There is much hope to be found in the Bible. It is a life-giving and life-changing book. It tells the story of a God who deeply cares for his people (Ps. 23) and his creation (Ps. 24.1). His ways are higher than our ways (Is. 55.9) and his mind is complex (1 Cor. 2.16). The Bible tells the story of how God is rescuing and redeeming a world broken by sin (Rom. 8.20-22). And because of sin, we don’t always see or hear or feel God’s presence everywhere around us. It is in those seasons of life when it seems like he is not there, that we need these waves of hope from his Word to crash in on us and remind us of his promises.
Hebrews 13.5 is one of those great promises, “be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” This verse has been at the bottom of much comfort to God’s people when they can’t see his hand in action. And there is much comfort - even joy - to be had in knowing and believing that God will never leave us. But what drives God to make such a promise? What’s behind this promise ensuring that God will come through? As fickle and emotionally unstable (we all are on some level) people so susceptible to doubt and suspicion, how can we be sure that God will not change his mind? After all, he’s God - he can do whatever he wants! Couple that with our American, independent, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality, and you’ve got the perfect recipe to question or doubt whether God will keep his promise.
The answer is found in 1 Samuel 12.22 - perhaps one of the tidal waves of hope we can have in the grounds of our salvation. It doesn’t simply make the same promise as Hebrews 13.5, but goes one step further and tells us why. “For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.” (1 Sam. 12.22)
Why will God keep his promise and never leave us or forsake us? Because of himself. Because of his faithfulness. And because of his own pleasure. Deuteronomy 7.6 tells us that God chose his people to be his “treasured possession” - in other words, he has pleasure in his people. He treasures us and saves us! But not because of anything that depends on us. Not because we’re good or keep all the rules or have earned anything. He will not forsake his people “for his great name’s sake.” At the risk of his own name and fame, he will not forsake his people. Why? “Because it pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”
And this is the wave of hope for our salvation! That God will keep his promise because it pleased him to make us a people for himself. He will never leave us because he has pleasure in keeping his promise, and God does whatever he pleases (Ps. 115.3, 135.6).