painful reward and reminder of the test...and how they prevailed. His new name would be a lasting reminder to his 12 sons and their tribes which followed that Israel, "God prevails."

  • Joseph was a triumph of Faithfulness, overcoming hardships without waivering. His faith was founded by his father's love, and that enduring faithfulness elevated him from the persecution of his brothers, the pit of their jealousy, from the prison of false accusation, and from the peril of being forgotten by the cupbearer. His triumphant faithfulness was evidenced not in vindictiveness, but in his vindication; his steadfast conviction was that God was faithful. While man intended evil, God intended good, so much so that he used evil for God's ultimate good. Joseph's reward for His faith was his Love for God and Love by God. For we know that all things works together for good for those who love God and are called to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

The following devotional comes from Zondervan.
 
KEY QUESTION
Why is it important to be loyal and committed to others?
Faithfulness benefits the people in our lives. When we are faithful to them, they are blessed. And, over time, our faithfulness to others also has a reciprocal benefit. First, we win favor. As needs emerge in our life, people will be inclined to help us. Second, we establish a name. When our name is brought up, even when we are not present, it is spoken with high regard. A good name established through a life of faithfulness is a boundless gift to pass on to our children.
Throughout the Bible, God called believers to be faithful to his assignment for them, no matter how difficult. In fact, it was often amid the difficult seasons that they most discovered the trustworthiness of God. When they aligned their lives to God’s story, he was with them and accomplished great things through them. All believers have the opportunity to open their lives to God’s will and demonstrate their faithfulness. The results of such faithfulness can be both great and beautiful as God works through those who believe.

KEY VERSE
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:3–4)

 
KEY IDEA
I have established a good name with God and others based on my loyalty to those relationships.

 
KEY APPLICATION: 
What difference does this make in the way I live?
Christians are not called to be successful as the world defines success. We are called to be faithful to God in what he calls us to do. We faithfully act in faith toward God and leave the results to him. If I die with five billion dollars in the bank but do not know and have not been faithful to God, then I have failed. If I end up broke but know God and have been faithful to his call on my life in the strength his Spirit provides, I have been truly successful.

YOUR TURN

Based on what Proverbs 3:1-6 says about faithfulness, who are some of the most faithful people you know? How have they found honor and a good name in your sight? In the sight of others?

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