“The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4 NASB
Faithfulness – Does Moses’ next line describe your God? Is He a God of faithfulness? First, we need to know about this Hebrew word, emunah. We have a lot of background with this word (see February 7, August 15 and 17 for starters). Right now we need to remember that emunah is about attitude and conduct, not about some abstract idea called “faith.” In other words, God demonstrates Himself to be faithful because His actions are consistent with His promises. God does what He says He will do!
Is that your definition of faithful? Are you a person who does what you say you will do? Are you a person who keeps your promise? Perhaps this word emunah is growing in you. Perhaps you are walking the pathway with God and discovering that you are becoming like Him; someone who is more and more reliable and trustworthy. What Moshe says about God is exactly the same as what Yeshua asks of us. Become one who always does what you promise.
It’s important to realize that emunah is not translated by the Greek word alethia (truth) but rather by the word pistis (faith). This means that the New Testament concept of faith is also about keeping promises! To have faith in Yeshua is to keep His commandments. Once we see that emunah stands behind pistis, we understand that the claim of faith without the actions of the commandments is not only mistaken, it is empty. There is no faith without follow-through, just as there is no promise without performance. The separation of faith from action is heresy.
God always does what He says He will do! And what He says He will do never is unjust. God keeps His promises and His promises are always holy, righteous and upright. God never fails. If this sounds a bit like Paul’s dissertation of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), we should not be surprised. Paul, the Jewish rabbi, knew very well that emunah was the bases of agape.
Two important lessons emerge from Moshe’s lyrics. First, we can count on God’s word. That’s music to our ears if we are being obedient to Him. He will not leave us orphans. He will complete His work in us. But if we are disobedient, the same faithfulness condemns us. Those who challenge His emunah in word or deed are in serious jeopardy. God does what He says He will do. That includes judgment and, eventually, wrath. Ignoring the other side of the coin of agape is very dangerous.
Secondly, we see the complete continuity between the God of Moshe and the God of Paul. Promises without performance are worthless. No man who puts his hand to the plow of following Yeshua, and fails to till the field, can claim to be rescued. Faith without works is truly dead. This requires us to evaluate our own words and deeds. Where they do not match, we must ask forgiveness and change our ways. Faith is nothing less than promises fulfilled.
Topical Index: emunah, pistis, faithfulness, faith, Deuteronomy 32:4