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The Gift of God’s Faithfulness

• Cedrick Baker

God proclaims to Moses that his character is faithful, even when his covenant partners are not faithful to him. Jesus was born to demonstrate God’s covenant faithfulness, coming to those who were not looking for him or able to recognize him when he came. God remains faithful to us today, never leaving nor forsaking us, even when we do not seek him or we rebel against him.

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These verses capture a conversation between God and Moses, in response to the rebellion by the people of Israel. The point of these verses is to announce the character of God when those he has called do not respond well to him. They explain how God consistently shows love to the Israelites, even though they consistently don’t show it back. They are undeserving. In verse 6, God uses the Hebrew word “hesed” translated “steadfast or loyal love” to describe himself. This word expresses his promise-keeping loyalty that is motivated by deep personal care. It’s abounding, doesn’t run out and is completely merciful.

We see this steadfast love throughout the story of Moses as he leads the Israelites. When the Israelites rebel and plan for a return to Egypt instead of trusting God to lead them into the Promised Land in Numbers 14, Moses reminds God of his promise to Israel by quoting the focus scripture from this series. Moses intercedes for the people and reminds God of his steadfast love, saying: “Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now” (Numbers 14:19).

God also uses the Hebrew expression “emet” to describe His faithfulness. This word is translated as “to consider someone trustworthy.” We read about this in Deuteronomy 7:7-9. Nothing the Israelites could do would change his nature, his stance toward them. This is also found in the New Testament as 2 Timothy 2:13 states, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to his word and his righteous character], for he cannot deny Himself.”

In our lives today, we are looking for faithfulness in a world that is untrustworthy. People are trying to find spaces where there are people who can be trusted in an increasingly unstable and polarized world. And when we look around and find that people fail us left and right, God remains one who can be trusted as he has shown loyalty and keeps his promises.

As we reflect on God’s faithfulness there are three things to remember. First, we are unable to earn his love and faithfulness. We can’t work ourselves into and out of his love and faithfulness, because this is about God’s character not ours. Second, God’s loyalty is empowering as we are faced with troubling times. God’s faithfulness does not remove the difficulties. Instead, he promises to remain with us no matter what, bringing the best possible good out of every situation that comes our way. Third, this is good news to the world. Jesus entered the world that did not know him and did not receive him to show forth the true character of God, the kind of love that the world not only needs, but the kind of steadfast devotion that makes life worth living.

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Topics: Faithfulness, Presence of God

Sermon Series: God IS the Gift


Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: December 12
The Gift of God's Faithfulness Poem
BibleProject: God Loves You, But What Does That Mean? (According to the Bible)
BibleProject: The Reason You Can Trust God (Even When It Seems Risky)

Focus Scripture:

  • Exodus 34:5-7

    The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” The Lord passed before him and proclaimed “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
    forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

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4 thoughts on “The Gift of God’s Faithfulness

  1. Christine Stevens - van Eijsden says:

    Hello!
    Cedric Baker hit so many right spots with his moving sermon on 12/10/’23.
    Thank you!
    Next time, Mr. Baker, PLEASE sing the hymn.
    Singing is praying twice, in my experience… 😉
    Christine Stevens – van Eijsden
    Shape Note Singer from St. Paul

    (Shape Note Singing or Fasola singing
    is an authentic American style of acapella singing
    in 4 part harmony, using hymns and psalms
    full-throated and expressive.
    See: mnfasola.org)

  2. Jerry says:

    CEDRICK THANK YOU

    Some food for thought.

    Solomon
    1 Kings 4:29-34 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt……From all nations, people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.

    However, later he came to these conclusions:

    Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

    Proverbs 14:12 There is [a way] that appears to be [right/truth], but in the end, it leads to [death].

    Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding; in all your ways submit [follow the Way] to him, and he will make your paths straight.

    Solomon dies and in 1 Kings 12 Rehoboam gets one last chance; consulting the elders they say to be a servant to these people and serve them but does he take their advice NOPE “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier [kind of a Lamech seventy-seven times approach]” Lord it over them.

    Things head south from here until exit Old Covenant and enter:

    [THE] Away [STARTING] in a Manger

    John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am [the way] and [the truth] and [the life]. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    Matthew 20:25–28 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    From CEDRICK
    First, we are unable to earn his love and faithfulness. We can’t work ourselves into and out of his love and faithfulness, because this is about God’s character, not ours.

    So does God’s love require anything from us?

    John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

    How does loving one another work?

    Matthew 5:23–24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar [attending church at Woodlandhills] and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. [OK WH a little radical]

    Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

    Is there a limit on that?

    Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” [A reversal of the Lamech approach]

    Matthew 5:25-26 Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. [This connects back to the Book of Revelations series]

    Following the WAY!

    God will fill whatever space we make for him in our lives so making room to experience more of God’s transforming power is inviting Him into the everyday seemingly mundane moments of our lives by following the WAY and practicing spiritual disciplines [1 Timothy 4:7-8 Train yourself to be Godly for physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.] that will enable us to eventually do what we currently can’t do – following Jesus on the narrow path, [in the fruit of the spirit,] living life and loving others.

    That is why Jesus became God in a bod!

    1. Jerry says:

      Sorry, in my prior post, Matthew 18:21-22 [I stated 18:21 twice]

      Should read: 22: Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

      In Genesis 4 Cain complains to God that in becoming a restless wanderer folks will want to kill you.

      God responds:

      Genesis 4:15 but the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over. [Peters and God’s dichotomic seven are interesting]

      So Cain ends in the Land on Nod marries and down the road via several generations Lamech.

      In Genesis 4:23-24 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

      This is the extreme dichotomy of forgiveness and it’s also interesting that Jesus uses seventy-seven times.

      Greg had a friend the late Dr. Michael Heiser who may have some insights on why Solomon’s final analysis and Jesus as The Only Way solution.

      https://reknew.org/2008/06/boyd-and-heiser-dialogue-on-the-nephilim-question/

      https://reknew.org/2008/06/heiser-clarifies-misunderstandings-in-my-review/

      1. Jerry says:

        Sorry, I added this because I realized that the reknew.org links to the Heiser site are no longer valid!

        The site “RING THEM BELLS” is a mix of MACKIE – HEISER- N. T. WRIGHT – COLLINS

        The YouTube:
        “Not One But Three Falls – Jesus & the Three Rebellions” is an intro into the possibility that the Christmas story is Jesus coming as the only WAY to the solution to a threefold problem NOT just to fix our personal sin.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SCNzIFDfJM

        also:
        The Evil Powers that Cause War – N.T. Wright
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTg6D1upJus
        Is Azazel the prince of America?

        These two videos also add insights to Greg’s books ‘God at War’ and ‘Myth of a Christian Nation’

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